Utah Catholic schools buck national trends, keep thriving

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  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    The main difference between public and private schools is that public schools can't just reject low performing students while private schools have the ability to pick and choose.

    I suspect though that parents having to pay for private school (rather than the indirect payment through taxes for public school) gives parents a greater incentive to be more highly involved in the child's education.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 15, 2014 7:19 p.m.

    Just comparing Skyline to Juan Diego, I won't say one is better than the other but probably similar:

    I would bet both send a lot of their students to college.

    That they have similar number of national merit scholars.

    Juan Diego has good programs, Skyline has good programs such as IB.

    Both have good extracurricular programs, some are better at Juan Diego, some better at Skyline.

    The teachers at both schools, and I have known educators (teachers and coaches) at both schools, have high standards.

    Again, you can't convince me that one school is that superior to the other, that their teachers have higher standards than the other, nor are their students any superior in any measure of success than at the other. The one difference is that you can go there for free, choicing in if you live outside its boundary, the other will cost you tens of thousands of dollars for a four-year education experience.

    Sorry JD-Dad, I stand by my initial assessment. And so you know, I've had my children in charter, public and private schools and I speak highly of them all in some way.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:42 a.m.

    I drive a bus for UTA. I have many students from parochial schools on my bus. Not just Catholic but Lutheran. They all wear school uniforms and are polite and cause no problems. When I pick up West High kids I can expect to find Graffiti on the bus. The kids from Northwest Jr High storm the bus like an out of control mob when school is out. School uniforms should implemented in public schools. Another option to consider is same sex schools starting at Jr. High. Something to think about.

  • JM Fan Murray, UT
    July 14, 2014 10:17 p.m.

    I share JD Dad's feelings. Having put kids through Judge. And having friends with kids at JD. The experience is hard to duplicate. The article offers that Catholic Schools are a good option for our kids. No need to disparage. Simply choose a path that us right for your family.

    I choose to send my kids to Catholic School as I believe it provides each with a great set of values, experiences and opportunity to flourish.

    July 14, 2014 5:52 p.m.

    If your expectations of a high school education is just ready texts books and taking test, then public schools and private are pretty much the same, Howard. If you believe that high school should also be about who vs. what you want to be, or instilling core values to strive for personal excellence you may want to consider something other than public education. The attitude and expectations for students at JD are higher. Teachers and staff at JD expect and hold students to higher standards.
    Case in point, I spoke with a mom who recently moved the son to Corner Canyon. His grades have significantly slipped and so has his attitude towards school. She attributed the change in her son to the lack of expectations from the faculty and staff.
    When you are in a school of about 750 for four grades, you tend to have a better sense of community and accountability. Finding that size school in the salt lake valley is nearly impossible. When you add the facilities that the Skaggs family has made possible, you have wonderful opportunity for growth and development of children into fine young adults.
    God bless

  • donn layton, UT
    July 14, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    RE: Impartial7, In Utah, parents (myself included) that want a decent education for their kids (not Utah's public education)are sending their kids to Lutheran & Catholic schools. Plus,

    As Christian schools the Catholic and Lutheran schools share many beliefs. They all believe that God has revealed himself as the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They all believe that God sent his son Jesus Christ to be the savior of mankind. Additionally, they all believe the Bible and the church's traditional creeds -- the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed, both of which summarize Christian beliefs. --

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 14, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    Let's get real, nobody could convince me that the education say at Juan Diego is any better than at Skyline. And certainly not at cost. A top public school rates right up there with any private or parochial school in any state.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    July 14, 2014 2:17 p.m.

    That may be true in your area. In Utah, parents (myself included) that want a decent education for their kids (not Utah's public education)are sending their kids to Lutheran & Catholic schools. No financial assistance & no special rates. In fact, if you don't belong to the church, are not Catholic, your kid has to test in & pay more.

  • slcman SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 14, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    My sisters and I all attended public school. All three college graduates and two with masters degrees. Unlike RedWings from Clearfield, I always felt like my teachers in public school cared a great deal about my long-term success. A great part about this is that we were able to take awesome vacations during the summer months with all that money my police officer dad and stay at home mom weren't spending on private school tuition. This gave us all a great feel for and appreciation of this great nation.

    I'm thankful that I live in the nation that essentially invented the concept that a strong society educates all its citizens.

    I'm sure Catholic schools are great though.

