Value Catholic Education Essay

Value Catholic Education Essay-57
(Photo: Authenticated News/Archive Photos/Getty Images)By 1960, nationwide enrollment in Catholic schools had peaked, with more than 5.2 million students.“Then change roared across the nation,” the Catholic education experts Andy Smarick and Kelly Robson write in “Catholic School Renaissance,” their 2015 report for the Philanthropy Roundtable.Francis has been a beacon of hope to people here for many years. Justifiably fearing that public schools aimed to Americanize (read: Protestant-ize) Catholic children, U. bishops wrote increasingly stern pastoral letters that culminated in a letter issued in 1884 by the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore: “Pastors and parents should not rest,” insisted the bishops, until every parish “has schools adequate to the needs of its children.”St Mary of the Lake School in Chicago, Il., circa 1960.

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Driving this shift toward more collaborative styles of decision-making is a twofold recognition.

First, with a limited number of new ordinations, priests need to focus on the church’s sacramental life; and second, schools benefit from the specialized skills lay leaders can offer.“The church can no longer do it,” said Christine Healey, president of the Healey Education Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization that provides training and funding to Catholic schools.

She rarely visited classrooms except to tally up data points for various forms she needed to complete.

She knew it was not an efficient way to run a school, but there was no time to think of a better system. Mary’s School, providing the high-level, big-picture decisions about mission and vision and money, and often hiring a principal to implement day-to-day school management.

“White Catholic families departed cities in droves.

Church membership and Catholic observance declined, and the flow of new nuns and priests”—who had provided a steady supply of low-cost teachers—“shrunk to a trickle.” Plus, the threat of anti-Catholic bigotry was no longer on parents’ minds.“And if we believe we want to invite the laity to help solve the equation, do we only want them to raise money for us?Or will we also give them some operating control to be part of the solution?For 10 years she had been a teacher, then assistant principal at Sacred Heart, a pre-K through eighth grade parochial school in the Highbridge section of the Bronx.The building was beautiful: a four-story, Gothic-style schoolhouse built in 1926 with separate arched entrances for boys and girls.According to the National Catholic Education Association, “elementary school enrollment has declined by 27.5 percent in the 12 urban dioceses and 19.4 percent in the rest of the U.S.”—one reason why innovation in Catholic schools has zeroed in on elementary campuses, especially in urban areas.Catholic schools are usually governed by a pastor, a bishop (or his diocesan staff) or a board, explained a 2015 report from Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (Fadica), but “because canon law allows ecclesial officials to delegate responsibilities at their discretion, infinite configurations of authority are possible.” This makes the current landscape of Catholic elementary schools complicated.Survey Catholic school websites and you will see a jumble of terms like .”Of course, how much control a board has—and who is a voting board member—varies considerably among schools.In some models, for example, parish pastors can appeal decisions made by the school board to the archdiocese; in others, the scope of a board’s authority is limited to a narrow set of decisions—differences that reflect a range of approaches to balancing the leadership of clergy and laity.

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