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Well -- Catholic Church is facing a monumental issue over school funding.
Hundreds of Catholic schools have already been closed in the last few years you look at the numbers right there in the United States in 2001 there -- a little over 8008.
About 114 today.
That numbers down to 6841.
And actually the numbers could be even.
More -- worse than what we're seeing right here.
So what's behind it all and what are the solutions that are here and -- I was the president of the National Catholic Educational Association.
And she joins me from Washington DC welcome.
You know we cited those numbers from 2001.
But if you go back to 1960.
Of the 1960s they are actually thirteen thousand Catholic schools.
In the nation so when you actually started back about fifty years you're seeing.
Almost 50% drop why are there are so few Catholic schools -- -- more than numbers would dwindling so much.
Well it's a it's a very complex issue and it's very difficult to point at one thing and say it's if this persists this.
A lot of that the numbers from the sixties have a lot of different reasons than perhaps the reasons in the last couple years.
In those years from the -- to the seven -- -- eighties staffing was an issue.
What we have happening right now -- a number of things that are affecting Catholic school.
Shifts in this country.
The reduction of the number of people in the core large cities for instance right now.
Philadelphia and New York are both of wrestling -- how to keep some schools open.
Which ones need to merge which ones need to close -- but that's really typical.
Of what's going up and in those large cities.
If you look at Washington DC right now.
They're trying to figure out how to close fifteen to twenty public schools so a lot of it has to do it demographics.
As far as the Catholic schools go staffing.
Is what our desire.
To pay arts -- that wage that they deserve.
And causes a difference in how we can fund the schools you know Catholic schools in the United States.
Are totally funded by to wish and and gifts the parent is paying taxes to the local school district and paying for that -- out of their pocket.
And that becomes more and more difficult for many people.
Especially as the expense of running a good school close up.
And that of course we can talk a lot about the necessity of having good technology programs and those don't come cheaply.
-- well when you're talking about the big changes in demographics and I I wanna get back to that question because are you -- -- Catholic schools in the suburbs are growing.
Or not because if I could see this sort of now it's happening -- appointed demographics but demographics doesn't seem to be the number one issue I mean.
And -- the suburb Catholic schools are actually growing.
There's certainly not growing at the rate of expected closures but I can tell you that last year.
34 new schools did open.
Those are in the southeast the southwest.
And some in the mid east the Pennsylvania New York.
A lot a couple of those schools are in.
But are they.
But -- -- we've been slow to open new schools in some of the other suburbs so no it is not balanced you're absolutely right it there's no balance.
But I am encouraged.
By the fact that people still are building of schools.
What other things done cardinal Dolan cardinal Timothy Dolan the -- they are but -- the ordinance last week during the national Catholic school week he said.
You know he praised the schools he gave them kudos but lamented the fact that.
They are fewer in number than they were -- says why -- Catholic parents sending their kids to Catholic schools that beats me but we better find out so he understands that there's a problem.
With the parent level they're not sending their kids to Catholic schools is this a theological issue that that that says that they don't believe him.
The Catholic education anymore.
You know I'm going to be safe and tell you again is a complex issue.
It it kind -- -- theological.
Issue it can be that in suburbs particularly.
The public schools are good and maybe parents went to them -- field.
Feel confident in them so so those are some of the things.
But again it's also finances.
In the suburbs some of the taxes are very high.
And would cause a family to have financial problems.
-- that I have a chance coming in here from most of our viewers -- -- says closing Catholic schools may be a lack of Catholics.
I think Greg Barry says it too expensive cross cross cross you kind of address that.
Greg Barry's has -- are too high and with the declining wages of US workers they can't pay for them.
I -- to get back to.
May be a lack of Catholics are is the Catholic Church actually losing.
Well unfortunately we know that then perhaps not losing numbers in name but we do know the regular mass attendance is down.
So if you're not a regular churchgoer.
Perhaps getting that kind of education for your child.
At the top of your list we think it should be it isn't you know.
George -- go who is a conservative Catholic commentator in an author he's just released a book called evangelical catholicism.
And he's really kind of calling for any or all the temperatures getting back to their roots -- -- been too much of sort of -- maintenance of institution rather then getting back to being sort of you logical -- of spreading the gospel.
Do you agree that there is some of that kind of as part of a problem.
Of the Catholic Church that they were to form becoming an institution and not getting back to the roots of spreading the faith itself.
I think in the schools we do a very good job of -- spreading the faith and teaching the -- And what we try to do in the schools is really concentrate on what is the contents of the face and then how do you live the gospel.
And so I think in the schools where we are working very hard to be Catholic.
An island say that I.
Ice for try to promote with our schools.
Not to be on either side of the big -- of catholicism.
Whether -- too liberal or were too conservative we have a beautiful face.
And we just tried to work on what did Jesus really teach us in the gospel.
And how does the church help us understand Jesus I wanna ask you one more question about costs because one of the things that -- used to say that -- -- -- -- used.
Used to be free.
That that if -- a -- -- a parachute could send your kid to a Catholic school for nothing.
And that's not the case today it's about now they have three or 4000 dollars for tuition so -- -- really the issue.
Only cost is one of the issues and yes there was a day when Catholic schools were free or at the twins who was.
Very and consequential.
I mean I am not a young person but I am sure that my parents paid.
Published six dollars a month for my tuition.
But you have to look at a number of things we had the religious Brothers and sisters at home basically receive no salary.
We had they were given a house they had cars that it.
First there's probably gave them vegetables and that day is gone and and it's.
It's a disgrace in a way because now we have elderly religious men and women who are trying to find ways to support because they never earned much.
Does it justice issue.
The people that are in our schools today we want to pay a wage that they would earn any place else to set -- cost up of course it does.
But schooling across the board is more expensive.
-- it was when I was in school or when we're talking about these free parish school -- I.
That hole cost of education has gone up tremendously.
All right and I thank you very much doctor Karen where -- president of the national Catholic education association.
I wish you well thank you very much for going to -- -- -- it's okay.
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