School Choice & Charters

Catholic Schools Eyed for Charters

By Erik W. Robelen — March 02, 2009 1 min read

A handful of Roman Catholic schools in New York City would face the same fate as a recent batch in the District of Columbia—conversion to public charter schools—under a plan unveiled by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

But beyond the potential for legal challenges on church-state grounds, the effort unveiled last month faces a more immediate barrier: A provision of state law, enacted in 1998, explicitly prohibits converting existing private schools into charters.

“This will require a legislative change,” said Melody L. Meyer, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education. “That’s the first step.”

The mayor, she said, was still waiting to hear from leading lawmakers about the likelihood of such a revision, and the timing.

In the District of Columbia, seven former Catholic schools reopened this past fall as charter schools, all operated by a nonprofit organization called Center City Public Charter Schools. (“Former D.C. Catholic Schools Start New Life as Charters,” Sept. 10, 2008.)

“Many Catholic schools are finding it hard to stay open because of tighter budgets and falling enrollment, even as they remain attractive to so many families because of their focus on high academic standards and high student achievement,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a Feb. 7 statement unveiling the charter-conversion plan. The effort, he added, would avoid strains to crowded public schools.

Father Kieran E. Harrington, a spokesman for the Brooklyn diocese, said enrollment in diocesan schools has plummeted over the past decade to 37,000 from 55,000. Six of 116 schools are slated to close in June, he said, and four of those may be converted to charters as soon as this fall.

“It’s important to recognize that these charters would not be Catholic schools,” he said.

Each school would be independently operated with its own board of directors, Father Harrington said. The schools would be free of religious symbols and would provide no religious instruction, he said, though the mayor has indicated that the diocese, which owns the buildings, could use the facilities outside school hours.

A version of this article appeared in the March 04, 2009 edition of Education Week

Events

School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
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
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education

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 Opinion Is Hybrid Home Schooling the Future of Education?
Rick Hess speaks with Mike McShane about hybrid home schooling, which combines the best of home schooling and traditional schooling.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
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