City Journal Autumn 2014

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Sean Kennedy
Charting a Future for Catholic Education « Back to Story

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What left out of the article about Mission Dolores Academy, was that it was a proposed merger of two schools Mission Dolores School and Megan Furth Academy, and it went horribly wrong. They moved to the legacy school site, Mission Dolores because it was a larger site and was 160 years old. None of the faculty of the original Mission Dolores School were invited to return and the beloved Principal, who worked hard to make sure her students were a top priority was slowly but surely shown the door. The Principal of Megan Furth tricked everyone, including the parents, the board of directors, and the students. Though now she is no longer a part of the new school, which is a positive move for the school's future. Another positive sign is that the head of Seton Education Partners is not involved in the operations of the school anymore, like hiring of faculty. Bonuses to faculty if students do well on standardize tests also doesn't sit well with many parents, hopefully faculty isn't teaching to just the tests. Blended learning is new and great, but traditional instruction should not completely be abandoned, computers are great, but human interaction is needed, especially in our inner city schools. I look forward to Mission Dolores Academy's future.
Great article, Sean. As a retired Massachusetts public school teacher I individualized the pace of instruction and demanded mastery for students to advance through the curriculum, and did it all without today's technology. I repeatedly requested software to help me in this mission but the union told me to forget about it. They'd fight me (a union member) every step of the way. The system worked and benefited students tremendously, if I do say myself. Also published a book on the model entitled: Common Sense: The Missing Link in Education Reform (written by a teacher).
And I forgot to mention, I took my last two out and homeschool them both. There are fabulous resources for homeschooling Catholics, plus we joined a great co-op in our area where so many professionals VOLUNTEER that it is 90% free--priests teach theology, lawyers teach government, pilots teach history, nurses teach science, etc. Now that's a REAL Catholic education.
For Catholic schools to be back in the game they will have to 1) Remember they are Catholic and have real, substantial theology (or what's the point of paying all that money?), 2) Forget ANY government money because they are going to be (like Canada's) government schools, forced to teach Common Core Curriculum--a LOSING goal, and 3) Need the support (spiritual and financial) of the parish instead of the current School VS. Parish mentality. Yes, and you must have excellent academics--but that's a given. I'm assuming "Rocketship" charter is one of the new Gulen schools that are everywhere. No one is asking enough questions about these--but it is a Muslim from Turkey who brings in young muslim teachers for a year on a visa, then brings another when his expires, in order to keep salaries down (they do it as a sort of mission, then off to another country). WHY is Mr. Gulen doing this??? He is closely tied to Muslim Brotherhood. Does the Catholic school in your neighboor really need to "follow" Gulen? I think we know how to have a good Catholic school. Many just want to take shortcuts, contract it out to people who aren't Catholic, or make compromises. Do it the right way and it will be successful. If not, don't do it at all. Go to ROPE for information on Common Core, Gulen Schools, and Alinsky Organizing in schools: http://restoreokpubliceducation.com/node/281
the decline of Catholic schools is due mainly to the fact the parents and supporters dont own or control the school's physical plant. you need ownership to control the future. If Catholic parishoners owned their own facilities school churches and parish halls they would never closed, but in Boston Archdiocese all parish property is owned by the Cardinal. Those sitting in the pews just pay the bills but have no ownership. When you get a pastor whose time is spent more at golf rather than school meetings and fundraisers you are going to close! you have no say, you have no rights that's why catholic educatios nis in trouble .. turn it all over to the parents for $1.00 and watch it thrive
Marianne,
Thought the article would be of interest.
Blessings of the day.
John
I agree that the Catholic schools can adapt best practices to be more competitive but give me a break, non-level playing field? When the No Nothing laws stop public funding of parochial schools, nothing will take away a $10,000 per pupil advantage.
Perhaps it's specifically because the schools are catholic? Acceptance of Catholic teaching is at odds with science and logic (evolution, refusal to recommend condom use to fight AIDS in Africa, treating homosexuals as evil sinners).

Then there are the more sinister possibilities (child molestation, bad enough. Knowingly covering it up? Inexcusable. Has the church changed? Maybe.)
The entire premise of Catholicism is to save souls. Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. A human education is marvelous, but the formation of the soul is paramount, in a ratio found in comparing a mere mortal life with eternity. That is, infinitely more important.

Catholic schools, by dealing with the post Vatican II vocational crisis by hiring atheistic lay teachers (as I have found repeatedly in putting 2 kids through Catholic schools), have done almost irreparable damage to their highest mission.

Once they return to the salvation of the soul will their fortunes return. But they will not, because satan has decimated the Church post-Vatican II with the aforementioned vocational crisis, and the leaders of the flocks have thus been spiritually assassinated.
thought u may enjoy reading something positive
that involves
As we as a society become more comfortable with technology, the free online academies that exist in almost every State (usually sponsored/based out of a public school district) will become more popular as a homeschooling alternative.
Our Catholic school died. Our kid went over to public and we found out she was a year behind, generally. The older kids were worse off -- specifically maimed for science.

Catholic schools teach what to think. They also like the Jesuit pap that prefers deductive logic to the tools and evidence-acquiring techniques of inductive logic.

You have to pay real money to hire a competent science teacher. Same for a competent math teacher. Catholic schools and the most of the Charters don't do it. Here in New Jersey it's the public school teachers union that makes sure that happens -- we're # 3 in the country for that reason above all.
The reason that Catholic schools educated so many baby boomers was that this was about the time urban public schools started their steep decline - parents we caught off guard, so to speak, and to get a good, affordable education, the middle class turned to Catholic and other parochial schools. The Catholic school I attended back then was about 50% non-Catholic.

Now, the baby boomers by and large moved from those urban areas to better public schools in the suburbs, because it takes a lot of money to afford living in an urban area and pay twice for schooling.

So who you have left in the urban areas are (1)people who make enough to pay both urban prices as well as private school tuition - these folks chase the most highly rated school academically they can afford, and (2)much less affluent folks who are hard pressed just to live in these urban areas.

In my city, we several parochial schools that are doing well - they are the ones that offer a quality education at a bargain price in comparison to the non-parochial private schools. But there is simply an oversupply, and unless urban areas become more affordable and family friendly, there will be significant consolidation.
i have 5 children in catholic schools, and yes they are amazingly expensive. I agree that they must become more competitive, but what about becoming more Catholic? Shouldn't they be educating mainly Catholic children? I mean, the reason they exist is not to save money from tax revenue, but to give Catholic children a Catholic education. If I wasn't concerned about my children's Catholic formation I would send them to our great local public school. And they have traditionally helped low income, immigrant populations rise (like me!) but these were irish, hispanic Catholics. Not protestant inner city African Americans. I think Catholic Schools should serve Catholics, for the purpose of making more faithful young Catholics.
There are now more homeschoolers than Catholic school students! That's crazy.