Taking the crucifix off the wall

In a story published today on Educationnext.org, Fordham fellow Peter Meyer explores the story of the Christian Brothers and the Catholic order’s entry into public education, specifically charter schooling, a story that Meyer describes as “a fascinating tale of grit and determination, about a committed group of Catholics who gave up their icons, statues, prayers, and catechism, ran a gauntlet of church/state hurdles, partnered with a Baptist congregation in one location and weathered an angry black community in another location – and are now educating hundreds of Chicago’s poorest public school children.”

Of course, the issue of whether Catholic leaders can give up their icons, statues, prayers and catechism when taking ownership of a charter school and still maintain their identity has roiled debate in the church, and within the school choice movement. Earlier this year, redefinED host Doug Tuthill probed whether a Catholic school may convert to a charter and still “leave the crucifix up.”

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