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Where Are The Highest Performing Schools?

Here’s a trick question. Which state had the best performance (or least BAD performance) on test scores last year? The answer: the Catholic schools. And it’s no rich white kids who attend Catholic schools. Here’s a great analysis by education expert Kathleen Porter-Magee:

In the fall of 2020, after we had learned more about curbing superspreader events and as it became clear that children were the least vulnerable to the virus, more than 92% of Catholic schools across the country re-opened for in-person learning, compared with 43% of traditional public schools and 34% of charters.

This week’s NAEP data show how important reopening was for learning. Today, the divergence between Catholic schools and public ones is so great that if all U.S. Catholic schools were a state, their 1.6 million students would rank first in the nation across the NAEP reading and math tests for fourth and eighth graders.

Catholic-school students now boast the nation’s highest scale scores on all four NAEP tests. The average score among fourth-graders in Catholic schools was 233, 17 points higher than the national public-school average, or about 1½ grade levels ahead. In eighth-grade reading, the average score for Catholic school students was 279, 20 points higher than the national public-school average, or about two grade levels ahead.

The tragedy of this story is there are thousands of empty seats in high-performing Catholic schools. How can anyone who cares about education oppose school choice?

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