This government continues policies of feeding the blob and starving lean and effective faith-based schools.
Yesterday’s NY Times reported that the Senate approved a $26 billion dollar bill to close the gap for state budgets and prevent teacher layoffs. $10 billion of federal tax dollars will be used to prevent teacher lay-offs for public school districts. This is on top of the $100 billion bailout for the nation’s public schools in last year’s stimulus bill, the $4 billion dollar Race to the Top program, $650 Million in i3 grants (Investing in Innovation). With the exception of a minuscule portion of the first bail-out, none of this money was made available to Catholic and faith-based schools.
174 Catholic schools closed during the 2009-2010 school year, causing thousands of teachers and staff to lose jobs and tens of thousands of students to be displaced and lose access to quality Catholic schools.
Despite an initial half-hearted attempt by the Obama Administration to continue the focus that the Bush Administration placed on preserving urban faith-based schools (the DOE convened faith-based school leaders a few times and basically said, “why don’t you guys get your stuff together and save your schools?”) it is fair to say that the Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership have completely neglected to offer any meaningful support to faith-based schools.
Though some of these programs, especially Race to the Top and i3 grants, have supported interesting public school reforms and challenged teachers union’s stranglehold on public education, this administration’s education policy is ultimately dramatically expanding charters and other public school options while quickening the extinction of faith-based schools in America.