Four Models of Catholic Schooling in Massachusetts
Author(s): Cara Stillings Candal, Ed.D. — Publication date: 2012-03-15 Category: Education Abstract: Thought leaders in education, especially in Massachusetts, rarely acknowledge the precedent that Catholic education sets and the model that it has long provided in offering high quality educational options to students of all backgrounds. Education policy conversations that include Catholic schools would recognize that they are successful with diverse populations of students because they offer a diversity of schooling options, all of which emphasize academic excellence. Generally speaking, Catholic school options in Massachusetts can be described in terms of four models, which are loosely differentiated by their governance structures and, to a lesser extent, the philosophical approach that they take to education. Those models are: 1) parish schools, 2) consolidated academies, 3) Cristo Rey schools, and 4) independent Catholic schools. Taken together, these models provide a range of options for the families of Massachusetts, ensuring that as much as Catholic schools are linked by a common faith, they are also distinct enough from one another to provide high quality choices for people of diverse backgrounds. The following work describes these four models in detail, outlining the hallmark of each model and highlighting how each model is working to provide high quality educational options for diverse groups of students and families across the Commonwealth.