The Struggles of Our Parish School

President Trump visits Catholic School with Betsy deVos
President Trump visits Catholic School with Betsy deVos

The National Catholic Register reports on President Trump’s visit to a Catholic school here along with his Education Secretary, Betsy deVos.

Let me share what it is like being the pastor of a small parochial school in Greenville, South Carolina.

Our parish is just 500 families. That is small for a Catholic parish.

We have a K4 – 8 parish school with just under 150 students. The parents sacrifice much to send their kids to our school. The teachers work hard and are not paid enough. The students work hard and get good results.

Furthermore, our parish is situated in the poorest socio economic area of our town. The population is largely African American and Hispanic. We have more people on lower income, more people per household and more school aged children than the average of Greenville County. The local schools are pretty good, but we would love to offer the education at our parish school to those who live in the area, but we can’t afford to and they can’t afford the tuition.

There’s more. Our school has an inclusion program. This means in addition to the great Catholic education we also welcome kids with learning disabilities of various kinds. We’re the only Catholic School in the state to offer the cutting edge Arrowsmith program for kids with learning problems. This year we started the Embrace program to educate other kids with special needs. This year we welcomed two children with Down’s Syndrome.

We would like to do even more, but we can’t afford it and the parents can’t afford it.

Furthermore, our buildings are sixty years old. They were built cheaply then and they’re leaking now. All we can afford to do is replace and repair as we are able.

If there were a voucher system we could welcome more underprivileged kids and educationally challenged kids.

In our case this is not subsidizing private education for affluent families. This is subsidizing specialized, focussed, professional educational for kids who need just this sort of “small is beautiful” school.

The left are against school vouchers, but they say they are for the poor, for the disadvantaged, for the children, for the needy?

They should visit our school, see what we’re doing, hear what we would like to do and learn something.

Image: (AP photo/Alex Brandon) via National Catholic Register


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