By Barbara Miner
Managing Editor, Rethinking Schools
So when Maureen Gallagher, director of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, refused to release information on the racial breakdown and test scores at Catholic schools in the voucher program, I wondered if she might be trying to hide something.
My ongoing correspondence with Gallagher started last spring, when a researcher for Rethinking Schools asked for information on the racial breakdown at Catholic voucher schools, including the racial breakdown of the voucher students. The issue is of more than passing interest, given the centrality of race to education politics in this city and the not-too-well-disguised fact that, in some cases, Catholic schools have been used by some white parents to avoid desegregation efforts in the public schools.
Gallagher gave us the run-around, such as complaints of not enough time. When I told Gallagher that we had the time and would compile the data from her records, she was blunt: "Are you kidding?" she told me. "We don't open our files to anybody."
Then in May, I heard through a well-placed source that the Archdiocese itself was worried because the test scores at some of the voucher schools were extremely low. In some cases, so the rumor went, the kids were doing worse than their MPS counterparts.