Reason Foundation's Joanne Jacobs reports, "More than a thousand Catholic schools have closed since 2000 and more are being lost every year. Enrollment, which peaked at 5.2 million in 13,000 schools in 1960, has fallen to 2.3 million students in 7,500 schools...While parochial schools are much cheaper than most private alternatives, they are having trouble competing against tuition-free charter schools, which are expanding rapidly in urban areas with low-performing schools."
Jacobs concludes, "If poor children are going to be liberated [from failing schools], private philanthropists will have to take the lead...Ninety-nine percent of Catholic high school students graduate and 97 percent of graduates go on to college, says the National Catholic Educational Association. That track record has drawn support from donors of all religious backgrounds. For donors who want more brains for the buck, the Catholic schools are a good investment."