School Choice & Charters

Bush Urges Steps to Aid Urban Private Schools

April 24, 2008 2 min read

Describing the dwindling number of faith-based schools in U.S. cities as a “crisis,” President Bush today called for efforts from government at all levels, as well as corporations and private citizens, to help change the situation.

“American inner-city, faith-based schools are closing at an alarming rate,” the president said at a one-day White House conference on the topic, “and that’s why we’ve convened this summit.”

He noted that between 2000 and 2006, nearly 1,200 such schools in American cities have shut down. “We have an interest in the health of these centers of excellence,” he said. “This is a critical national asset.“

The daylong White House Summit on Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools brought together a variety of academics, leaders from private schools, and advocates for religious schools.

In his State of the Union address in January, Mr. Bush noted the decline of such schools in urban areas, and first announced his intention to convene the conference.

The event followed Pope Benedict XVI’s April 15-20 visit to the United States. As part of that trip, the Roman Catholic pontiff addressed education leaders at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, where he urged steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of U.S. parochial schools.

Examples Highlighted

At the April 24 conference, Mr. Bush promoted his recent “Pell Grants for Kids” proposal, which he unveiled in his State of the Union address. The plan would provide $300 million to award grants on a competitive basis to states, school districts, cities, and nonprofit organizations to create scholarship programs for low-income students in schools that have missed their achievement targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and in high schools in which graduation rates are lower than 60 percent.

President Bush also trumpeted the voucher program for the District of Columbia, which has provided federally funded tuition vouchers for private schooling to students from low-income families since 2004. The president said he would work with Congress not only to reauthorize the voucher program, “but hopefully expand it.”

Meanwhile, he urged states to remove so-called Blaine Amendments, which are clauses in state constitutions that restrict public funds from flowing to religious schools. And he highlighted other examples he finds encouraging, such as Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, which provides state tax credits to businesses that donate to organizations that provide scholarships or work for “educational improvement.”

Mr. Bush also highlighted recent efforts in Memphis, Tenn., with $15 million of seed money from private donors, to help launch the Jubilee Schools initiative to reopen closed Roman Catholic parochial schools. He said that more than 80 percent of the students in the 10 Jubilee Schools are non-Catholic.

He said further efforts are needed “at the federal level, the state and local level, the corporate level, and the citizen level.”

He urged the need for “innovative ways to advance education for all.” Noting that children displaced by closures of inner-city religious schools need to find new schools, Mr. Bush said such closures impose “an added burden on inner-city public schools that are struggling.”

A version of this article appeared in the April 30, 2008 edition of Education Week as Bush Urges Steps to Aid Urban Private Schools

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Oklahoma Charter Schools Granted Local Tax Revenue in 'Seismic' Settlement
A groundbreaking settlement will fundamentally change the way charter schools are funded in Oklahoma, despite vehement opposition.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
This July 19, 2019 photo shows an Epic Charter Schools office in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted Thursday in favor of an agreement with the state's public charter school association to settle a 2017 lawsuit.
This July 19, 2019 photo shows an Epic Charter Schools office in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted Thursday in favor of an agreement with the state's public charter school association to settle a 2017 lawsuit.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
School Choice & Charters COVID-19 May Energize Push for School Choice in States. Where That Leads Is Unclear
The pandemic is driving legislators' interest in mechanisms like education savings accounts, but the growth may not be straightforward.
8 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature on Jan. 12 at the statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State address to state lawmakers on Jan. 12. She's pushing a major school choice expansion.
Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP
School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor Are NOLA Charters a Mixed Bag?
To the Editor:
The opinion essay by Douglas N. Harris about how New Orleans’ education reforms post-Katrina are relevant to the COVID-19 era (“As Schools Recover After COVID-19, Look to New Orleans,” Sept. 30, 2020) highlights some basic improvements in the NOLA system but downplays the most significant aspects of those changes: the impact on people of color.
1 min read
School Choice & Charters Home Schooling Is Way Up With COVID-19. Will It Last?
The shift could have lasting effects on both public schools and the home-schooling movement.
BRIC ARCHIVE
RyanJLane/E+