Archive for November, 2009

Giving Thanks from Here, There, Everywhere

In these next few days, we will all stop and give thanks for the many gifts and blessings in our lives. Today, CSF was reminded of the wonderful gift of education that our students are so thankful for. Please take a moment to read these thank you notes from two very special students in Denver receiving scholarships from one of our partner programs, Alliance for Choice in Education.

(These were written at ACE’s Family Night at the Museum – check out their blog post here.)

Happy Thanksgiving

On behalf of the CSF family, we wish you a happy thanksgiving!

From student in Los Angeles.

WSJ Gets It Right

by Darla Romfo, CSF President

If you didn’t see the editorial in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal criticizing the Ford Foundation’s $100 million gift to teachers unions, I encourage you to take a look. I’ve heard from quite a few people (both colleagues and CSF donors) who had the same reaction I did to hearing that yet another vast sum of money will be wasted on failing systems that are already swimming in money. One donor emailed me to ask if I could imagine what CSF could do with that $100 million. Yes I can.

This year CSF is giving away $43 million together with our partners to help the parents of almost 29,000 low-income children choose a private school education. There are so many new experiments in education today – everything from longer school days and new ways of recruiting and training teachers to better technology and high-stakes testing. But if the parents don’t have skin in the game and are not at least somewhat involved in their child’s education, can we really expect these improvements alone to change educational outcomes on a sustainable and widescale basis? Ultimately, schools (and government and foundations) cannot take over the role of parents, nor should we want them to. I am convinced that unless you place power in the hands of parents rather than government and unions, you will never have systemic change.

But the amount of money and the number of scholarships CSF gives away each year tells only part of the story. No doubt, receiving a CSF scholarship is a life changing event for the 29,000 children and their families. But there is more. In New York City, we are helping 9,300 children in 241 schools. In many of these schools, more than half of the children are receiving scholarships from CSF. This means that without our help, the school would most likely close. That would be a disaster for every child in the building.

Regardless of one’s beliefs about faith as part of an education environment, the inner-city and largely faith-based schools that our CSF children attend have played an invaluable role in America’s cities for generations. Decades of research tells us that no other subset of schools—charter, private, or public—has demonstrated such long-term, proven effectiveness for children most vulnerable to unsatisfactory schooling. Graduates of faith-based private schools are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to attend and graduate from college, are more tolerant of diverse views, are more likely to vote, are more likely to be civically engaged, and even earn higher wages. And yet these schools are typically educating students at less than half of the cost of neighboring public and charter schools.

Given all these benefits, it is remarkable they get so little attention. Their value and what they do rarely gets talked about and certainly isn’t the sexy new project of the day. But they are part of our national heritage and represent much of what is the best in all of us and for all of us—self-sacrifice for starters.

The Rock Band Experience


Last night, CSF had the pleasure of joining O.A.R. at the Hard Rock Cafe for the kickoff concert for the 2009 global Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign to benefit WHY, a nonprofit that fights hunger and poverty in America and around the world. O.A.R. has been a longtime CSF supporter (see previous O.A.R. activities) and this time invited a group of students from Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary’s choir to sing along with them on stage.

The choir got the full rock band experience! They began their afternoon with rehearsals and sound check at 2:30 pm.  After some work, they got to enjoy the fun stuff—complete access to the backstage area and VIP goodies like food, TV, a comfy lounge, and best of all, chatting with the members of O.A.R. about everything from their favorite movies and tv shows to their plans for 8th grade graduation.

MCHR Choir

At 8:30 pm, O.A.R. began their set and invited the choir to sing “Let It Be” by The Beatles and O.A.R.’s song “Heard the World.” It was a great performance and an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss the action—watch the videos now!

Thank you O.A.R. for your continued support to CSF and your dedication to philanthropy. You are an inspiration to us all.

Joel Klein on education and poverty

Interesting article from the Denver Times about Joel Klein’s speech to Democrats for Education Reform in Denver.

“..[M]any people in my city say to me, you know Chancellor, we’ll never fix education in America until we fix poverty in America,” he said. “But let me tell you, that’s exactly backwards. We’re never going to fix poverty in America until we fix education.


The Cartel – a School Choice Documentary

This eye-opening documentary by Bob Bowdon takes a critical look at education spending in New Jersey and suggests that a lack of funding is not the biggest obstacle to improving test scores and graduation rates.

Watch the trailer, and go to to learn more and find out about screenings.