In the latest installment of his distinctively informative and provocative school reform email updates, Whitney Tilson calls attention to the recent NY Times article outlining some of the steps that Archbishop Dolan has begun to take to act on his charge – discussed in yesterday’s post “Hitting the Nail on the Head” to “dare and dream” a new generation of Catholic schools.

For those of you unfamiliar with Whitney Tilson, here’s a brief wiki-style bio. In addition to his great work in the financial sector, Whitney is an absolutely tireless advocate for K-12 education reform.  He serves on the leadership team of KIPP, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), and a number of other reform oriented ventures. In his spare time, he somehow manages to run a school reform blog and author a regular school reform email series.  I encourage you to join the list to receive these emails; its a great way to stay in the loop on the happenings in K-12 ed reform.  To do so, simply email Whitney at WTilson@tilsonfunds.com.

The NYT article discusses Archbishop Dolan’s plan to revitalize Catholic education within the Archdiocese by restructuring the Church/school relationship: that is, to institute a form of cost-sharing, whereby the costs of educating all of the Archdiocese’s children are shared by all of the Archdiocese’s members, rather than being the responsibility of each local parish.  The details of the Archbishop’s plan, titled “Pathways to Excellence” will be released soon.

In yesterday’s email update, Whitney Tilson discusses the article, pointing out the utter tragedy of Catholic school closure, as well as the absurdity of not supporting low-income families who are prohibited from sending their children to these institutions because of financial concerns:

Too bad the article doesn’t deal with the much bigger issue: the utter INSANITY, from a societal perspective, of allowing inner-city Catholic schools – which are often oases of safety, discipline and rigor – to close, while throwing massively more money at catastrophically failing public schools nearby.  Why not give parents a choice: we’ll spend $16-17,000 on your child at a public school (the average in NYC), but if you don’t think it’s right for your child, we’ll give you a voucher (perhaps funded by a tax credit) for only HALF the amount that you can use to pay for a private school?  This would empower parents, be another source of pressure on failing public schools to improve, likely result in better outcomes for students (including those “left behind”), AND save taxpayers money!

There will surely be more to come as “Pathways to Excellence” is released.  Stay tuned.

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