The “Good Combination” of Religiously Grounded Schools

As one constitutionally disposed (so to speak) to resist the temptations of Donald Trump, I have to say that it’s great to hear sentiments like this from the President of the United States:

President Donald Trump visited a Florida Catholic school on Friday, praising the Catholic education system and touting his support for school choice programs.

“You understand how much your students benefit from full education, one that enriches both the mind and the soul. That’s a good combination,” the president told Bishop John Noonan of Orlando at St. Andrew Catholic School March 3.

Among the most compelling testimonies for school choice that I heard in Rhode Island came from a native American woman who told legislators about rebounding from childhood of abuse and a young adulthood addicted on drugs.  She emphasized that, although not Catholic herself, she valued the moral norms and religious foundation that her daughter’s Catholic school provided.

Looking at data, earlier, that suggests that public schools are keeping kids not only from dropping out, but also from transferring to schools outside of the state’s government system until senior year makes me wonder how many of those students needed what that woman thought her daughter needed.  Whether the problem is (a) the local economy — affecting both parents’ ability to afford tuition and donors’ ability to finance the education of others’ children — or (b) the government’s move into the private school market with charter schools or (c) the expanding perks that taxpayers subsidize exclusively for government-school students, if children aren’t finding the schools that are right for them, then we’re all worse off for it.

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