LMU Study Finds Inner City Catholic School Students Outperforming Public School Peers (June 2011)

Phase 1

The Promise of Catholic Schools for Educating the Future of Los Angeles

Ever since the 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk, educators have been concerned about the quality of our national schools. Particular concern has focused on the school experience of ethnic minority and students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds who do not succeed at school in alarming numbers. In large urban areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, there is special concern because these major regions are majority ethnic minority and the future viability of our major cities depends on the ability of Latino, African American, and low-SES students to receive a quality education. Without such an education the future generation of our major cities will not be prepared to function as part of an educated citizenry or in the workforce. Thus, during the past 30 years there have been numerous reform efforts in public and private education focusing on closing the achievement gap and documenting best practices in urban education. Read more.

News About the Study

Phase 2

Impact and Opportunity for Economically Disadvantaged Students

The United States has been concerned about education reform for the better part of the last half century. From the dawn of the Sputnik crisis in 1957, to the publication of "A Nation at Risk" in 1983 (National Commission on Excellence in Education), and to the present day, educational reform has been a major policy issue in the United States. Numerous reform efforts have sought ways to improve education, spurred in part by reports that the U.S. lags behind other countries in international comparisons (e.g., PISA, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009; TIMSS, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007). The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, named the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, attempted to address these and other concerns by calling for standards-based education reform, increased accountability, school choice for low-performing schools, and increased standards for highly-qualified teachers (NCLB, 2001).

In the Los Angeles region, similar to other large urban centers, there have been numerous reform efforts over the last several decades (e.g., Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now, [LEARN]; Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project, [LAAMP]; California Charter School Act,... Read more.

Phase 3

Academic Excellence & Character Formation for Students Living in Poverty

For more than three decades, the United States has engaged in an evolving process of reforming an educational system that, while demonstrating some improvements, still fails to produce desired academic outcomes (Rampey, Dion, & Donahue, 2009). The legislative effort has focused on providing school choices and fostering competition to ensure that educational options available to families are of the highest possible quality.

This two-pronged strategy is viewed as particularly important for low-income urban communities, which have too often been failed by their local public schools. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 led to the rapid growth of charter, magnet, and pilot schools, offering families alternative educational options (NCLB, 2001). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which supports the Race to the Top federal program, has allocated more than $4 billion in competitive grants to states demonstrating innovative, large-scale school reform efforts to improve student achievement and college readiness. Read more.