School Choice & Charters

Bush Urges Steps to Aid Urban Private Schools

April 24, 2008 2 min read

Includes updates and/or revisions.

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
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
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
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn

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 Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty