Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools' Importance in Urban America


Location: Eck Commons


Notre Dame Law School and the Institute for Educational Initiatives invite you to a discussion of an important new book.

Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America

Featuring :
Michael Heise
Professor of Law
Cornell Law School

John McGreevy
Dean and Professor of History
University of Notre Dame

With comments by the authors:
Prof. Margaret F. Brinig
Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law
Notre Dame Law School
Prof. Nicole Stelle Garnett
Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
Policy Coordinator, Alliance for Catholic Education

In the past two decades, more than 2,000 Catholic elementary and secondary schools have closed in the United States, and more than 4,500 charter schools have opened. With a particular emphasis on Catholic school closures, Lost Classroom, Lost Community examines the implications of these dramatic shifts in the urban educational landscape.

More than just educational institutions, Catholic schools promote the development of social capital – the social networks and mutual trust that form the foundation of safe and cohesive communities. Drawing on data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods and crime reports collected at the police beat or census tract level in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, Professors Brinig and Garnett demonstrate that the loss of Catholic schools triggers disorder, crime, and an overall decline in community cohesiveness, and suggest that new charter schools fail to fill the gaps left behind.

This book shows that the closing of Catholic schools harms the very communities they were created to bring together and serve and has important implications for education policy debates.