Boston’s charter schools won’t be able to rent unused Catholic schools, writes Steve Bailey, a Boston Globe columnist. The church doesn’t want the competition.
Wal-Mart would never help Target locate a store in the same neighborhood. Now the Archdiocese of Boston, in theearly stages of an ambitious effort to rebuild Catholic education, has decided to stop being quite so accommodating to its competition, charter schools.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley “has recruited a corps of top business leaders to raise big money to expand the Catholic schools, which have seen enrollment in Eastern Massachusetts plummet to about 50,000 students from 153,000 in 1965.”
In a policy shift, the archdiocese has decided to stop writing new leases or selling its vacant facilities to Massachusetts charter schools.
Charters are free while tuition at Catholic schools runs from $2,500 to $4,000 a year, Bailey writes.
High-scoring Boston Collegiate Charter School, which has 1,300 students on a waiting list, had hoped to buy a vacant Catholic school in its neighborhood. The archdiocese won’t sell.
(Boston Collegiate), founded in 1998 in South Boston, has about 400 students in grades five through 12. Last month, 573 kids were in a lottery for 66 spots, an admissions rate that approaches some of the nation’s elite colleges.
What the school needs most is room to grow. “Our dream is to build a gymnasium,” (executive director Kathleen) Sullivan says. Students now shoot at a single basket on a cramped strip of asphalt out back; they perform Shakespeare in the school’s entrance foyer.
The former Catholic school building will remain empty while the charter school turns away eager students.
Via Education Gadfly.