Archive for January, 2013

CSF President on Bringing Greater Parental Choice to New York

Note: This blog post originally appeared on Invest in Education’s blog.

by CSF President Darla Romfo

Catholic Schools Week and National School Choice Week are both being celebrated this week.  Sadly, at the 24 New York-area Catholic schools slated to close at the end of this school year, the mood is unlikely to be festive. Almost 5,000 children will have to find to a new school this September.

Catholic schools, along with other independent and faith-based private schools, have long been part of a rich tapestry of education in America, providing generations with an excellent foundation on which to build their lives and move up the ladder of success.

The list of luminaries who attended New York City Catholic schools includes Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor; public officials such as Fernando Ferrer, city Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo; entertainers such as Martin Scorsese, Regis Philbin, and Jennifer Lopez; and many more New Yorkers in every field. In a recent New York Times article, Justice Sotomayor referred to Catholic school as “a road of opportunity for kids with no other alternative.”

These two dozen Catholic schools are not closing because they are bad schools. In fact, most of them outperform their respective school districts in reading and mathematics scores.  Catholic schools also boast significantly higher graduation rates than city public schools.

These 24 schools also are not closing because of a lack of demand from parents. The Children’s Scholarship Fund, which funds and manages almost 8,000 privately-funded scholarships in New York City, gets queries every day from parents who would like to send their children to Catholic or other private schools.

All parents regardless of their income are the first educators of their children and should be able to choose the school they believe best fits their child’s needs. Many parents who want to choose Catholic schools simply cannot afford to pay full tuition, and there is not enough private funding to assist parents to send their children to the right school for their child.

Ironically, Catholic schools spend less per student than city public schools and reduce the burden on taxpayers. The New York Post recently calculated that Catholic schools save New York City $2 billion a year (what it would cost to educate Catholic school students in city public schools). So what’s good for the families being served also benefits the community at large.

The education investment tax credit bill currently under consideration in Albany could present a solution. By offering a tax credit to companies and individuals making donations to organizations providing scholarships to private schools, the bill would allow more parents to choose a private school education and, in turn, provide a lifeline to Catholic and other private schools that struggle to remain beacons of opportunity and stabilizing forces in their neighborhoods.

This same legislation also would allow private individuals and companies to fund public school programs that have suffered under budget cuts in recent years.

Passing this bill in Albany would mean a “win-win” for New York schoolchildren and their parents, and benefit all New Yorkers.

That would be a true reason for celebration.

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CSF: A Voice for Choice During National School Choice Week

schoolchoicewidgetThe third annual National School Choice Week begins today with a Kickoff Celebration in Phoenix featuring none other than the Jonas Brothers. Almost simultaneously, the National School Choice Week Special, a historic railcar, will set off from Union Station in Los Angeles, waving the flag for school choice and pulling in for whistle stop events in twelve cities before a final event in New York City next Saturday.

All told, it will be an action-packed week with more than 3,500 events hosted by education groups, schools, and others celebrating parental choice in education all across the country.

Children’s Scholarship Fund and many of our partner programs are proud to be partners of National School Choice Week. Here are some of the events CSF and CSF partners are planning for the week ahead:

Make plans to attend a School Choice Week event near you, and watch www.schoolchoiceweek.com throughout the week for news shining a spotlight on effective education options for every child!

Help CSF Philadelphia Win $250,000 in the Philly DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards

CSF’s partner, Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia (CSFP), is competing in the first ever Philly DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards contest and the polls are now open. Up to $250,000 in resources are at stake, and your vote will help CSFP win!

To enter the contest, CSFP teamed up with filmmaker Karin Kelly and her team to create a short film over a period of 10 days. The film tells CSFP’s story and underscores the educational opportunity CSFP provides to children from low-income families. This year, nearly 3,500 Philly children are using CSFP scholarships to get a  quality, tuition-based, K-8th grade education.

phillydogoodervideo

You can view the video and place your vote by visiting: http://www.phillyinfocus.com/dogooder-awards/#!/entry/999751. Don’t forget, you can vote once every day until voting closes on January 31st. Please vote now and encourage your friends and family to vote also.