As a Catholic school, Georgetown may soon lose quite a bit of company in the District.
Eight of the District’s 28 Catholic primary schools may soon become secular.
Washington, D.C., Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has proposed to convert these eight schools to charter schools, nonsectarian public schools that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Wuerl told The Washington Post that the archdiocese cannot afford to continue supporting them. If approved, the proposal will take effect next fall.
The proposal has provoked angry reactions from parents and church members in the District, according to Post. Community members have argued that the conversion would result in a drastic reduction of these schools’ funds, and that the quality of students’ general education – religion aside – would inevitably be compromised.
Others have voiced racial concerns, as the majority of the students at the eight schools in question are black.
The schools represent about 1,400 students. The proposed conversion would increase the District’s current charter-school enrollment of 22,000 by more than 6 percent.
Archdiocese Spokesperson Susan Gibbs said she does not expect the decrease in Catholic primary schools in the District to affect interest in Catholic universities like Georgetown.
“Some students are still Catholic, and they’ll want a Catholic education [at the university level],” she said. “That won’t change.”
Gibbs said that if the proposal is approved, students at the eight converted schools will have the option of transferring to a nearby Catholic institution.