Next week: A chat about faith-based schools

Peter Hanley (at left) and Robert Aguirre
Peter Hanley (at left) and Robert Aguirre

The U.S. is home to 21,000 faith-based schools. They serve 4.3 million students. They’ve long been an integral part of the American mosaic. Yet today, many of them are under intense financial strain, particularly in urban areas where, for generations, they’ve admirably served low-income students. At a time when American public education could use help from every quarter, the plight of faith-based schools remains sadly overlooked.

To raise awareness and spur action, the American Center for School Choice (which co-hosts this blog) created the national Commission on Faith-based Schools. It’s holding its first school leadership summit Nov. 19. To tell us more about these efforts – and to answer your questions – two center leaders will join us for a chat next week: Peter Hanley, the center’s executive director; and Robert Aguirre, a member of the board of directors and the commission chair.

The chats are live, interactive and in writing. We describe them as a press conference with a typewriter, with the floor open to anyone who wants to ask a question.

To participate, come back to the blog on Tuesday, Nov. 12. We’ll start promptly at 11 a.m., so click in to the live chat program – which you’ll find here on the blog – a few minutes before then. In the meantime, if you have questions for Hanley or Guerra, you can pose them in advance (which, depending on turnout, may make it more likely that they’ll be able to answer it.) You can leave them in the comments section, email them to, tweet them to @redefinEDonline, and/or post them on our facebook page.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at