Saturday, April 26, 2008

How to save children from inner-city schools

If loving the poor means you want them to escape the cycle of poverty, and a good solid Catholic education means that poor children will be able to do so, why aren't liberals in support of school vouchers:
answer: because they are double-talking hypocrites who pander to the poor while offering programs which merely perpetuate the cycle of poverty. IF they wanted to end poverty in this nation, THIS is the solution. I taught in some of the most benighted schools on Long Island, and if those children could be taught by conservative nuns like the Dominicans of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, or the Sisters of Charity of Mary, Mother of the Church, they would learn character traits and knowlege which would save them from their terrible neighborhoods.

Kudos to President Bush for supporting this, I'm afraid, like Ronald Reagan, he will not be appreciate until he's out of office. He is a true friend of the poor.

Bush urges vouchers for Catholic schools
By LEDYARD KING • Gannett News Service • April 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — President Bush sees two major problems with inner-city education: Children trapped in low-performing public schools can't afford to go anywhere else, and religious schools are closing because they lack students.

Bush wants to address both problems by offering low-income parents federal aid to send their children to religious and other private schools he says provide academic hope.

At a White House Summit on Thursday called Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools, he renewed his call for spending $300 million on "Pell Grants for Kids," a voucher program fashioned after the popular federal Pell subsidies available to college students.

"In neighborhoods where some people say children simply can't learn, the faith-based schools are proving the naysayers wrong," Bush told a friendly audience of religious leaders and school choice advocates. "One way to make sure you don't lose schools is you have people that are able to afford the education sustain the cash flow of these valuable American assets."

Bush proposed vouchers when Republicans controlled Congress, but the idea went nowhere. With Democrats now in charge, prospects are dimmer.

But the summit, combined with the recent U.S. visit by Pope Benedict XVI, is drawing new attention to the plight of Catholic schools. Enrollment nationwide has declined for decades, largely because rising tuition has made the schools less affordable.

Large cities in the Midwest and Northeast have seen the steepest drops, with enrollment at Catholic schools in places such as Detroit, Newark and Rochester, N.Y., falling more than 30 percent over the past decade, according to the National Catholic Educational Association.

In New Jersey, the resulting school closings have come quickly over the last couple of years.

The bishop of Trenton merged four elementary schools in 2006 and created a new regional school in Willingboro.

In 2007, the Camden Diocese closed schools in Woodbury and West Deptford and consolidated them with a school in Deptford.

And this past winter, the diocese announced that it was losing nine elementary schools -- closing one and merging eight into institutions at other parishes. The consolidations affect long-established schools in Bellmawr, Blackwood, Cherry Hill, Glassboro, Lindenwold and Westmont.

Conversely, enrollment has risen in the South and West of the country, with dioceses in Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Phoenix among the leading gainers.

Association President Karen Ristau, who attended the summit, applauded the proposal.

"Every parent should have a choice as to where they want to send their children," she said.

Vouchers provoke strong reactions.

Teachers' unions and many civil rights groups oppose them, saying taxpayers' money should be used to improve already underfunded public schools. Choice advocates and some parent groups say vouchers give poor children the same economic footing as middle-class families in choosing a better school.

Cities such as Milwaukee, Wis., Cleveland and Washington, D.C., have used vouchers, but researchers don't agree on the success of those programs, and they continue to be the subject of fierce argument.

Reach Ledyard King at

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