by Michael Q. McShane, Andrew P. Kelly
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
May 05, 2014
For decades, Catholic schools, particularly inner-city Catholic schools, have seen declines in enrollment and an increasing need for subsidies from their dioceses. Many dioceses, however, have been unable to shoulder that burden, forcing schools to close. In response to difficult financial circumstances, the archdioceses of Indianapolis, Miami, and Washington, D.C., put a new twist on the typical story, “closing” a set of their inner-city schools, but allowing them to reopen as independently managed public charter schools. Evidence in the academic literature, confirmed by experiences of school leaders, makes a strong case that private school choice programs can stem the tide of private school closures. But, as more communities consider school choice as a policy to give more options to low-income families, it is important to emphasize that how those programs are structured affects the schools that will be able to participate—and ultimately the set of choices available to families.