Parochial School

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A parochial school in the United States is a private elementary or high school run by a church. They do not receive any federal, state or local funds, but parents may receive School vouchers good for tuition. Most are operated by the Catholic Church, but Lutherans, Reformed and Jews operate some schools. By convention, private Christian schools run by Baptists and evangelicals are not called "parochial."

In 1890 parochial schools came under political attack by Republicans in Wisconsin. Democrats defended the schools and won the election. See Bennett Law

Catholic schools

Since the 1960s the number of students in parochial schools in the United States has been declining, and many have closed.

The number of students in Catholic schools is only 2.27 million, compared with 5.25 million in the 1960s. Now there are only 7,378 parochial schools, while in the 1960s there were 12,893.[1]

The decline is accelerating. About 1,267 Catholic schools have closed since 2000 and enrollment nationwide has dropped by 382,125 students, or 14 percent, according to the National Catholic Education Association."[2]

Catholic nuns ("sisters") traditionally filled many of teaching positions at parochial schools, which typically were controlled by the parish and supervised by the diocese. In 1965, 104,000 teaching sisters educated students in parochial schools in the United States. By 2007, that number had declined by 94%, such that there are only 8,200 teaching sisters.[3]


  3. Hilary White, "Vatican Cardinal Criticizes U.S. for not Funding Catholic Schools," The Wanderer, pp. 1 and 7, Vol. 140, No. 49 (Dec. 6, 2007).