Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Saving Catholic Schools

by RiShawn Biddle

The poor black and Latino children attending Sacred Heart School in the Columbia Heights section of Washington, D.C., probably don't know that Century Foundation Senior Fellow Richard Kahlenberg thinks their participation in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship and other voucher plans merely helps to make "'separate-but-equal' work." Chances are, they don't even know about the contention among progressives and even otherwise school choice-supporting centrist Democrats that public funding of parochial schools is somehow a plot among conservatives to cut government spending and violates the Constitution's ban against the intermingling of church and state.

Nor should they or their parents care one way or another. Although the District's traditional public school system is undergoing a much-needed overhaul led by Blackberry-touting reform maven Michelle Rhee, just 49 percent of its high school freshmen graduate four years later; a mere 12 percent of its 8th-graders in 2007 had reading skills rated "proficient" or higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal test of academic performance.

These families shouldn't have to wait until Rhee turns around the district's performance in order to avail their children of opportunities for high-quality academic instruction. Their interest in improving the quality of education for their children should outweigh concerns about the racial and ethnic segregation that they choose. And their hard-earned tax dollars shouldn't remain captured by a district that isn't delivering the goods.

Centrist and progressive Democrat school reformers are certainly familiar with these arguments. After all, they have successfully used them in beating back efforts by teachers unions, traditional school districts and some civil rights activists (usually the kind that spend more time on manicured Ivy League campuses than in gritty urban locales) to stamp out and restrict the existence of public charter schools, the publicly-funded-privately-operated entities that have become their favored form of school choice. And they should keep it in mind whenever vouchers (and similar tax credit programs) come up for discussion. If nonprofit- and for-profit operators can be trusted with public funding through charters, then school vouchers used for Catholic and private schools shouldn't be a problem... Read the whole article.


About Me

My photo
Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.