Catholic school students did not see a drop in reading and math scores, according to national report card reports because many of the religion-based schools remained open during the pandemic, Michael Deegan, the superintendent of schools for the archdiocese of New York, said on Newsmax Friday.
"Here in the archdiocese of New York, we infused almost $10 million in technology and academic support to ensure that our schools remained open during the pandemic," Deegan said on Newsmax's "National Report." "Every decision that we made was based on what was best for the children, not the adults, not the politics, not the government, but what was best for our children."
It was determined that remaining open and "infusing tremendous amounts of support, academic support, mental, social, and emotional support for our children was what really they needed," he said. As a result of that, we doubled down on our academic proficiency, and in the Catholic schools here in the archdiocese, not only did our English language and reading scores not go down, they improved by over 7 points."
Meanwhile, the archdiocese enrolled almost 3,000 children from public schools throughout the pandemic, Deegan said.
"In many cases, those students were behind grade level when we accepted them, and there was a great deal of remediation and support that those students needed and were able to receive that," said Deegan. "In fact, our test scores reflect the fact that those 3,000 students were enrolled in our schools, and we did really well."
The Catholic schools' enrollment also reflected a matter of parental school choice, said Deegan, adding that the archdiocese and the church recognize that parents are the "primary educators of their children."
"We're there to help them, so to the extent that we can throughout the nation," said Deegan, "we allow parents vouchers, tax credits, corporate tax credits to allow their children to attend a Catholic school or, for that matter, any non-governmental school. I think it raises the bar throughout the country."
Meanwhile, New York's Catholic schools also suffered from teacher shortages briefly, but "we have rebounded," said Deegan.
"We have extraordinarily dedicated Catholic school teachers here in New York," he said. "We would never have been able to get through this pandemic were it not for our principals and our teacher … our culture is really inviting to those that are mission-driven, so we are back to where we were before the pandemic in terms of our teachers' employment."
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