A New York University study comparing Catholic schools to New York City’s public schools makes it untenable to argue that there is even something to debate anymore. Catholic schools have larger classes, lower-paid teachers and much smaller budgets. But they educate their students in a way public schools do not.
Where Catholic schools excel is where the public schools fail most dramatically—in the inner city. The study, done by independent researcher Raymond Domanico, found that in schools that are 90 percent African-American or Hispanic, the Catholic students did significantly better than their cohorts in the public schools. And this was accomplished at half the cost of what public schools spend.
When the study was released, John Tierney of the New York Times wrote a splendid column praising the success of the Catholic schools. He also called into question the reasoning of those who continue to oppose school vouchers, noting that all announced candidates for mayor in New York continue to stick by the teachers’ unions in resisting any competition with the public schools.
William Donohue’s letter of support for the Tierney piece was printed by the Times. He called Catholic schools “the greatest single engine of upward mobility for inner-city youth,” and concluded by challenging the opponents of school choice “To deny choice to the poor, while the affluent have the ability to escape the public schools, is unjust and hypocritical.”