"The Charter Explosion" Webpage

The News21 Fellows at Columbia have dedicated a portion of their website called “The Charter Explosion” to the growing charter school movement. Recently a special focus was placed on the conversion of Catholic schools to charter schools in Washington, D.C. More and more dioceses like Brooklyn, San Antonio, San Diego, and Chicago are looking to the D.C. model as a possible course of action to keep closing Catholic schools open. Debates have begun about the possibility of a Catholic charter schools. Is it possible to Catholic charter schools that receive public funding but delay religious education until after school hours? This is a question I hope to engage here in the future.

The Charter Explosion is a great resource and an excellent example of digital journalism. Some of the Catholic school-related resources include:

Catholic School History Timeline – excellent summary and pictures, although the pinnacle moment focuses on the Catholic school transition in Washington, D.C.

City-by-City Breakdown – many of the cities will have to deal with the Catholic to charter question in the nearby future if they haven’t done so already.

Interesting articles about Catholic Schools and Charter Schools:

Catholic Schools Go Charter to Survive” (Main article) – “Conversions are an attractive exit plan for struggling parochial schools.” (excellent summary of the issue)

Keeping the Faith” – “One urban parochial school struggles to keep Catholic”

Losing their Religion” – “One financially troubled Catholic school sheds its religious curriculum in order to stay open.

Competing with Jesus” – “experts say it’s Catholic schools that are in real competitions with charter schools.”

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Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher. He is the Digital Marketing Manager at Ave Maria Press and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator and To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach.

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