The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has joined Philadelphia public and charters schools in a pact to expand the number of seats in high-quality schools over the next several years.
Mayor Michael Nutter and Archbishop Charles Chaput were on hand for the announcement. They say the Archdiocese's inclusion does not mean it will look to close schools, but that all the systems are working together – not against one another – to provide parents with the best school options.
"We must work together to expand high-quality options for our students and their parents regardless of what type of school," Nutter said.
The Great Schools Compact was initially signed by the Philadelphia School District and two groups representing most charter operators in the city in December. The goal is to provide 50,000 additional seats in high-performing schools by 2016-17. Philadelphia is one of 15 cities in the nation vying for a share of more than $40 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It has received a $100,000 grant to implement the Compact.
Chaput said the Archdiocese's reason for taking part in the compact is to share information that could help improve all schools.
"We have the same goal in mind, which is the education of children, which leads to the health of our community," Chaput said.