First, to the moderators, I’d really like to get a specifically “Traditionalist” take on this issue, so please don’t move it if possible.
I am wondering what thoughts everyone has about the future of Catholic schools in America. In our area, we’ve seen schools in the city (Chicago) closing in large numbers for years, largely due to demographic shifts. Now, however, out here in the rural areas (where towns of 10,000 often had 2+ Catholic elementary schools) we are seeing a lot of closing, consolidation, and massive increases in tuition.
Many of these schools leave a lot to be desired in the religious ed. area, but in spite of that are still much better than our public schools - permanent police presence from middle school up. Unfortunately, I don’t even think making the schools perfectly orthodox would save a lot of them from going away over the next 10 years.
I think the root of the problem is probably economic. Even paying our teachers and staffs significantly less than their public school counterparts, tuition rates are simply out of reach of a significant segment of the faithful, and in a small town, those that can afford it often aren’t a large enough group to keep a school open.
I’m beginning to think that a system built on the premise of nearly free labor (teaching sisters and brothers) can’t survive without them. I’m curious what others are seeing in their own areas, and any stories of how this trend has been reversed.
My wife and I are expecting our first child in the spring, so now I’m suddenly very interested in this topic. Funny how that works. :o