A Crisis of Community: Catholic School Closures and Urban Neighborhoods

Jun 26, 2014
University Club of Chicago
76 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
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Margaret F. BrinigUniversity of Notre Dame Law School

Nicole Stelle GarnettUniversity of Notre Dame

A book event with the authors of Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America Margaret Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett moderated by Fr. Tim Scully (Hackett Family Director, Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame)

In the past two decades in the United States, more than 1,600 Catholic elementary and secondary schools have closed, and more than 4,500 charter schools—public schools that are often privately operated and freed from certain regulations—have opened, many in urban areas. With a particular emphasis on Catholic school closures, Lost Classroom, Lost Communityexamines 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, Margaret F. Brinig and Nicole Stelle 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 it will have vital implications for both education and policing policy debates.

cosponsored by the Alliance for Catholic Education, Notre Dame Law School, and the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic Schools Office

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Margaret F. Brinig is the Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University and a J.D. from Seton Hall University. Her research integrates law and social sciences in empirical studies of families, social capital, and social welfare legislation. She serves on the executive board of the International Society of Family Law and is a Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to more than a hundred shorter works, her most recent book is Family, Law, and Community: Supporting the Covenant (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

Nicole Stelle Garnett is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. Her teaching and research focus on property, land use, urban development, local government law, and education policy. She is the author of numerous of articles on these subjects and of Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing and the Restoration of Urban America (Yale University Press, 2009). At Notre Dame, Professor Garnett also is a Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Senior Policy Coordinator for the Alliance for Catholic Education. From 2008-2010, she served as Provost Fellow at Notre Dame, and, in 2007, was a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.