Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Catholic schools could benefit from charter-school innovations
Giving attention to the Catholic school system
I was happy to see attention given to the often heroic, yet often unthought of Catholic school system [“Catholic schools could learn from innovation at charter schools,” Opinion, Aug. 21].
Out of sight for most Seattleites, these schools are probably also mostly out of mind as our legislators and voters continue to wrestle with important civic matters such as charter schools. Many people might not be aware of the fact that about 30,000 students, many of which are not Catholic, attend Catholic K-12 schools in this state, making the system a top-ten school district.
Most of these schools serve culturally and economically diverse student bodies, and some of them, such as the Rainbow schools here in Seattle, serve student populations that are over 90 percent minority, with majorities near the poverty line. These schools have been shown to be extremely effective, with 99 percent graduating and 97 percent going on to college. Perhaps the schools should not be so out of mind?
Sean Kennedy’s piece accurately reflects that in order to continue serving such diverse populations, Catholic schools must make good business decisions and deliver highly effective, yet highly efficient, academic approaches. This includes borrowing and learning from models and tactics being tried elsewhere, including some charter schools.
That being said, as someone who is proud to have participated in the project at St. Therese, I can say decidedly that the primary reason we have chosen the blended learning approach for St. Therese is not for business reasons. Instead, we believe it will allow us to accomplish what has always been our goal through Catholic education: to deliver a powerfully effective, holistic, values-imbued education tailored to the needs of every individual child.
— Joe Womac, Seattle