(LANSING)—On behalf of the 269 Catholic schools in the state, Michigan Catholic Conference today welcomed the adoption of Senate Resolution 4, which recognizes Catholic Schools Week and the role Catholic schools play throughout the State of Michigan. According to official estimates, there are approximately 16,621 students who attend a Catholic high school and some 50,836 students who attend a Catholic elementary school, with the parents saving taxpayers and the State of Michigan some $493 million annually.
“Michigan Catholic Conference is grateful to the State Senate for recognizing Catholic Schools Week, and for reminding all elected officials of the public savings realized by the presence of a strong non-public education system in Michigan,” said Paul Stankewitz, MCC Associate for Public Policy. “Catholic schools are among the best in the state not only because of their excellent curriculum, but also because of their dedication to teaching morals and providing parents with a disciplined and structured learning environment for their children.”
According to Senate Resolution 4, sponsored by State Senator Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland), chair of the Senate Education Committee: “The Catholic Church sees the parents as the primary educators and that parental supervision and involvement play a major role in the education of students,” and “Based upon Michigan’s minimum public school foundation allowance of $7,316, the Catholic schools of our state save taxpayers in excess of $493,515,412 annually.” The resolution also states: “Catholic educators are dedicated to producing academically strong students who also commit themselves to service.”
Catholic Schools Week, which runs from January 25–31, is celebrated in all seven Roman Catholic dioceses in Michigan and across the country. Schools will celebrate with Masses, open houses and activities for students, administrators, faculty, school staff, the community and families. This year many schools will undertake new service projects in commemoration of the week’s theme: “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service.”
Among those schools honored this week is Holy Name Catholic School in Birmingham, which in October 2008 was the only school in Michigan to be named a 2008 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate gains in student achievement. Holy Name was recognized for its record of student achievement and academic results. It is in the top 10 percent of the schools in the nation in reading and mathematics in the last grade tested, as measured by an assessment referenced against national norms.
Catholic Schools Week is a joint project of the National Catholic Education Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.