Archbishop Robert Carlson announced a plan this week to improve education at the 147 schools in the Catholic archdiocese. He and his administrators will work to fill 1,800 empty seats in the region's Catholic schools, stressing cooperation among parishes and creative ways to make tuition more affordable to more families. He did not announce school closings or consolidations.
I like the archbishop's plan and I support it. His initiative explicitly addresses the concerns of poor families in the urban core and the challenges of middle class families struggling with multiple tuitions throughout the region. It mentions scholarships, tuition assistance, and tax credits against tuition payments. These are the sorts of elements that will help City families gain access to more good schools. And I believe it will keep families in the City, rather than making them live in a second choice neighborhood to attend a first choice school.
One word about tax credits. With the use of such credits should come a lot of transparency. A school using tax credits should be required disclose its academic performance publicly and regularly.