Why Your Children Will Benefit From a Catholic Education
One of the most critical decisions parents make for their children is where to educate them. Since children spend so many of their waking hours at school, their school can play a significant role in shaping them as a person.
The right school will not only teach them core subjects like math, science or English — it will also instill values like teamwork, personal responsibility, compassion and more. Catholic schools are an ideal choice for families who want to invest in their children’s education and help them become their best selves. Why choose Catholic school over public school? Read on to learn more.
Essential Benefits of a Catholic Education
There are many advantages of a Catholic education, but we can group these into two main categories: the quality of academic instruction and the foundation of faith it provides. In a sense, these categories are two sides of the same coin, because Catholic educators understand a quality education should engage with a student on all levels, including both intellectually and spiritually. As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out, “A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person.”
Why is Catholic school important? A quality Catholic education can give students a solid foundation in academic subjects, preparing them well for college and careers, and can give them a sound spiritual foundation, preparing them for life more broadly. The value of Catholic school is that students have a place to grow and thrive as a whole person.
Benefits of Catholic School vs. Public School
If you’re considering Catholic school for your children, you’re likely wondering about the pros and cons of Catholic school, compared to a secular education. In virtually any way you can compare Catholic and public schools, Catholic school comes out ahead as the better option for your child. Let’s look at a few ways Catholic schools distinguish themselves from public schools.
1. Higher Graduation Rates
Historically, Catholic schools tend to have higher graduation rates than public schools — a demonstration of Catholic educators’ commitment to keeping students engaged with their education. A 2018 study also found that Catholic school students went on to experience higher graduation rates from college, compared to their peers who had attended public school.
2. Higher Achievement and College Readiness
On the whole, Catholic students tend to outperform their public school peers academically. There are many ways to measure academic achievement, but whether it’s reading and math scores for elementary and middle school students or ACT scores for high school students, Catholic school students demonstrate higher achievement levels than public school students. Catholic high school students also go on to have higher GPAs in college compared to college students who attended public school.
3. Lower Student-Teacher Ratio
Another advantage of Catholic schools is that they tend to have a lower student-teacher ratio than public schools. The average student-teacher ratio for public schools in the U.S. is approximately 16-to-1, while the average student-teacher ratio for Catholic schools is 12-to-1. This significant difference can allow teachers in Catholic schools to engage more effectively with each student in their classroom.
4. Emphasis on Religious Values
If the critical distinctions above aren’t enough, another reason to choose Catholic school over public school for your child is the added spiritual component that is absent from public education. There are multiple ways to invest in your children’s spiritual education, even if they are in public school. However, students in Catholic school benefit from a common thread of Biblical values woven through all their academic classes.
5. A Sense of Community
When your child’s school is part of your church parish, your whole family can enjoy stronger bonds with other parishioners. Rather than having separate groups of church and school friends, students at Catholic schools benefit from one especially rich and tightly woven community. Catholic schools also tend to place a high priority on involving parents in their children’s education, which brings members of the group even closer together.
Why Parents Choose Catholic Schools
If you’re searching for reasons to send your child to Catholic school, you don’t have to look far. All of the advantages we touched on above are convincing reasons to consider. If you’re still asking yourself, “Should I send my child to Catholic school?” or “Is Catholic education better than public?” see if you can relate to any of these descriptions. If so, you may want to choose Catholic school for your student.
You Want Your Child to Receive Catholic Instruction Throughout the Week
Some parents send their children to Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes on the weekends to invest in their students’ spiritual and theological understanding, but during the week, these students find themselves immersed in a completely secular environment. This phenomenon can encourage students to compartmentalize their spiritual lives from their “regular” lives at school. Parents who want their children to absorb Catholic teachings throughout the week should choose Catholic school for their children.
You Want Your Child to Realize Their Academic Potential
As we’ve seen, Catholic schools have a reputation for helping students reach higher levels of academic achievement in their K-12 years and even achieve higher grades in college. Catholic schools even outperform other types of private schools in many cases. If you want your child to unlock their academic potential and go on to further their education at the postsecondary level, Catholic school is a wise choice.
You Are Not Catholic, but Want Your Child to Learn Moral Values
Catholic schools are not only for Catholic families. You may be surprised to know that 19.1% of students enrolled in Catholic schools are non-Catholic. Regardless of your family’s faith background, your child can benefit from the moral values and civic responsibility they will learn and from the example of their teachers who can serve as positive role models.
You Are Looking for an Affordable Private School Option
One deterrent to sending children to private school is tuition. Public school can be a more attractive option because you have already paid for it with your taxpayer dollars. If you want to send your child to public school, but are concerned about cost, it’s helpful to know that Catholic schools can be more affordable than other private schools. Many dioceses and Catholic schools will help offset a parish family’s costs by offering financial assistance programs.
You Want Your Child to Learn and Grow in a Healthy Community
Finally, if you want your child to learn in a community that builds them up — not just as a student but as a person — Catholic school is an excellent choice. Catholic schools seek to foster a strong and healthy sense of community while helping your child develop as an individual. Being in a positive environment can help your student enjoy school and develop healthy self-esteem and respect for others which is one of many reasons why you may want to choose Catholic education.
The Importance of Catholic Education
At Catholic World Mission, education is one of our four pillars. That’s because we recognize the significant role that education can play around the world for helping people overcome poverty and other challenges, and for understanding themselves and the world around them better. That’s why we assist schools across the globe. Take a moment to learn more about our education projects.
Learn More About Catholic Education & Mano Amiga Schools
- Donate to Education
- Donate Towards the Mano Amiga Scholarship
- Donate to Mano Amiga Argentina
- Sponsor a Child’s Education
- Donate to Mano Amiga Colombia
- Donate to Mano Amiga Mexico in conjunction with Jack Del Rio Foundation
- Donate to Mano Amiga El Salvador
- Donate to Mano Amiga Guatemala
- Donate to Mano Amiga Mexico
- Donate to Mano Amiga Schools
- Donate to Mano Amiga Brazil
- Education Pillar
- Mano Amiga Argentina
- Mano Amiga Schools
Deacon Rick Medina is the Former Executive Director of Catholic World Mission and for years oversaw the management of all of Catholic World Mission's projects in over 35 countries. He was ordained a deacon of the archdiocese of Atlanta in 2013. He currently serves at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Georgia, and is active in several ministries, including RCIA, baptism preparation, Life Teen, Altar Server group, Grief Share, and Adult Faith Formation.