All Philadelphia public schools will have a partnership with a church, synagogue, mosque or other faith-based group, if district leader Paul Vallas has his way. He wants religious groups to help with after-school programs, tutoring and school safety.
The closely watched initiative, called Philadelphia Public Schools: A Community of Faith Partnership, is being promoted by a task force of ministers, rabbis, priests, imams, and other religious and community leaders. Lawyers for the 190,000-student district also sit on the task force to ensure that no constitutional lines between government and religion are blurred.
. . . “There are tremendous social and economic problems in our schools, and we need all the support we can get,” (Vallas) said. “If it takes a village to raise a child, and you’re not accessing what is many times the strongest institution in that village, you are not accomplishing much.”
. . . The district’s Safe Corridors program taps ministers, rabbis, parents, and other community members to help students walk to school and home using designated routes.
The ACLU is keeping an eye on the program, but doesn’t opposed it.