Notre Dame's Frs. Hesburgh, Jenkins, and Scully urge Democrats not to kill school choice
Prof. Rick Garnett reports at Mirror of Justice:
Dear Senator Durbin and Secretary Duncan,
... We write today because we are all deeply disappointed by the turn of events that has led to the imminent demise of the Washington DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), and we are gravely concerned about the effects that the unprecedented gestures that have jeopardized this program will have on some of the most at-risk children in our nation’s capital.
Three decades of research tell us that Catholic schools are often the best providers of educational opportunity to poor and minority children. Students who attend Catholic schools are 42 percent more likely to graduate from high school and are two and a half times more likely to graduate from college than their peers in public schools. Recent scholarship on high school graduation rates in Milwaukee confirms that programs like the OSP can, over time, create remarkable opportunities for at-risk children. And after only three years, the research commissioned by the Department of Education is clear and strong with regard to the success of the OSP, as you both well know. This program empowers parents to become more involved in their children’s education. Parents of OSP students argue that their children are doing better in school, and they report that these scholarships have given their families an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. If this program ends, these parents will be forced to send their children back to a school system that is ranked among the worst in the nation, into schools they fought desperately to leave just a few years ago.
At Notre Dame, we have recently witnessed the painful but logical outcomes of your failure to save the OSP. For the past three years, the University of Notre Dame has worked in close partnership with Holy Redeemer School, a preK-8 Catholic school community located just a few blocks from Senator Durbin’s office on the Hill. In fact, Senator Durbin visited the school and expressed his deeply favorable impression. We too have witnessed the transformative capacity of Holy Redeemer, a place where parents report feeling a sincere sense of ownership in their children’s education for the first time in their lives. Indeed, over the past three years strong leadership, excellent academics, low teacher turnover, and committed parents have all contributed to truly outstanding gains in student achievement. The children at Holy Redeemer were, unlike so many of their peers, on the path to college.
So we were deeply saddened to learn that the impending termination of the OSP has put the school in an untenable situation, leading the pastor to conclude that the school must be closed. Families are presently being notified that their children will have to find a new school next year. The end of the OSP represents more than the demise of a relatively small federal program; it spells the end of more than a half-century of quality Catholic education for some of the most at-risk African American children in the District. That this program is being allowed to end is both unnecessary and unjust...
[Read the whole thing]
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
"A Deep Resonance With Catholic Social Teaching"?
Yet Another "Non-Negotiable" Item ...
Obama Continues to Act Like a Typical Left-Liberal Democrat Politician Re: Education