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Debating the Future of NY's Catholic Schools

Teachers College is hosting "What Makes New York City Catholic Schools Worth Saving?", a special event that will feature a reading by author Patrick McCloskey from his book The Street Stops Here: A Year at a Catholic High School in East Harlem.

"What Makes New York City Catholic Schools Worth Saving?" will be held on Monday, February 2nd, from 4 to 5:30 pm at Milbank Chapel at Teachers College, 525 West 120th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. It is sponsored by the College's Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, with support from Teachers College and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

The event comes amid steadily falling enrollments in the nation's Roman Catholic schools, including last week's announcement that the Diocese of Brooklyn is closing 14 elementary schools. The trend has been described as a crisis by the White House Domestic Policy Council, particularly for impoverished urban neighborhoods, where Catholic schools have provided an affordable alternative to public school education. Some 2,000 parochial schools have closed nationwide since 1990.
"The research shows that Catholic schools have become the saving grace for thousands of the same inner-city students who fare poorly in the public system," McCloskey writes in The Street Stops Here. "Since the Catholic school model is also the only one proven to work systemwide, it offers a solution to this national dilemma."
Following his reading, McCloskey will participate in a panel discussion consisting of:

Samuel Freedman
, New York Times columnist and Columbia Journalism School faculty member;
Hunter College/CUNY faculty member Joseph Viteritti, author of The Last Freedom: Religion from the Public School to the Public Square, in which he argues that the courts have failed to adequately protect religious minorities.

Pearl Rock Kane
, former board member at Rice High School and director of The Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership, based at Teachers College;

Richard Lee Colvin
, Hechinger Institute director, who will moderate.
"The plight of Catholic schools and the important educational role they play in our nation's cities get little attention from overworked journalists who focus most of their energy on covering the bureaucracy of public education," says Colvin. "McCloskey's book gives us a chance to showcase journalism about an under-covered story as well as an opportunity to host, for journalists, educators and interested community members, a discussion of the issues."
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