Catholic schools have played an important part in the history of the nation in general and of education in particular. Their contributions to both the concept and the existence of educational alternatives have been enormous. Quantitatively, they reached their all-time high of 5.6 million pupils (elementary and secondary) in 1965–66, 1 when they constituted 87 percent of nonpublic school enrollment. 2 In the years following 1966 Catholic school enrollment plummeted. By 1978, for instance, Catholic schools enrolled 3,289,000 students, making up 70 percent of nonpublic enrollment. 3 In 1981–82 Catholic school population had declined to 3,094,000, accounting for 64 percent of non-public school enrollment. 4