School’s out for the summer, but the news marches on concerning what’s euphemistically referred to as education reform.
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting story last week about school voucher programs helping reverse enrollment declines at Catholic schools. Reporters Stephanie Banchero and Jennifer Levitz focus, naturally, on Indiana.
In particular, the story centers on St. Stanislaus, the only Catholic school left in East Chicago, Ind., whose enrollment grew by 38 percent last year due to vouchers. “God has been good to us,” says principal Kathleen Lowry, neglecting, apparently, to give thanks to Gov. Mitch Daniels, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, who sprung the voucher program on an unsuspecting public in the 2011 legislative session.
“The most impressive gains for Catholic education have happened in Indiana, where the nation’s largest voucher system rolled out last year,” the WSJ says. “More than 2,400 children used state-issued vouchers to transfer from public to Catholic schools. Another 1,500 used vouchers to move to other religious or private schools.”
One rationale for vouchers is that they offset the damage to Catholic education done by the expansion of charter schools. Some parents send their kids to Catholic schools not for religion, but for an alternative to the local public schools. If that’s all you want, why not opt for a charter school, where taxpayers pay the freight.
A recent analysis by the consulting firm Praxis Insights found that charter schools were a “significant and growing factor” behind the decline in Catholic school enrollment in New York. Continue reading