Catholic schools may convert

Eight Catholic schools in Washington, D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods may be turned into secular charter schools. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl says the archdiocese can’t afford to run the schools any longer. Instead of draining funds from parish coffers, the tax-funded charters would pay rent on their buildings. And 1,400 low-income children would continue to get an education.

Education Gadfly regrets the need to secularize.

The not-exactly-Catholic charter schools, for example, would “still have strong values, but the schools’ names would change and specific religious references would be stripped from the curriculum,” according to the Washington Post. This might help the schools avoid unwanted entanglements with the First Amendment. Maybe it would be better still if they could remain religious — and still go charter — so long as their students pass tests of reading, math, history, and science — and so long, of course, as parents are free to choose or not choose them.

I suspect most of these schools’ students are not Catholic. The parents want a safe, orderly, academically competent school and don’t mind the praying.

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