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Report Reveals Catholic Schools Shape Morals Along with Minds | Bishop Ludden

When it comes to selecting an educational institution for your child, there are more options than a buffet.

That is, until you review the facts, figures, and benefits of each school model and type. The seemingly, overwhelming slew of choices narrows down significantly. The debate over public vs. private education has as much of a past as it does a future. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 38.8 percent of private school students attend Catholic schools, making it the largest component of the private sector amongst families. And within that, out of the 1.9 million kids enrolled in Catholic institutions a rising 18.4 percent of all the students enrolled were non-Catholic.


Is it because
private schools have a better student-to-teacher ratio of 12:2 students than the 16:1 students per teacher in public schools?

Or is it because
99 percent of students who attend Catholic high school graduate and of those, 86 percent attend 4-year colleges? "

Those are both key features of the Catholic education system, but a recent report from
Thomas B. Fordham Institute by University of California-Santa Barbara associate professor Michael Gottfried and doctoral student Jacob Kirksey offers yet another component. Both authors collected and analyzed nationwide data through the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study for the National Center for Education Statistics to dive deeper into the comparisons of Catholic schools vs. public schools as well as other private schools, religious and secular.

The Catholic High School Difference  

By sifting through the nationwide numbers, the authors found that Catholic high school children were less disruptive and combative as a result of the institution’s self-discipline mindset. These students were slow to anger and less likely to act impulsively, get into fights and cave to peer pressure. Running parallel to this, Catholic students were found to have a greater respect for others’ ideas and belongings.

The study suggests three takeaways for teachers of all backgrounds, parents and students:

1. Schools that value and focus on self-discipline will likely do a better job of fostering it in children. 

2. Other schools have something to learn from Catholics schools when it comes to fostering self-discipline. 

3. We should not underestimate the power of religion to positively influence a child’s behavior—and shouldn’t restrict families’ choices on the basis of religion.


Not only were healthier, positive behavior patterns highlighted in the report, black and Latino students displayed stronger educational performances within the supportive environment of Catholic school including, higher achievements, better graduation rates and higher college enrollment than those at public schools.

“Don’t underestimate the power of religion to positively influence a child’s behavior.” Religion isn’t the only way to foster self-discipline, the authors emphasize, but it’s effective compared to most of the alternatives in channeling youthful energy into productive self-control.

We teach prayer, responsibility and respect, which builds on character and self-discipline,” said Patti Schramm, ADAPEP counselor at Bishop Ludden Catholic High School in Syracuse, New York. “The most important dynamic in this is their faith and the practice of which, will help carry them through life. They will use their spirituality to help refocus themselves when needed.”


Students at Ludden are genuinely good kids,” said Courtnee Corcoran, Director of Enrollment & Advancement at Bishop Ludden High School. “They know right from wrong, they are not disruptive and they respect their friends and teachers. And the great mind-set of students certainly helps with our mission of helping them to realize the full potential of their God-given abilities.”


Schedule a school tour today to see the difference for yourself at Bishop Ludden Catholic School in Syracuse, New York. Contact Courtnee Corcoran in the Admissions Office at or at (315) 468-2591, with any questions. Personal tours can be held any weekday.