You've heard about an excellent Catholic school that you think would work well for your child, but there's just one issue -- you're Christian, but not Catholic. You'll be intrigued to know that as of the 2013-2014 school year, 16.4 percent of students enrolled in Catholic elementary and high schools aren't Catholic, according to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
There are sound reasons to send your Christian youngster to a Catholic school. These include higher achievement levels, support for conservative viewpoints and an embracing of Christianity during the school day.
Advantages of a Catholic School Education
Better Achievement Levels
Catholic schools in general are stronger academically. Class sizes are often smaller than those in most public schools, meaning a better student-to-teacher ratio. The ratio for Catholic schools nationally is 13 to 1, according to the NCEA.
You can determine the ratio for the Catholic school in your area, as well as for the public school your child would otherwise attend, by dividing the enrollment by the number of teachers. For instance, a school with 300 students and 20 teachers has a student-to-teacher ratio of 15 to 1.
The University of Notre Dame explains that the student achievement gap is smaller in Catholic schools than in public institutions. Hispanic and African-American students who have attended Catholic school are more likely to graduate not only from high school, but from college as well.
As of 2014, 99.4 percent of all Catholic school students complete their diploma program, compared with only about 78 percent at public schools.
Support for Conservative Morals
Children in Catholic schools are guided in conservative moral principles. These schools integrate traditional Christian values with the curriculum. When youngsters are old enough to be in a health class that includes any discussion of sexual matters, for example, the curriculum focuses on sex as part of a married relationship, and marriage being comprised of one man and one woman.
Another aspect of this conservative environment is stronger discipline. Children must be respectful of teachers and other adults, and also of their peers.
Embracing of Christianity
Except for the words "under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance, children in public schools are likely to never hear about God at all. In contrast, Catholic schools may include discussion of Jesus and God in various courses. Children also learn about factors such as the nation's founders' religious beliefs. There also is usually a course specifically for Bible study.
Many parents are troubled by the secular celebration of a holiday season rather than Christmas; in Catholic school, children celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus.
These educational institutions welcome students of different denominations and do not attempt to convert students. Nevertheless, expect that your child will learn a great deal about Catholicism and receive instruction in this faith. Your child also will attend Mass, as the other students do, although the non-Catholic students do not participate in Communion.
If you don't feel comfortable with this aspect of Catholic school education, the school may not be a good fit for your family. However, this may be an excellent chance for your child to fully learn about another religion that has the fundamental belief of Jesus as Lord and Savior. That can be a valuable educational experience in itself.
Contact the Catholic school you're interested in to learn more. You may want to find out what percentage of the students are non-Catholic; if the percentage is similar to the national statistics, you'll know that your child definitely won't feel out of place there. If you continue to feel positive about this facility, enroll your child and enjoy knowing that he or she is about to embark on a rewarding educational experience.
For more information, visit http://www.cadets.com or contact Catholic schools in your area.