In his August 14 address at the Wharton Club, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke of the inefficiencies of the public school system and the success of the Catholic school system. The Mayor said that “if we don’t do something, and do something dramatic, it’s [the public school system] close to collapse.” Mayor Giuliani called for a program of “radical reform” and urged education offi- cials to consider Catholic schools as a model.
The Catholic League praised Mayor Giuliani for broaching the subject by releasing the following statement to the press:
“Mayor Giuliani is to be commended for opening a much needed debate on the problems that are inherent in New York’s public school system. While there are good public schools and bad Catholic schools, the record shows that overall Catholic schools are superior to their public competitors. This is especially true of Catholic schools in the inner city.
It is no secret that poor African American students, most o fwhom are not Catholic, perform at or above national standards when enrolled in Catholic schools.
“The time has come for those who claim to support the best interests of minority children to support any initiative-voucher or otherwise-that might facilitate indigent parents in placing their children in the school of their choice. If parochial schools offer a more reliable ladder to social mobility, then it is in the public interest to provide public support for such efforts. The lives and livelihood of minority children should not be jettisoned because some elites entertain a phobia about religion.”
Unfortunately, Mayor Giuliani does not support a voucher program for New Yorkers, though fully 73% have said they would send their own children to private schools if they could.