School Choice & Charters

Catholic Enrollment Drops in Chicago

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 06, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Student-enrollment figures for this school year show that most of the students affected by closings of Roman Catholic schools by the Archdiocese of Chicago at the end of the 2004-05 school year didn’t transfer to other Catholic schools, as archdiocesan officials had hoped they would.

Catholic schools in the archdiocese experienced a drop in enrollment of 4,800 students between last school year and this one. Last spring, the archdiocese announced that 4,200 students would be affected by the closing of 23 schools at the end of the school year. (“Catholic Schools’ Mission to Serve Needy Children Jeopardized by Closings,” March 9, 2005.)

Ultimately, several of the 23 schools on the closure list raised enough money to remain financially viable for at least one more school year, so the archdiocese closed only 18 of its 276 total schools.

But enrollment has dropped by more than the number of students who would have attended those 18 schools.

Nicholas Wolsonovich, the superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said last week that parents’ inability to pay tuition, as well as school closings, affected enrollment.

“Families are finding it more and more difficult to afford a Catholic school,” he said.

Tuition at elementary schools in the archdiocese averages $3,000, and at high schools it averages $6,700.

Schools in the archdiocese enrolled 366,000 children in 1964, or about 52 percent of school-age baptized Catholics in the archdiocese. They now enroll 101,890 students, or 22 percent of school-age baptized Catholics.

Mr. Wolsonovich announced last month a plan that he hopes will strengthen the academics and Catholic identity of Chicago’s Catholic schools while also raising more money to keep them operating.

Called “Genesis: A New Beginning for Catholic Schools,” the plan sets up an archdiocesan endowment for schools and calls for parishes without schools to help support schools run by other parishes. It lays out plans for the development of a new religion curriculum and implementation of new curricula in language arts, fine arts, and social studies.

Mr. Wolsonovich noted that while parishes once provided schooling to Catholic children at almost no cost to parents, that is no longer the case.

Related Tags:

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Opinion The Biden Administration Is Right: Charters Need to Be More Accountable
The proposed changes to the federal Charter School Program are just common sense, write Jitu Brown and Randi Weingarten.
Jitu Brown & Randi Weingarten
3 min read
Illustration of students and teachers holding puzzle pieces.
<b>F. Sheehan/Education Week and iStock/Getty</b>
School Choice & Charters What's Behind the Fight Over the Biden Administration's Stance on Charter School Funding
Proposed new rules for federal charter school funding have drawn the ire of many in the charter school community.
8 min read
Publish Charter school parents stage a counter protest as thousands of public school teachers, administrators and supports march through the streets of Sacramento during a protest held at the California State Capitol urging state legislators to provide more funding for public schools in Sacramento, Calif., on May 22, 2019.
Publish Charter school parents stage a counter protest during a march in Sacramento, Calif., that advocated for more funding for public schools in 2019.
Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP
School Choice & Charters Opinion Families May Like Their School But Want More Options. That’s Where Course Choice Comes In
Educational choices have grown inside each school as a result of the pandemic. Families should take advantage of this.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters Mich. Public School Advocates Launch Effort to Stop DeVos-Backed Proposal
The former secretary of education is backing an initiative that advocates say would create an unconstitutional voucher system.
Samuel J. Robinson, mlive.com
4 min read
Student with backpack.
surasaki/iStock/Getty