A Catholic church leader said Friday that he will keep faith-based schools open in the face of a federal government crackdown that could shutter more than 3,000 of them across the country.
The Rev. Paul Stearns of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco said in an interview with The Associated Press that he has been talking to leaders at the archdiocese about what to do with the roughly 2,000 schools that are closed because of the shutdown.
Stearns, who has served on the board of the Archdiocesan Center for Education and Careers, said his group, which includes a former state senator, is also working with other churches to find a way to keep the remaining schools open.
Stainns said the Archs could stay open if they feel they can continue to offer services in the community, but he said the government is now trying to shut down schools to force faith- based education out of existence.
The federal government has been trying to stop schools from serving children who need special education and the Catholic Church has long opposed such programs.
Stairns said that his goal is to keep all the schools open, which would be a big win for Catholic schools across the United States.
“We are trying to keep our children safe and well-rounded in this country,” Stears said.
“There is a tremendous amount of concern out there that these schools will close.”
Stainks said the archbishop’s support for keeping the schools operating is a signal that the archbishops will continue to be committed to serving students, especially children with special needs.
The Archdiaconess for Education, a Catholic institution, has been at the center of the crisis in the U.S. schools, which were the target of a national crackdown on religious discrimination.
The government has called for a closure of more than 2,700 schools because of their policies and programs.
Stearson said he believes the government’s push for these schools is hurting the public education system and schools are facing a dire need to find other sources of funding.
“I’m hopeful that the bishops and the archdeacons can work together to continue to provide all of our children a quality education, which is the primary reason why we are here,” Stainns told AP.
The Catholic Church, founded in 1473, has nearly 300,000 priests and more than 1.6 million members across the U .
A new U.N. report estimates that about 1.5 million students in the United State are at risk of experiencing poverty, hunger or homelessness.
The report found that 1.1 million students of color are in poverty.