A personal note: I’m a Catholic. The Church’s politics make me crazy for a number of reasons. I’m not referring in this post even to economics, but to the Archdiocese of New Mexico’s position in support of a massive new pre-K entitlement. Advocates point to some very old, highly resource-intensive pre-k “experiments” from the 1960s, but conveniently ignore existing, large-scale, state programs that have been operating for decades in Oklahoma and Georgia.
So, the church is advocating for policies that would, we believe, waste billions of dollars in the Permanent Fund on a pre-k program. But that’s not what really drives me nuts about the Church’s policy stances. It is that the Church is not willing to put a fraction of the time and resources into promoting school choice (specifically, tax credits) which are now in place in 14 states (see a detailed analysis here) and were last seriously considered in New Mexico in 2012 when liberal Democrats introduced bills to expand school choice.
A further indictment of the Church’s position is that the data on student performance in Catholic Schools is actually much better than the costly new pre-K program. A University of Chicago study found that urban African Americans attending Catholic schools are 26 percentage points more likely to graduate from high school and twice as likely to graduate from college as comparable students in public schools. Considering that such programs could actually SAVE tax dollars, it is nothing less than mind-blowing to me that the Church hasn’t endorsed tax credits for school choice wholeheartedly.
Perhaps it is true what they are saying about Allen Sanchez?