The U.S. Department of Education has released a report entitled “Preserving a Critical National Asset: America’s Disadvantaged Students and the Crisis in Faith-based Urban Schools.” Since 1999 nearly 1,200 faith-based urban schools have closed, displacing nearly 425,000 children.
The report states: “[T]he disappearance of these schools is having a tragic impact on many of our most disadvantaged families. For many urban parents, the moral grounding, community ethic, safe and structured environment, and academic rigor of faith-based schools are invaluable to their children. These qualities are especially prized because of the unfortunate alternatives many of these children and families face”¦.
“Experience indicates that the contributions of these schools extend far beyond the classroom. A strong education institution can stabilize a community. It can attract new families and jobs. It can provide safety and hope in areas where both are in short supply.”
But when individual parents and their lower-income communities cannot afford to support the private schools that do these things, and outside sources do not help them, these institutions sometimes have no choice but to close. Therefore, the Department of Education calls for a “sustained collaborative effort by educators, elected officials, philanthropists, neighborhood leaders, and many others.”
The challenges facing low-income children and families are myriad, and children should be able to attend these schools that are playing “an invaluable role in America’s cities.” Shouldn’t Oregon give all parents real choices in their children’s education? Visit the website of the Oregon Education Tax Credit Coalition to see how you can help bring more educational options to all of Oregon’s children.
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director, Development Coordinator, and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.