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Every now and then those involved in a good cause owe it to themselves to pause and take note of their achievements. So it is with the nation's Catholic schools, which this week celebrate Catholic Schools Week under the theme, "The Good News in Education: Choose Catholic Schools."

Many activities are scheduled for the week by area Catholic schools. The schools have extended invitations to everyone to participate in their activities, which are outlined elsewhere in today's Southeast Missourian.

Pausing to reflect upon the schools' accomplishments is not the only purpose of this week's observance. The Roman Catholic Church seeks to draw attention to its 7,291 elementary schools and 1,296 high schools nationwide at a time when enrollments have dipped and there is much discussion in political circles about giving public school parents greater choice in where to send their children to school.

So, with those thoughts in mind, the campaign is designed to nourish parents and others who are faithful to Catholic schools and to stimulate parents who may be considering parochial school educations for their children. At the same time, Catholic officials hope the national campaign, which last year delivered the message, "Discover Catholic Schools in 1992," will help sell political leaders on the excellence of a parochial education.

The excellence offered by a parochial education to the 2.5 million students nationwide who are enrolled is not a secret; statistics, after all, have shown that parochial schools generally have turned out better graduates while spending less per pupil than do public schools. The dropout rate is much lower than in public schools and many more parochial students attend college.

Parochial schools have a tradition of emphasizing discipline to students, something that public schools have done with little success as witnessed by the drugs, violence and low morale in some inner-city public schools.

We join this week in saluting the good job that Catholic schools are doing. They have contributed immensely.