Catholic schools are a gift to our nation Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

My 12 years of education at Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and Aquinas High School in La Crosse prepared me well for life.

I received an excellent academic education, but more importantly, I learned about my Catholic faith and how to put it into practice in serving others.

Gift to our nation

But while my education was good for me personally, I didn’t realize at the time that our Catholic schools are also a gift to our country.

Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of Catholic schools is that they provide well-educated and well-rounded citizens for our country. They help build a better society.

A fact sheet published by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) provides some specific ways that Catholic schools are a gift to our nation. These are all based on factual studies:

• Graduates of Catholic high schools are more likely to vote.

• Catholic schools save taxpayers more than $21 billion annually.

• Catholic school graduates enjoy higher earning potential than public school graduates.

• Catholic school graduates are more civically engaged, more tolerant of diverse views, and more committed to service as adults, and less likely to be incarcerated than their public school peers.

Saving tax money

There are currently 6,352 Catholic schools nation-wide. While the majority are in suburban and urban areas, almost 22 percent are in rural areas.

Can you imagine what would happen if we didn’t have those schools available? In some areas, Catholic schools are the only schools around.

Most parents of students in Catholic schools pay taxes, in addition to tuition at Catholic schools. If taxpayers had to pay billions of dollars for educating all of these students, it would be quite a burden to our nation!

Catholic schools also provide a lot of financial aid to help students whose families can’t afford the full tuition. In the Diocese of Madison, for example, 41 Catholic schools offered over $1.8 million in tuition assistance to 688 families last year. Edgewood High School in Madison alone awarded $700,000 in scholarships and financial aid last year.

As we prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week, January 27 to February 2, I urge all alumni, family members, parishioners, and others to show appreciation to those involved in Catholic schools and give generously to support our Catholic schools with your time, talent, and treasure. Let’s make sure these gifts to our nation remain strong in the years ahead.