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Catholic Schools in a Global Context

This winter, Partnership Schools Superintendent Kathleen Porter-Magee joined the Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative in Rome to explore the challenges facing Catholic schools around the world. As organizers note, “The Catholic Church is the largest non-state provider of education in the world. Catholic schools educate 65 million children globally, and enrollments are increasing dramatically, especially in the Global South.”

Kathleen and Professor Nicole Stelle Garnett explained to the multinational audience that in the U.S., “historically, Catholic schools have enjoyed broad operational autonomy but received little to no funding.” As that changes with the spread of publicly funded school choice, we can look to the experiences of other nations where funding follow the child to understand the range of its effects on Catholic schools’ self-determination.

For example, the article notes, “The experience in Australia, where all Catholic schools receive government funds, suggests that public funding does not necessarily lead to a loss of control.” Yet in Kenya, Catholic schools “are now operated as public schools, which receive government funding but have virtually no control over curriculum or hiring, even of school principals.”

You can explore the full article here