    July 14, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    @poqui. We all make sacrifices for our children. Our family has not been on a real vacation since my daughter was in second grade. She will be a senior this year at JD. Well over half the students attending the three schools at the Skaggs Catholic Center receive financial assistance. I would encourage you to call the financial aid department to see what they can do for your family. Our community would welcome you with open arms. The experience is well worth the sacrifice. God bless

    July 14, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    I M LDS 2:

    Diamonds will shine whever they are placed. That is an outstanding achievement for your family..

    Public schools are all about funding. They are not about the kids and their long-term success. Until this and the practice of protecting bad teacher are removed, public schools will continue to decline.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 14, 2014 10:30 a.m.


    "My three sisters and I attended Catholic schools from kindergarten to through our High School graduations. From those 4 children came 3 college degrees including 2 that include Masters Degrees."

    In my family of six children, who all went to public school, there came 5 bacc. Degrees, 3 Masters degrees, and 2 PhDs.

    There is an elitist bias when it comes to opinions about most private, charter, or religious schools. The "sense of community" is nice but when that sense of community is based on stratification, SES, religious affiliation, or artistic/technological specialization, it seems to be working contrary to the populist, egalitarian American spirit, and fragmenting overall society in potentially unhealthy ways.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    July 14, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    For these schools to have 25% non Catholic enrollment is very high. Usually, this means that there are students being brought in with their tuition covered by Basic Education Opportunity Grants which indicates the presence of certain specified non Catholic minorities. Here in the Midwest, the Catholic school for my childhood home is now 70% non Catholic. This means that Catholics are paying a higher tuition to cover the reaching out to minorities. Catholic schools should be for Catholics. That is no longer a viable luxury due to the various scandals and their legal bills. Lay teachers, of which I was one, want higher and higher salaries. Who will pay for them? The Archdiocese of Boston brought in a new superintendent who is now gone, Mary Grasso, who was paid 300K in addition to bringing in a pension of 50K from the Boston Public Schools. The Catholic Schools are looking for government aid like in France and Canada. So far, these basic education opportunity grants have to do.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 14, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    For all the grief that the Catholic church gets in society and the media (some of it deserved, some of it not), one thing that often gets overlooked is what a great job they do with education. And not just in the United States - in many 2nd and 3rd world countries, a Catholic school education is the best you can get and in many cases lifts children from poverty. I can't imagine what some South American countries would be like were it not for Catholic schools.

  • bullet56 Olympia, WA
    July 14, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    My three sisters and I attended Catholic schools from kindergarten to through our High School graduations. From those 4 children came 3 college degrees including 2 that include Masters Degrees. It was a back breaker for my parents who both worked at the family business being a State Farm agent. There were no vacations, no eating out, no sports, we all worked to pay the 74 dollars per child per month, while paying our taxes to educate the public school children of parents who sent their children there for "free". There was also our regular tithing too! It was and is a superior education and my friends wonder why I know so much more than them about science, government, community, and humanity. My education is all that is different. My school in Albuquerque, had many student of other religions also.

  • Poqui Murray, UT
    July 14, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    Catholics schools have such a great reputation and it looks to be well-deserved. It can only help our great state to have children educated by a church that has such conservative values. I wish my kids could attend such a school but the tuition rates make it prohibitive on our small salary. At $10k a year per child it would take my whole salary just to send my kids to school at Juan Diego HS.

    Maybe the success rate of the schools is not based so much on the schools themselves but on the kind of student they attract. By automatically excluding students from lower SES they can avoid a lot of the academic problems associated with them.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 14, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    @stevan madrigal.... that sense of belonging to a community, where there are certain expectations for socially and academically is exactly it. Public schools are disadvantaged by the fact that they are geographically based, and therefor are subject to the population that make up their area - just like Wards and their congregations. If you choose your home wisely, you get demographically similar members of your church or school community. But it is at the end of he day a lottery.

    On the other hand, private and charter schools are self selecting communities where those that are there choose to be there. I as a youth went to Catholic School for a short period, and my youngest did likewise. I would have no problems recommending the Catholic school system to anyone - and they are generally more affordable than most private schools.

  • stevan madrigal murray, UT
    July 13, 2014 6:06 p.m.

    "Supporters of Catholic school education point to the approximately 99 percent high school graduation rate and in Utah a college placement rate that is in the 98th percentile."
    The sense of belonging is something that is hard to explain or comprehend - unless you have experienced it.