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DC parents protest plan convert Catholic schools to charter schools December 17, 2007

More than 800 people in Washington, DC, have signed a petition urging the Washington archdiocese to abandon plans to turn 7 parochial schools into charter schools working with the public school system.

The schools targeted for conversion serve most African-American children in the inner city, and opponents charge that the archdiocese is "turning its back on the parents who want a Catholic education for their children."

"We are not giving up without a fight," said S. Kathryn Allen of the Committee to Save Black Catholic Schools. The group has vowed to seek alternate sources of funding to preserve the schools as private Catholic schools.

Opponents of the charter-school conversion have complained that families are not being allowed to transfer their children from the schools slated for closing to other parochial schools. These students, they say, are being "held hostage" by the archdiocesan planners.

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