NYC Catholic schools seeing new interest, applications from public school families

NYC Catholic schools seeing new interest, applications from public school families

November 3, 2020

City Catholic schools are seeing a surge of interest from disaffected public school families, parochial officials told the Post.

Frustrated by the lack of full-time classes and general public school turmoil during the coronavirus, parents have been turning to them as an alternative.

Michael Deegan, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York, said that his schools made the resumption of full-time classes a priority and that parents have been flocking because of it.

“Parents were clearly impressed with our detail and the depth and the specificity of our plan,” he said. “That developed into trust, and the confidence that our parents have in our ability to manage this crisis.”

The Archdiocese of New York saw a sharp hike in web traffic prior that has led to nearly 2,000 applications from public school parents so far this year, officials said.

The organization reported that their schools in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island have absorbed roughly 1,000 kids who were in traditional public schools last year.

“There was never a doubt that the ultimate goal of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese was for all of our students to return full-time,” Deegan said. “Nothing is going to replace the intimacy between a teacher and a child, five days a week.”

The Diocese of Brooklyn, which also runs schools in Queens, said it too has seen a sharp hike in interest from public school parents who no longer wanted to deal with remote learning.

“Parents want their children to have the opportunity to receive a high-quality, in-person education rooted in the faith, which is exactly what is happening in most of our schools five days a week,” said John Quaglione, spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Deegan stressed that the schools under his direction also accommodate remote learners who opt out of classroom lessons.

The new pool of applicants has been a welcome boon for an educational sector that has faltered badly in recent years.

Shrinking enrollment has battered parochial school coffers and led to widespread closures and contractions.

While offering full-time learning has served as a potent attraction, Deegan said that more and more city parents also want an educational counterbalance to what they see as social excesses.

“Parents are sending their children to Catholic schools because they are offended by some of the pop culture that their children are being exposed to,” he said.

Deegan noted that 40 percent of parochial school students are not Catholic.

There are roughly 80,000 students enrolled in parochial classrooms across the city, with roughly 55 percent of them kids of color and most low-income, Deegan said.

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