SECTOR
SWITCHERS
Why Catholic Schools Convert
to Charters and What
Happens Next
breaking down
Private school enrollment
has fluctuated over time for
5 REASONS
REASON 1
Financial hardship of families
amidst a tumultuous economy
makes affording private tuition
difficult.
REASON 2
The shift from clergy educators
to lay teachers has made
school operations more
expensive. That increased cost
is...
Many of the private schools in
urban centers are Catholic. A
demographic shift in urban
areas away from predominantly
Cath...
REASON 4
To keep tuition rates low, Catholic schools
subsidize operation costs with contributions
from parishioners. In re...
REASON 5
Increased competition from
public charter schools.
VS.
From 2001 to 2011, the number of private
Catholic schools decreased at a rate more
than THREE times (15.6 percent) that of...
A trend among private Catholic
schools is emerging in urban
centers in response to that
increasing decline.
They are
switching their
status by dropping
the religious
component and
becoming public
charter schools
Why?
Those private Catholic schools were
going to close for economic reasons, and
buildings, devoted educators, and loyal
famil...
Our researchers
Michael Q. McShane Andrew P. Kelly
examined 18 Catholic
schools in three major cities
using a matched
comparison method
and conducting interviews
with individuals
knowledgeable about the
decision to switch sectors and
the environment at the t...
What did
they find?
After switching to a public charter, former
Catholic schools began serving more minority
students than their private count...
Enrollment in switcher schools increased
more than schools that remained private.
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
-5-6 -4 -3 ...
Schools that decided to convert to charter
schools did so based on a number of
unique criteria, including percentage of
no...
Some switcher schools remained largely
the same, keeping principals and
teachers, some changed dramatically.
Some switcher schools offered
wraparound religious services to its
remaining Catholic families.
Switcher schools reported serving more
children with special needs once going
charter.
Rent, which the archdiocese in D.C.
charges the converted charter schools
($3.2 mil they paid combined in 2011),
has resul...
a substantial portion ($900,000/year) of
which went toward tuition assistance for
students in remaining Catholic schools.
In Indianapolis, the $1 mil of support the
archdiocese provides as tuition
assistance for Catholic schools gets split
amon...
Comparable schools that remained
private Catholic report seeing very few
students leave the switcher schools to
attend the...
Is “switching”
the right term?
The Catholic schools that became public
charters don’t consider that action
“switching.”
-Beth Blaufus, president of a
Was...
How could Catholic schools have
avoided closing during a
socioeconomic shift in their
communities?
Most schools said: If a #schoolchoice
voucher program with strong funding
existed in their states, more families who
alrea...
Download the full report
for more details at
edchoice.org/SectorSwitchers
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Breaking Down "Sector Switchers: Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next"

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A summary break down of research report "Sector Switchers: Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next" by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

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Breaking Down "Sector Switchers: Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next"

  1. 1. SECTOR SWITCHERS Why Catholic Schools Convert to Charters and What Happens Next breaking down
  2. 2. Private school enrollment has fluctuated over time for 5 REASONS
  3. 3. REASON 1 Financial hardship of families amidst a tumultuous economy makes affording private tuition difficult.
  4. 4. REASON 2 The shift from clergy educators to lay teachers has made school operations more expensive. That increased cost is reflected in tuition rates.
  5. 5. Many of the private schools in urban centers are Catholic. A demographic shift in urban areas away from predominantly Catholic immigrant populations has affected demand. REASON 3
  6. 6. REASON 4 To keep tuition rates low, Catholic schools subsidize operation costs with contributions from parishioners. In recent decades across the country, religious giving as a percentage of personal income has decreased from about 1.2 percent of personal income in 1963 to less than 0.9 percent of personal income in 2003. As giving declines, schools must make up for costs in other ways, often raising tuition rates, which inadvertently prices out many urban families.
  7. 7. REASON 5 Increased competition from public charter schools. VS.
  8. 8. From 2001 to 2011, the number of private Catholic schools decreased at a rate more than THREE times (15.6 percent) that of the previous decade (4.6 percent). 12K 10K 8K 6K 4K 2K 0 1979 1983 1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007 2011 SCHOOLS 9,640 9,401 8,992 8,508 8,250 8,144 7,955 7,378 6,841
  9. 9. A trend among private Catholic schools is emerging in urban centers in response to that increasing decline.
  10. 10. They are switching their status by dropping the religious component and becoming public charter schools
  11. 11. Why?
  12. 12. Those private Catholic schools were going to close for economic reasons, and buildings, devoted educators, and loyal families would be left behind. “We did not choose charter schools as opposed to Catholic schools; we chose charter schools over empty buildings.” –Thomas Burnford, Secretary of Education, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
  13. 13. Our researchers Michael Q. McShane Andrew P. Kelly
  14. 14. examined 18 Catholic schools in three major cities
  15. 15. using a matched comparison method
  16. 16. and conducting interviews with individuals knowledgeable about the decision to switch sectors and the environment at the time.
  17. 17. What did they find?
  18. 18. After switching to a public charter, former Catholic schools began serving more minority students than their private counterparts. 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 PercentageofMinorityEnrollment Year 0 = Last Year Before Switch to Charter 67%65% 70% 74% 66% 80% 76% 83% 76% 82% 79% 79% 78% 88% 93% Comparison Switcher
  19. 19. Enrollment in switcher schools increased more than schools that remained private. 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 -5-6 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 Enrollment Year 0 = Last Year Before Switch to Charter Comparison Switcher 245 299 233 224 190 203 153 214 242 168 153 162 166 177 167 151
  20. 20. Schools that decided to convert to charter schools did so based on a number of unique criteria, including percentage of non-Catholic students they already taught, whether the neighborhood had fewer Catholic families, and whether the school needed more resources and facility upgrades.
  21. 21. Some switcher schools remained largely the same, keeping principals and teachers, some changed dramatically.
  22. 22. Some switcher schools offered wraparound religious services to its remaining Catholic families.
  23. 23. Switcher schools reported serving more children with special needs once going charter.
  24. 24. Rent, which the archdiocese in D.C. charges the converted charter schools ($3.2 mil they paid combined in 2011), has resulted in increased funds for the church to support local parishes.
  25. 25. a substantial portion ($900,000/year) of which went toward tuition assistance for students in remaining Catholic schools.
  26. 26. In Indianapolis, the $1 mil of support the archdiocese provides as tuition assistance for Catholic schools gets split among four schools now instead of six.
  27. 27. Comparable schools that remained private Catholic report seeing very few students leave the switcher schools to attend their Catholic school.
  28. 28. Is “switching” the right term?
  29. 29. The Catholic schools that became public charters don’t consider that action “switching.” -Beth Blaufus, president of a Washington D.C. Catholic school, said her school could never “switch” or “convert” to a charter school, as its Catholic identity is central to its mission. “It is not an element,” she said. “It is the reason we do what we do.”
  30. 30. How could Catholic schools have avoided closing during a socioeconomic shift in their communities?
  31. 31. Most schools said: If a #schoolchoice voucher program with strong funding existed in their states, more families who already desire their school would be able to afford tuition—increasing enrollment and resources to serve them.
  32. 32. Download the full report for more details at edchoice.org/SectorSwitchers
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