Tomorrow, a presidential spotlight will shine on Florida’s Catholic school renaissance.
President Donald Trump is set to visit St. Andrew Catholic School, a budding success story in Orlando’s Pine Hills neighborhood.
It’s one of four Greater Orlando Catholic schools that have joined the Notre Dame ACE academies, a national network that aims to revitalize urban Catholic education and lift academic outcomes.
Bucking trends elsewhere in the country, Florida’s Catholic schools are growing, slowly but steadily. National organizations have noticed. There are now seven ACE Academies in Florida, with more on the way. Other Catholic school networks, like Cristo Rey high schools, are expanding in the state.
Thanks to the nation’s largest private school choice program, they’re able to serve growing numbers of low-income and working class students.
Statewide, more than 98,000 students use Florida tax credit scholarships. The typical parent who uses a scholarship is a single mother earning less than $25,000 a year. Annual program evaluations show students who use the program tend to be among the most disadvantaged children in the state, and tend to struggle academically in public schools. After receiving scholarships, they make academic gains that match their national peers from all income levels.