Research Shows:

  • The achievement gap is smaller in faith-based schools (Jeynes, 2007; Marks & Lee, 1989).
  • Students in Catholic and other private schools demonstrate higher academic achievement than students from similar backgrounds in public schools (Coleman & Hoffer, 1987; Coleman, Hoffer, & Kilgore, 1982; Greeley, 1982; Sander, 1996).
  • Latino and African American students who attend Catholic schools are more likely to graduate from high school and more likely to graduate from college than their public school peers (Benson, Yeager, Guerra, & Manno, 1986; Evans & Schwab, 1995; Neal, 1997; Sander & Krautman, 1995).
  • The “multiply disadvantaged” benefit most from Catholic schools (Evans & Schwab, 1995; Greeley, 1982; Neal, 1997).
  • Social class effects on educational achievement are significantly lessened in Catholic schools (Bryk, Lee, & Holland, 1993; Greeley, 1982).
  • The poorer and more at-risk a student is, the greater the relative achievement gains in Catholic schools (York, 1996).
  • Graduates of Catholic high schools are more likely to vote than public school graduates (Dee, 2005).
  • Graduates of Catholic schools are likely to earn higher wages than public school graduates (Hoxby, 1994; Neal, 1997).
  • Catholic schools tend to produce graduates who are more civically engaged, more tolerant of diverse views, and more committed to service as adults (Campbell, 2001; Greeley & Rossi, 1966; Greene, 1998; Wolf, Greene, Kleitz, & Thalhammer, 2001).
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The preceding information was provided by The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).



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Bryk, A. S., Lee, V. E., & Holland, P. B. (1993). Catholic schools and the common good. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Campbell, D. E. (2001). Making democratic education work. In P. E. Peterson & D. E. Campbell (Eds.), Charters, vouchers, and public education. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Coleman, J. S., & Hoffer, T. (1987). Public and private high schools: The impact of communities. New York: Basic Books.

Coleman, J. S., Hoffer, T., & Kilgore, S. (1982). High School achievement: Public, Catholic, and private schools compared. New York: Basic Books.

Dee, T. S. (2005). The effects of Catholic schooling on civic participation. International Tax and Public Finance, 12(5), 605-625.

Evans, W. N., & Schwab, R. M. (1995). Finishing high school and starting college: Do Catholic schools make a difference. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110(3), 941-974.

Greeley, A. M. (1982). Catholic high schools and minority students. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

Greeley, A. M., & Rossi, P. H. (1966). The education of Catholic Americans. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.

Greene, J. P. (1998). Civic values in public and private schools. In P. E. Peterson & B. C. Hassel (Eds.), Learning from school choice (pp. 335-356). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Hoxby, C. M. (1994). Do private schools provide competition for public schools? Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper #4978.

Jeynes, W. H. (2007). Religion, intact families, and the achievement gap. Interdisciplinary journal of research on religion, 3(3), 1-24.

Marks, H. M., & Lee, V. E. (1989). National assessment of educational progress proficiency in reading: 1985-86. Catholic and public schools compared. Final report 1989. Washington, DC: National Catholic Education Association.

Neal, D. (1997). The effects of Catholic secondary schooling on educational achievement. Journal of Labor Economics, 15(1), 98-123.

Sander, W. (1996). Catholic grade schools and academic achievement. The journal of human resources, 31(3), 540-548.

Sander, W., & Krautman, A. (1995). Catholic schools, dropout rates and attainment. Economic inquiry, 33(2), 217-233.

Wolf, P. J., Greene, J. P., Kleitz, B., & Thalhammer, K. (2001). Private schooling and political tolerance. In P. E. Peterson & D. E. Campbell (Eds.), Charters, vouchers, and public education (pp. 268-289). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

York, D. E. (1996). The academic achievement of African Americans in Catholic schools: A review of the literature. In J. J. Irvine & M. Foster (Eds.), Growing up African American in Catholic Schools (pp. 11-46). New York: Teachers College Press.