A recent report from the Archdiocese of Washington states that although its Catholic schools face many challenges, things are getting better in many ways, according to the Catholic News Agency.
“Catholic education – and our support of it – is not merely an option,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, reportedly said. “It is an essential element of the New Evangelization.”
The report grew out of an effort by the Archdiocese to improve the state of education, beginning in 2006.
In 2008, Cardinal Wuerl released a letter entitled,“Catholic Education: Looking to the Future with Confidence,” which outlined goals including an updated religious curriculum, better formation for catechists, increased communication with homeschoolers, a stronger Catholic identity, and more affordability and accessibility.
According to CNA, 13 Catholic elementary schools in the archdiocese have received the Blue Ribbon Award from the Department of Education since the implementation of the plan.
Not only have many schools improved, but the Archdiocese has, because of increased fundraising, been able to financially help many more families afford Catholic education. In the 2007-2008 school year, students received about $800,000 in aid. In 2013-2014, that number skyrocketed to $5.5 million.
The report also states that 2,000 people have taken advantage of online adult formation classes.
However, many schools still face declining enrollment numbers.
The Archdiocese is pursuing government partnerships, publicly funded scholarships, tax credits and vouchers to help those who wish to have their children educated at a Catholic school be able to afford it.
Catholic education benefits all, said Cardinal Wuerl in the report. "Catholic education is a blessing,” he said. “A blessing so sorely needed by our society today.”
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