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December 2014 Vol. 52 No. 4

University of Chicago Press

The following review appeared in the December 2014 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
Political Science - U.S. Politics

2013-36575 CIP
Brinig, Margaret F. Lost classroom, lost community: Catholic schools' importance in urban America, by Margaret F. Brinig and Nicole Stelle Garnett. Chicago, 2014. 202p index afp ISBN 9780226122007, $45.00; ISBN 9780226122144 ebook, contact publisher for price.

Brinig and Garnett (both, Univ. of Notre Dame) examine an oft overlooked occurrence in the educational arena: the closing of urban Catholic schools.  Though they are often lumped in with private schools, Catholic schools and particularly ones in urban areas are often affected by school reform policy and public policy.  Though most studies regard educational reform efforts like vouchers as financially beneficial for urban Catholic schools, this book explores those same impacts using the lens of school closures.  This book uses the case of Our Lady of Hungary to examine the effect of school closings on urban neighborhoods, Hispanic students, and impoverished families.  They further use data from Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods to measure those effects.  They find closing urban Catholic schools is detrimental to students, families, and the local neighborhoods, and may also increase chances of higher crime and violence in areas where schools are closed.  They further admonish policy makers to use Catholic schools as a community institution with far-reaching effects, rather than just an educational facility for students. 

--L. T. Grover, Southern University and A&M College

Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections.