City Journal Summer 2014

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Sol Stern and Patrick J. McCloskey
Why Catholic Schools Matter « Back to Story

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This guy is an idiot, totally antiquated old thinking.
Gerald De MNaio June 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM
The irony is that in the 1940s and 1950s urban Democrats would have backed aid to parochial schools. The stumbling block was the U.S. Supreme Court and a series of decisions from the 1940s through the 1970s. Now that the Court has rectified some of these decisions in a series of cases from Agostini v. Felton to Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, it is Democrats who refuse to pass acceptable aid bills, including vouchers. Recall is was Speaker Boehner who had to save the DC voucher program. Once these schools, like Rice, go, there are not likely to be replaced. It is very revealing that the "racially liberal" party is the chief stumbling block in the advancement of many African American and Latino youngsters.
I have to somewhat ask a few questions, obviously non-catholic schools should be included as well but at what point does the child's education become an individual responsibility, many folks could give money to their kids if they do well but then again bribery is not key, however many folks I have talked to, go to top high schools which happen to be public after say the 8th grade, it seems the parents don't want to spend the money at comparable private schools because the child is already smart and the private school is not much better than say a Stuyvesant high school, every child is different too, a parent can then tell his or her child, this is a great high school , the comparable private is the same or not as great or geared for mainstream, and I would prefer us to save money or if you want to get a summer job and pay for it.

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For the record, I shudder at phrases like “spell inventively”. A person’s thinking and writing are evaluated constantly online and in the work place, there is no room for inventive spelling when there are tens of thousands of English words that students need to spell correctly in order to graduate from high school.
I am a product of 12 years of Catholic School. I have gone on to complete both undergraduate and graduate degrees with the knowledge, discipline, and tenacity that I developed there, which was exemplified daily by the teachers. When a Catholic school can only offer sub-standard compensation to teachers compared to public and charter schools, the teachers who stay tended to be devoted to a school's motto and mission. They were dedicated. The Catholic school teachers I knew didn't take late work from their students. They made sure we got the grades deserved, even when that meant we failed miserably. But they were also there after school to tutor us and guide us back to a passing grade, if we were willing to work. I am thankful for those life lessons, and am now in the secondary classroom as an English teacher, trying to emulate their rigor and dedication. I hope the Catholic School systems in America can find a way to continue thriving and producing successful students.
I think Catholic schools are great - they give me a steady source of income through supplying me with therapy patients for many years.
Catholic schools today are important principally as a vestige of white flight from forced desegregation. Most parochial schools don't look like the nice, "diverse" pix in the article. Most are substantially segregated by race and sex. They are little more than public schools dodging the requirements of public schools. They and their archdiocesan administrations are also a massive drain on the tax bases of cities with large parochial school populations, like New Orleans. In short, there is really no good reason for most parochial schools in the United States today.
"Not sure what the effect of charter schools will do to the parochial schools in NYC"

--Actually the effect is at best minimal. The difference between the Catholic schools and Charter schools is that Catholic schools are dedicated to educating children and promoting healthy families and communities. And the catholic schools help those in need.

