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The Catholic School Revival
Wall St. Journal | 11/27/15
Behind the Headline
Faith, Hope and Hard Work: Reflections on Year One of Partnership Schools
Education Next blog | 7/15/15
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Zinsmeister looks at the surprising boost Catholic schooling is getting from charter schooling.
At first the rise of charter schools—to 7,000 today from 1,900 in 2000—was thought to be the nail in the coffin for Catholic education, which had been in decline for decades. Charters offer many of the same strengths as Catholic schools: order, kindness, discipline, high expectations (ideas initially borrowed from parochial institutions). But because charters are publicly funded, families don’t have to pay tuition. How could Catholic schools possibly compete with that?
Within the past few years, however, the borrowing has begun to go in the other direction, as Catholic schools poach staff from charter networks, draw from the same donors, and model their operations on charter successes. America’s usual miracle-workers—competition, civil society, entrepreneurial wealth and philanthropy—have come to the rescue of religious education.
For an inside look at an independent network of Catholic schools that is learning from charter schools, please read “Faith, Hope and Hard Work: Reflections on Year One of Partnership Schools,” and “Why Catholic School Reform Isn’t Like Other School Reforms,” both by Kathleen Porter-Magee, the superintendent at the Partnership Schools in New York City