Monday, February 4, 2013
I have a piece in Public Discourse today, reflecting on the just-concluded "National School Choice Week." Check it out (please). A bit:
National School Choice Week is not an exercise in reaction or nostalgia. The point is not to treat struggling Catholic schools like rickety historic landmarks or heritage sites, or to attach a “Justice Sonia Sotomayor Studied Here” plaque to the wall at Blessed Sacrament. The school-choice movement, and last week’s celebrations, are not about sentimentality; they are, as John Coons once put it, about “simple justice.” School choice—and, more specifically, public support for the education of the public that is provided by parochial and other religious schools—is required in justice.
Last week’s events should not cause us to sigh and look back wistfully. Instead, they should wake us up, and fire us up. Kids in the situation that Justice Sotomayor faced and neighborhoods like the one in which she grew up don’t have to lose out, and schools like Blessed Sacrament don’t have to close. The school-closing epidemic is not caused by a decline in demand for Catholic education but by our foolish and unfair unwillingness to support financially the good work of Catholic schools and students’ choices to attend them.