Negative Publicity and Catholic Schools

By Dills, Angela K.; Hernandez-Julian, Rey | Economic Inquiry, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Negative Publicity and Catholic Schools


Dills, Angela K., Hernandez-Julian, Rey, Economic Inquiry


I. INTRODUCTION

Catholic education makes up a large part of the United States' K-12 educational system: Catholic schools educate over one-third of all private school students, more elementary and secondary students than all other religious schools combined (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2007). However, Catholic education is becoming less prevalent. Between 1990 and 2007, the number of Catholic schools decreased by 14%, from 8,719 to 7,498, while enrollment declined by 7% from 2,498,870 to 2,320,651. (1) The mainstream media has covered this trend, beginning with closings in the early 1990s (Foderaro, 1990).

Private schools enroll 11% of elementary and secondary school students; 39% of private school students enroll in Catholic schools. (2) Catholic schools historically have served a predominantly urban, minority population with some success: research generally finds modest gains in educational attainment, particularly for minority students (e.g., Altonji et al., 2005; Evans and Schwab, 1995; Neal, 1997). There is evidence that Catholic schools raise student academic achievement and reduce adolescent risky behaviors (Figlio and Ludwig, 2000; Figlio and Stone, 2000). (3) The current decline in Catholic schooling reflects diminished opportunities for students to enroll in alternatives to public schools; this decline is particularly troubling for the low-income, urban minority students who have particularly benefited from Catholic schools in the past (Neal, 1997). The decline in private schooling options also lowers the level of competition among schools; the decrease in competition may worsen the outcomes of public school students (Hoxby, 1994).

We consider potential explanations for the decline in Catholic schooling in the United States: changing demographics, changing income levels, and public awareness of sexual abuse and allegations. Immigration into and within the United States, particularly of the traditionally Catholic Hispanic population, likely affected demand for Catholic schooling. O' Keefe (1996) suggests that falling income per capita near existing Catholic schools led to school closings. Further, the negative publicity from the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church may have impacted the availability of and demand for Catholic schooling.

Using diocese-level panel data on Catholic schooling, we empirically examine the importance of each of these factors. We develop two proxy measures of negative publicity based on the press coverage and on plausibly public notifications of abuse allegations. We find that negative publicity is associated with a reduction in the availability of Catholic schools. However, its effect is small: allegations related to the abuse cases account for about 5% of the decline in Catholic schools. Changing demographics, particularly increases in the Hispanic population, explain a larger proportion of the current decline in Catholic schooling.

II. AN OVERVIEW OF CATHOLIC SCHOOL ENROLLMENT AND CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES

The Catholic Church is organized into dioceses and archdioceses, each administered by a bishop or archbishop. There are 175 of these in the United States, with each state and the District of Columbia having at least one. Dioceses, for the most part, follow county lines. Texas, with 14, is the state that has the most dioceses. The average state has approximately 3.5 dioceses. Catholic schools tend to be operated with financial backing from the local diocese, in combination with revenue from tuition and direct donations. Diocesan support ranges from a low of around 5% of school funding coming from dioceses in the South and West to a high of about 50% in the Midwest (Gero and Meitler 2003).

Figure 1 presents the percent of school-aged children enrolled in Catholic schools and the number of Catholic schools for 1990 to 2007. (4) The number of Catholic schools declined in the early 1990s; the decline slowed in the mid-1990s and accelerated again around 2004. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Negative Publicity and Catholic Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.