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Good explanations by edchan and maria2006. My naphew goes to a Catholic school in Ontario, Canada, and he doesn't like it for two reasons:|
1. The school is too strict. But this is exactly why his parents sent him there, hehe.
2. Academically, the school is less competitive than nearby public schools. The reason behind this is the composition of the student body. I am not trying to reinforce racial stereotyping, but in his school, there is a large percentage of Italian and Portugese decendents (because they are Catholic), and most of the Jews, Chinese, Indians in the area go to public schools. Generally, in Canada at least, Jews, Chinese, and Indians families put more emphasis on education, especially in math and science. This is evidence when you look at the disproportionate number of Jews, Chinese and Indians in medical, accounting, computer, and law professions. So in Catholic schools they lack diversity and the competition that comes with it.
At the time my naphew got into the Catholic school, you had to be a Catholic to be get in. Later on the Ontario government started providing funding to Catholic schools, and the church made a few concessions in return, among them you don't need to be a Catholic to teach or study in their school anymore. But today the vast majority of students and teachers in Catholic schools are still Catholic.