Different charters, directions, takes


Paul Moses’s report on Catholic schools and public charter schools (“The Public Option,” December 4, 2009) evokes concern about how we as a church pass on our faith to our children.

Catholic schools were the favored strategy when U.S. church fathers gathered for the Councils of Baltimore in the 1800s. The impact of that choice earned the American church distinction for the religious literacy of its laity. The “miraculous” success of the Catholic school system advanced the causes of at least two American saints.

When charter schools are housed in church-owned buildings, built with the donations of faithful parishioners, staffed with former Catholic-school teachers and administrators, and are small and safe, with good academic standards and even plaid uniforms, they seem indistinguishable from the parish schools they replace.

But charter schools are public schools. By definition and by law they are prohibited from promoting religion. They are a distraction, albeit an interesting distraction, from the question of the evangelization of youth. While they may provide financial reprieve for challenged parishes, they have no role in faith-based education...

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