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ERIC Number: EJ914881
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1097-9638
Faith-Based Charter Schools: An Idea Whose Time Is Unlikely to Come
Russo, Charles J.; Cattaro, Gerald M.
Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, v13 n4 p509-531 Jun 2010
Charter schools, which are public schools of choice, are typically operated as not-for-profit organizations, essentially functioning as independent districts consisting of single schools, by private groups including parents either independently or occasionally in conjunction with public institutions such as universities. In return for being exempted from many state regulations, charter schools are accountable for the academic achievement of their students. Charter schools, although free from many state rules with regard to staff and curricular issues, remain subject to federal and state antidiscrimination laws such as those dealing with students with disabilities and employment. In addition, charter schools typically cannot be operated by religious groups. Of course, significant questions remain over the extent to which faculty and staff in faith-based charter schools may actually teach about the religious beliefs and practices of their sponsors. In light of the legal and educational issues surrounding the status of religious charter schools, this article is divided into two parts. The first section reviews key litigation addressing the parameters of public aid to religiously affiliated nonpublic schools because these cases provide the necessary background should judicial challenges arise to faith-based charter schools. This first part of the paper also briefly reviews Supreme Court cases that forbid prayer and/or religious activities in school, an essential part of daily activities in religiously affiliated nonpublic schools that cannot continue in faith-based charter schools. The second part reviews educational and policy considerations dealing with how publicly funded financial assistance might impact the religious missions and identities of religiously affiliated nonpublic schools that seek to become faith-based charter schools; this section also reviews the constitutionality of both state aid to religious charter schools and the acceptability, if any, of prayer and religious activities in these schools. The article rounds out with a brief conclusion. (Contains 87 notes.)
Boston College. Roche Center for Catholic Education, 25 Lawrence Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Tel: 617-552-0701; Fax: 617-552-0579; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A