Unfortunately I have yet to see that type of dedication in the charter schools. The charters are a big business. The charter executives are earning mid six figure salaries while expelling struggling students (causing great inflation of their test scores) and taking classroom and other educational resources away from good public schools. The proof of this charter school myth is in the results of the NYC Specialized high school exam. Asian students continue to excel on that exam yet almost all those accepted to those exemplary high schools come from regular public schools.
Great articles, great reporting. Not sure what the effect of charter schools will do to the parochial schools in NYC, but time will tell. Similar article on great works of Our Lady Queen of Angels in East Harlem via NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/nyregion/07parochial.html
Michael Caponiti May 01, 2011 at 7:18 PM
Bill Gates has supported the Christo Rey schools which are religious. I think he will try what works.
Great Article. The unions are crushing the Catholic schools. Underprivileged kids need longer hours and uniforms to compensate for the lack of structure at home. I wonder where the school gets most of its funding.
Ayn Marie Samuelson April 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM
The article notes that St. Aloysius promotes a "strong academic focus and sense of order", hires dedicated teachers and requires students to work at the job of learning, while teaching morality. We need to replicate these schools. What we need are public community schools where each child can learn according to his or her abilities and talents. We can have that now in our communities, but the political- bureaucratic education system will fight to the death to hold onto controlling the show, all the while leaving students, parents, teachers and communities behind.
Ayn Marie Samuelson April 30, 2011 at 8:19 AM
The public education system fails to teach the basics, critical thinking or meet the educational needs of individual children. Students collide with the system as they move into high school where drop-out rates rise and performance scores on standardized tests decline.
Then to add insult to injury, because the political bureaucratic system proclaims that everything it does is “for the children,” public education has been treated like a sacred cow, escaping essential scrutiny and accountability for both the multiple hundreds of billions of taxpayer funds expended each year and the dismal results of high school students, even in the basics. Meanwhile, the social and economic costs of high school dropouts and widespread college remediation in fundamentals like reading, writing and math, can only be estimated.
The article notes that St. Aloysius promotes a "strong academic focus and sense or order", hires dedicated teachers and requires students to work at the job of learning, while teaching morality. Students need this mission-driven focus and to be taught that they have a responsibility to do their student’s job of learning. But even giving all parents (not just those selected on the grouping of economics or race) the choice of any school, there will be a lack of supply of quality schools for years to come, as parents want their children to become competent and productive members of society.
This isn’t about certain groups of children; it is about student learning wherever children live and at whatever academic level they are. So, while grown-ups discuss policy and supporting the wants of the antiquated education system, especially with more funding, students lose - every day. What we need are community schools where each child can learn according to his or her abilities and talents. We can have that now in our communities, but the political- bureaucratic system will fight to the death to hold onto controlling the show, all the while leaving students, parents, teachers and communities behind.
Exposing the Public Education System is a bold, new book that documents and explains how public education has failed us all and shows how the entire system can be transformed, not just one part of it.
A "preferential option for the poor" should be maintained in our Catholic Schools. If we find that we cannot afford to keep our schools open to the poor, the schools should be closed and the resources used for something else which can be kept open to the poor. We cannot allow our Church to become a church primarily for the middle-class and rich while throwing a bone to the poor. The priority should be given to the poor even if we have to let the middle-class and rich fend for themselves.
Practically speaking, the Catholic Schools must close and the resources used for "Confraternity of Christian Doctrine" and other programs which can be kept open to the poor. Remember, the Church managed without Catholic Schools for centuries. We can get along without them today. The essential factor is to cultivate enough Faith to act in the Gospel Tradition, namely,THE POOR GET PRIORITY. The rich and middle-class are welcome too. But the poor come first.
I Blame the Parents April 29, 2011 at 9:04 AM
Larry;

Regretfully, most black children come from single-mama families. The family support structure is weak.
It appears that white students in this country have no problems, since the subject of "Education" always has a black face.
Nathan SZajnberg, MD April 28, 2011 at 6:57 PM
Closing because of "financial trouble" is an understatement.
A major reason is that the Church is just beginning to pay for their pedophiles after years or decades of delayl. And there will be more to come.

I have testified as an expert witness in such cases. Egregious!

Catholic schools I suppose can be fine if the kids can escape the pedophile priests (I haven't heard of a nun diddling the kids yet.)
I am 63 years old, sent all three of my kids to Catholic schools, K through 12 and my wife and I never regret the choice; more importantly, neither did any of our kids, or our grand kids.
Here are details for how another religious school with mostly low income minority students survives in Chicago: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/april-15-2011/holy-family-ministries/8590/

The debate is not quite the same in the UK. HIn the UK taxpayers pays for state-funded faith schools. Seting aside issues such as sectarianism in the west of Scotland which separate religious education does not help, the issue in the UK is whether or not secular taxpayers should be paying for sectarian education from their taxes.
Similar debate to what is happening in the UK, it is clear that there is a role for 'faith schools' and that many working class kids benefit from this type of education. There are many secular commentators in the UK who would love to do away with faith schools, but I believe that faith schools and to an extent the churches can play a big role in relieving social deprevation.
Well written!
The public eduction system is a huge disapointment,besides being a huge expense to the taxpayer.
In the Chicago, the Catholic School system has produced more Blue Ribbons than the entire State's public education. Yet it to is facing huge financial problems. The National Education Association, in my eyes the "no educational accounability" group, fight tooth and nail to restrict any financial help to the better system.
The Catholic Schools save the tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually but the teacher's unions and the "empire building" public school administrators balk at doing anything to help.
The average tax payer is ignorant of any of the facts. And uninformed enough to look the other way as the public school system shovels their money into one boondoggle after another.
This story is amazing and yet I wonder where is the marketing plan to attract parents and the advocacy work to get our state to change policies that would allow the Catholic Schools to compete. If the claims are true, Catholic Schools have the edge and need an aggressive marketing plan which will bring up enrollment. Also, the management style has to be evaluated to keep up with the time and the competition. All this to say, the challenge is really an opportunity to reengage in the public debate about education and needs to be done in a passionate style. The wake-up call has arrived.
Abigail Richmond April 24, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Given that Mr. Gates is an Atheist, I suspect he might not be too favorably disposed towards Catholic Schools.
Has anyone thought about approaching the Gates Foundation whose primary mission is education? It would seem that the cost benefit ratio would almost be a no-brainer. I don't know if religion would be an impediment to Gates' participation, but I would hope not considering the obvious benefit that is not contingent upon a religious connection.