Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools' Importance in Urban America

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9780226418438: Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools' Importance in Urban America

In the past two decades in the United States, more than 1,600 Catholic elementary and secondary schools have closed, and more than 4,500 charter schools—public schools that are often privately operated and freed from certain regulations—have opened, many in urban areas. With a particular emphasis on Catholic school closures, Lost Classroom, Lost Community examines the implications of these dramatic shifts in the urban educational landscape. 

More than just educational institutions, Catholic schools promote the development of social capital—the social networks and mutual trust that form the foundation of safe and cohesive communities. Drawing on data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods and crime reports collected at the police beat or census tract level in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, Margaret F. Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett demonstrate that the loss of Catholic schools triggers disorder, crime, and an overall decline in community cohesiveness, and suggest that new charter schools fail to fill the gaps left behind.

This book shows that the closing of Catholic schools harms the very communities they were created to bring together and serve, and it will have vital implications for both education and policing policy debates.

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About the Author:

Margaret F. Brinig is the Fritz Duda Family Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame and a fellow of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. She is the author of several books, including, most recently, Family, Law, and Community: Supporting the Covenant, also published by the University of Chicago Press. She lives in Granger, IN. Nicole Stelle Garnett is professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and a fellow of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. She writes extensively about both urban policy and education policy and is the author of Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing, and the Restoration of Urban America. She lives in South Bend, IN.

Review:

“When a Catholic school closes down, education isn’t the only area that oft-times suffers. While charter schools often emerge to fill the gaps left by shuttered Catholic schools, Garnett and Brinig believe that these institutions aren’t as effective at positively impacting the community at large.” (Billy Hallowell TheBlaze)

“Recent academic research, like the 2014 book Lost Classroom, Lost Community by two professors at the University of Notre Dame, has confirmed that Catholic schools help stabilize their communities. When President Bush asked me to help organize the 2008 White House summit on inner-city faith-based schooling, he characterized the situation as a ‘crisis.’ Less than a decade later, Catholic schools are budding for a renaissance.” (Karl Zinsmeister Wall Street Journal)

“There is ample research to demonstrate inner-city Catholic schools’ educational excellence, going back to the pioneering Coleman/Greeley studies in the 1970s. Now comes an even more comprehensive claim about the positive impact of these schools: For, according to two law professors at the University of Notre Dame, Margaret F. Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett, inner-city Catholic schools are important factors in urban renewal as builders of ‘social capital.' . . . Inner-city Catholic schools are in deep financial crisis, with strapped dioceses scrambling to find the dollars to subsidize indisputably effective schools that can no longer support themselves by themselves. Brinig and Garnett argue that, given their demonstrably positive impact across society, these schools should be given a fighting chance through mechanisms like tuition tax credits or vouchers, with public funds going to the child to enable students to attend an inner-city Catholic school.” (George Weigel First Things)

“It is rare that one encounters a book that is seminal, well written and important, all at the same time. But, Lost Classroom, Lost Community . . . is such a book. It sets forth a new argument for keeping our Catholic schools vibrant, and instantly makes itself a ‘must read’ for every bishop, every school superintendent, event director of a state Catholic conference, every lobbyist for Catholic conferences, as well as anyone, Catholic or not, who cares about bringing relief to the often miserable conditions that confront urban America.” (Michael Sean Winters National Catholic Reporter)

“Brinig and Garnett have contributed substantially to the public appreciation of parish schools not only as alternatives to public schooling, but also to the quality of life in the neighborhoods they serve. The salient question still remains: if Catholic schools are so vital to the future of our urban neighborhoods, why can’t we as a church and a nation work to sustain them?” (Timothy Walch, US Catholic historian American Catholic Studies)

"For principals and teachers working in inner-city schools, these findings are not something new. However, this is the first time that scholars made an empirical analysis of the data to prove what was already known anecdotally." (Joyce Duriga Catholic New World)

“By all accounts, the loss of an inner-city Catholic school is a blow to its disadvantaged students. But is there more to this story? What happens to the neighborhood—the urban fabric—when the bells stop ringing once and for all? That question is probed in a groundbreaking new book, Lost Classroom, Lost Community.” (William Bole OSV Newsweekly)

“Brinig and Garnett add another argument to the case for Catholic education: Catholic schools are essential to a community’s health, especially in inner-city neighborhoods. . . . The book . . . is about more than Catholic education or education reform—it is important for anyone interested in the health of our cities.” (US Catholic Magazine)

“Can’t recommend it highly enough. . . . Brinig and Garnett take a novel tack. Rather than wade into academic effects, they use a rich data set of social cohesion measures and crime data from Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles to track the effect of closing Catholic schools on neighborhoods. Not to spoil the ending, but closing Catholic schools rends the fabrics of low income communities and can be linked to an increase in crime. . . . If this is the one book you read about the state of Catholic education (and school choice policy) in America, it would serve you well. But [these] findings . . . really set the book apart, and will make this required reading and citation for all interested in Catholic education for a very long time.” (Michael McShane AEIdeas: The Public Policy Blog of the American Enterprise Institute)

“Education reformers and policymakers take note: Catholic schools bring something to the table that charters don’t. . . . Buried between the charts and graphs is a convincing case that flourishing inner-city Catholic schools make for flourishing inner-city neighborhoods. We’ll miss them when they’re gone.” (Matthew Hennessey City Journal)

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the past two decades in the United States, more than 1,600 Catholic elementary and secondary schools have closed, and more than 4,500 charter schools public schools that are often privately operated and freed from certain regulations have opened, many in urban areas. With a particular emphasis on Catholic school closures, Lost Classroom, Lost Community examines the implications of these dramatic shifts in the urban educational landscape. More than just educational institutions, Catholic schools promote the development of social capital the social networks and mutual trust that form the foundation of safe and cohesive communities. Drawing on data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods and crime reports collected at the police beat or census tract level in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, Margaret F. Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett demonstrate that the loss of Catholic schools triggers disorder, crime, and an overall decline in community cohesiveness, and suggest that new charter schools fail to fill the gaps left behind. This book shows that the closing of Catholic schools harms the very communities they were created to bring together and serve, and it will have vital implications for both education and policing policy debates. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780226418438

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