Sacred Spaces: Faith-Based Schools and American Cities


October 3, 2013

View video from this event below.

The George W. Bush Institute, together with the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame and Mayor Rawlings of Dallas, will organize a discussion about faith-based schools. These schools – representing any number of faith traditions – have a historical role in education are one of the most effective instruments of intellectual formation and social transformation that the U.S. has ever known. Educating more than 3.5 million students, faith-based schools can be found in urban, suburban and rural communities. 

Panel participants examined two main ideas:

  • The unique and integral role of faith-based schools in revitalizing urban communities
  • How and where political leaders throughout the country have taken great strides in effecting systemic education reform 


View video
Margaret Spellings
President, George W. Bush Presidential Center


Session 1: The State of Play for Faith-Based Schools
View video
Two scholars lead a conversation on the unique and integral role that faith-based schools continue to play as agents of intellectual formation and social transformation for marginalized children and communities. 

Paul Ludden
Southern Methodist University

Charles Glenn
Boston University

Fr. Tim Scully, CSC
University of Notre Dame


Session 2: Bright Spots from the Urban Core
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Panelists discuss their respective work with high-performing faith-based schools, examining some of the central challenges and opportunities that they encounter in developing an educational model that fully and vibrantly integrates the transmission of faith with a relentless focus on academic excellence.

Rena Pederson (Moderator)
Southern Methodist University

Christian Dallavis
Notre Dame ACE Academies

Terry Flowers
St. Philip’s School and Community Center

Kole Knueppel
Schools That Can Milwaukee

Matthew Moes
Islamic Schools League of America


Session 3: A Conversation with Policy Makers
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This session reflects back on the morning’s prior conversations and feature an action-oriented discussion on the role that faith-based schools can and must play in the revitalization of our urban communities, as well as how civic leaders and other policymakers can engage in thoughtful reform to expand the landscape of high-quality educational options available to children in need.

Margaret Spellings (Moderator)
George W. Bush Presidential Center

Rick Baker
former Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida

Mike Rawlings
Mayor of Dallas, Texas

Kathleen Shanahan
Florida State Board of Education

Anthony Williams
former Mayor of Washington DC

Closing Remarks
Mike Rawlings
Mayor of Dallas, Texas