I want to share a recent op-ed from a Catholic school leader who leads a network of schools in Ohio and New York City.

Partnership Schools were among countless Catholic schools across the country that stood in the gap to keep educating children during a historic crisis. School choice ensures these educational pillars can keep operating.

We need school choice to sustain and support parents who choose Catholic schools in good times – and before the next crisis comes.

As the editorial explains, the stakes were unimaginably high – and Catholic school leaders bravely persevered and helped students.

In a time of crisis, Catholic schools offered a choice, not an echo

New data suggest that the damage from shutting down schools has been worse than almost anyone expected,” the Economist tweeted recently to promote a new article in its pages that details the academic and social-emotional fallout caused by school shutdowns worldwide. While any spotlight on this cataclysm is welcome, the truth is that many people did expect these shutdowns to be terrible for students and their families. That’s why lots of parents and educators marshaled extraordinary leadership in a time of fear and uncertainty to reopen their schools after the initial Spring 2020 shutdown. And chief among these leaders were the principals and teachers in America’s Catholic schools.

What was it like to stand apart from the crowd in summer 2020 and insist that schools must re-open? For starters, it was scary. Now that the dust has settled, it’s easy to forget how much uncertainty there was two years ago, how little we knew, and how much reopening required a willingness to make hard decisions, guided as best we could at the time by science. It was by far the most challenging months I have experienced in more than twenty years working in schools.

It’s also easy to forget the harshness of the opposition that school leaders faced. Indeed, the preparation any school, district, network, or diocesan leader undertook as they worked to reopen in the fall of 2020 was done against the backdrop of a near constant drumbeat of attacks from teachers unions and their allies suggesting that reopening schools would be tantamount to murder… 

With that as a backdrop, it was nonpublic schools—Catholic schools chief among them—that led the way forward in reopening amidst uncertainty… many of the district schools and charter schools that were not open on the first day of the 2020–21 school year remained online for the bulk of the year, some not fully reopening until fall 2021.

While the impact of these Covid-related policy decisions on enrollment trends is still shaking out, emerging patterns suggest that more parents than ever are seeking alternatives.

Thanks to your support of Catholic schools and school choice, those alternatives can continue to exist for the next generation.