In Chicago, the Christian Brothers, one of the Catholic Church’s oldest orders, has launched and now runs two public schools. How did this come about? Arne Duncan, then the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, asked them to.

The Christian Brothers educate nearly a million students in more than 80 countries. About 20,000 of those students are in the U.S. In the mid-90s, the Christian Brothers began opening a new set of free Catholic schools in low-income neighborhoods. Two of these San Miguel schools were in Chicago. The success of these schools caught the attention of Arne Duncan, who asked the Christian Brothers to start a charter school, and the rest is history.

A transcript of this podcast is available here.

To read the full story of the schools, please see “Catholic Ethos, Public Education,” by Peter Meyer, which appears in the Spring 2011 issue of Education Next.

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Last updated July 19, 2011