My grandfather pulled my mother out of school when she was fourteen. The reason: she clunked a geography test. The fact that the teacher went to my grandfather to explain many kids in her class had failed that test and to beg grandpa not to make the biggest mistake of his life did not make a difference. Unfortunately, my mother did not have her mother—who died four years earlier—around anymore to help persuade the old man.
For my mother this was traumatic. She swore that if she ever had children she would send them to the best schools. At that time and in that place, the schools with the best academic reputation were the Catholic schools—in many cases, they still are.
Recently, Loyola Marymount University conducted a study of low income Hispanic scholarship students in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The study demonstrates the effectiveness of Catholic schools in educational attainment of Hispanic students: over 90 per cent graduation rate, over 80 per cent go on to post-secondary education. The difference with the LA public school system is abysmal.
My parents are not particularly religious people, which makes me marvel all the more at their sacrifice. About half way through elementary school a voucher-like system was implemented. Certain private schools were tapped in districts whose public schools were overcrowded and/or underperforming. It did not cover the total amount of tuition but it provided my parents some relief. The program also helped the government to achieve its goals to improve the quality of the public schools. As far as education goes, it can be said that my siblings and I are the happy product of a partnership between the Church and the State for the common good. READ FULL STORY