Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Initiative to Improve Access to Catholic Schools for Latino Children

Bishop Thomas J. Curry, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Catholic Education and auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, praised (en español) an initiative to improve access to Catholic schools for Latino children.

The initiative was designed by the Notre Dame Task Force on the Participation of Latino Children and Families in Catholic Schools. The report "To Nurture the Soul of a Nation: Latino Families, Catholic Schools, and Educational Opportunity" ("Para alentar el espiritu de una nación: familias latinas, escuelas catolicas y oportunidades educativas") was made public December 12.

"The study highlights two items in particular: Hispanic students who attend Catholic schools do better than their counterparts who do not; and Catholic schools are not attracting enough Hispanic students,” said Bishop Curry. “The study is a challenge to the Church to get the word out and spread the good news in the Hispanic community.”

Latino students in the U.S. suffer from an educational achievement gap:
  • Only 53 percent of Latinos graduate from high school in four years.
  • Only 16 percent of Latino 18-year-olds are considered “college-ready.”
Catholic schools serve Latino students well, offering a “Catholic school advantage.” Latinos who attend Catholic school are:
  • 42 percent more likely to graduate HS and
  • two-and-a-half times more likely to graduate college
Despite the Catholic school advantage, only 3% of Latinos send their children to Catholic schools. This represents an opportunity to more fully serve Latino children through Catholic schools. In response, the Notre Dame task force has set a goal of enrolling one million Hispanic children in Catholic schools by 2020, doubling the percentage of Latinos in Catholic school from 3 percent to 6 percent.

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