News & Policies >
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 24, 2008
Fact Sheet: Providing Greater Opportunities for Our Children by Ensuring Access to Faith-Based Schools
White House Summit Explores Ways To Help Faith-Based And Other Public School Alternatives Serve Our Nation's Urban Students
Today, President Bush hosted a White House Summit on Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools in Washington, D.C. The event brought together educators, policymakers, and community leaders to develop local strategies to keep the doors of inner-city faith-based schools open to America's disadvantaged students. For many inner-city children across our Nation, America's faith-based schools provide an option for a better future. As we continue working to improve urban public schools through the No Child Left Behind Act, we must also work to preserve important educational alternatives for underserved students attending chronically underperforming public schools.
The Administration Is Providing More Choices For Parents Of Children Trapped In Underperforming Schools
Private schools serving America's poorest children deliver a valuable public service. Federal funds support religious institutions of higher learning and can help inner-city families find greater choices for educating their children.
Across The Country, Citizens Are Committed To Preserving America's Faith-Based Schools
Today's Summit is addressing how State and local governments, business communities, philanthropists, higher education institutions, and others can contribute to America's faith-based schools.
Nearly 10 years ago, private donors gave approximately $15 million to the Diocese of Memphis to help revive Catholic schools in the city's poorest neighborhoods. With this money, the Diocese launched the Jubilee Schools initiative and re-opened Catholic schools that had been shuttered for decades. Today, 10 Jubilee schools serve more than 1,400 children. Eighty-one percent of these children are non-Catholic, and nearly 96 percent live at or below poverty level. With this strong academic program, students' scores on a number of standardized tests have gone up.
Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) prepares talented college graduates to work as teachers in under-served Catholic schools. These graduates commit to teach for 2 years as they earn their masters degrees in education, yet many remain in Catholic schools long after the program ends. Today, about 650 ACE teachers and graduates are at work in Catholic schools across the United States, including in New Orleans.
In Chicago, a group of Jesuit priests established the Cristo Rey school where students work part-time for local businesses to finance their Catholic school education. For four days a week, students go to class, and on the fifth day, they report for work at some of Chicago's most prestigious firms and provide businesses with energetic, reliable workers for high-turnover jobs. In return, the students get a top-notch education and real-world work experience. Today, there are 19 Cristo Rey schools across the Nation.
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