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Lisa Fleisher, reporter for the Wall Street Journal Greater New York, talks about the Archdiocese’s plans to close another 24 schools at the end of this term.
I am proud to be a practicing catholic! I attended parochial schools for 12 years, I had a wonderful education, the best. We were correctly disiplined, we were taught to be courteous, we were taught our faith correctly, our studys included: geography, government, English, Spanish, Math and Science. We also were required to memorize a poem each week and recite it on Friday, we had art appreciation.
So many our you are lapsed catholics but you want the catholic schools to give your kids values, values start at home, faith? is a gift of God, squander it, your fault as you were given the opportunity. Catholics are critized, due partly to our value system, no abortion, no gay marriages. as the seal to marriage is the act itself,gays cannot perform the 'seal of the sacrament. If those of you who don't practice the faith want the rest of us to pay for your education. Get real. We need to spend the money on those who value their faith.
The school that my son attends in westchester is thriving and has not required any financial assistance from the archdiocese for the past 2 years. We are literally attached to he church. Our school and parish are great; mass is packed on the weekends Our pastor is wonderful.... Yet we were closed. There is no catholic school alternative in our area. I am saddened but realize that the regionalization comittee does not care. They are outsiders looking at a map and making decisions affecting my community and family. Regionalization is akin to big centralized government. My grammar school sent me a letter yesterday requesting a donation. The problem is that the money will go to the regionalization commitee: to pay their salaries then to be divided up and given to alll the other schools that were alowed to stay open. I will not give any money to the regionalization comittee and Suspect that neither will any of the parents or students of the closed 26 schools and that is a lot of money.
Nick from UWS - Please! You have no idea what you are talking about. Go first to China and see what the Jesuits did for centuries there - planted trees and built universities (still operating, world class) for starters. Then look around this country - how many hospitals, universities, Catholic Charities... We took all the regular subjects in HS but also classical languages, film, - I think nine subjects. We all got into good colleges. This is a sad loss for our entire society and i'm hardly what you would call a practicing Catholic. It does work for a lot of people though, being Catholic.
The only rote memory I remember besides times tables were Catechism questions.
I am so sad to hear about this. Catholic schools routinely provide a safe, caring and academically rigorous education for students and the parents/guardians who take an interest in improving their lives. After attending Catholic elementary and prep schools in NYC, I was miles ahead of many of my public-school educated classmates when I began college. I never felt like religion was shoved down my throat. In fact I learned about all the major religions when imams, Buddhist priests, rabbis and ministers all came to my school to present at the invitation of the school's director, a nun who was a convert from Judaism. My teachers emphasized the golden rule on the same scale as geography, spelling, critical thinking, science, grammar, and math. On the other hand, I found it helpful to know stories and proverbs from the Bible as a frame of reference when reading classic novels and hearing speeches. I'm 32 now and not rich, but wanted to give back and asked my local Catholic school if I could quietly help pay tuition for students who otherwise couldn't afford it. The school accepted. I will probably never meet these kids, but the burden is off their parents to pay and their children are engaged in an environment that is serious about their success as students and compassionate human beings. I wish these places didn't have to close and I wish the families affected success in finding viable alternatives.
Isn't it obvious that Roe/v/Wade sent a chilling message from Government that Catholic morality was essentially of no value to it? And isn't our Government a paragon of morality in recent years to prove that that severance has had no detrimental effect on society?
I almost lost my mind trying to get through on the phones. I went to Catholic school through 8th grade. My first son went only to public schools and I was so disappointed even though I was a young mom and didn't make the best choices overall at the time for my family. For my second and third sons I decided to send them to Catholic school. First my own school which they were attended got closed down. I sent them to another but my middle son had a learning disability and we found a Catholic school in Greenpoint that would address his needs as well as general education for his younger brother. It was a God send. But after one year there, it also closed down. We came back to our neighborhood of Sunset Park to continue Catholic school there. My boys have flourished. My son with the learning disability even earned a partial scholarship to a local Catholic HS. Now my youngest is getting acceptances to Honors programs as well as scholarship offers to Catholic HS's. Are they paying off lawsuits? Maybe, but where is their business plan for the future viability of these institutions. It's a multi-faceted problem. Tuition has increased with rising costs. Nuns and brothers did most of the education years ago. It was their vocation. Nowadays, regular teachers need competitive salaries, health insurance and so forth. Old buildings need maintenance. The parish draws a line between their own financial obligations and those of the school. They need to stay open as well. Where will our faith lead us? Cash is king. If there's no money in it, then they need to get out. Just heartbreaking. I'm not a die hard Catholic at this point in my life or even attend mass regularly. It just saddens me deeply that traditions, morals, values that helped shaped my life are lost to the bottom line. Public education is fine for those who chose it or need to chose it. But if I want to make the sacrifice to pay my children's education, where will my choices be 5 or 10 years from now. It's the same mentality people chose nowadays- I'll look the other way because it will take too much of my time and money to get involved. It's not my fight to fight. Mediocracy and complacency is so much easier.
Brian: I don't know if you realize how condescending your "rote memorization" comment sounded. The Catholic high schools in New York have been emphasizing critical thinking and writing for many years, long before the non-specialized public high schools, and colleges report that their graduates are in general much better prepared for college-level work than the average student. Which makes it even more of a shame that the Archdiocese is closing these schools (including 6 elementary and one high school in Westchester,and 3 more in the other upstate counties) as it continues to abandon its traditional education and health care missions.
Regarding the last caller who said the Archdiocese will sell the school properties: the Archdiocese does NOT sell their property. They know too well how valuable it is, and they will rent, but they will not sell. Holly, the Archdiocese has been lobbying Albany for the tax credits/voucher program. I think they even have something on their website encouraging people to contact their legislators.
When it comes to the quality of their kids' education, most parents could care less about "religiosity" - it's mostly about costs. We are still in a bad economy, and there is no student loans for K-12 education. An extra $4,000, even if it is worth it, is a lot for a blue collar family to shell out. And again - Charter schools have been a killer.
I send my children to Catholic school in sussex county nj at a cost of over $10,000. This is a huge financial sacrifice for our family but is made b/c the education is far superior to the public school. Catholic education is becoming education for the rich. Couldn't the church explore supporting tax credits/lobbying legislators to move this along so moderate income families can continue to have better education for their children too?
I was raised as a Catholic, but have joined the Episcopal Church. I have 2 children and never considered sending them to parochial school, because the Catholic Church does not represent the values of our family.
Less Catholic children.Legal fees.Cultural disregard for religion.
Often the parish contributes to the school to supplement the income. (Cardinal Dolan said that it has nothing to do with the legal fees.)
I agree with Nick. It's a combo of factors inc financial and decreased religiosity. I will say that I went to several catholic schools, inc an all girl middle school, and I got a much better Ed than from the public high school. My kids go to a conservative Jewish school even though their Jewish dad and I are not religious. I would send my kids to a parochial school over a failing public school crippled by union politics and bad policies that'll hurt children's chances. The US SPENDS MORE$ per child than many other countries that outperform us on proff tests. It's THE TRUTH.
James, I totally get what you say about the church but the main reason for lack of enrollment is rising costs and especially - the popularity of charter schools.
I went to Catholic school, it was excellent, I think the falling enrollment is due to falling commitment to the Catholic Church. of three children Im the only regular church-goer. Weirdo born again churches and plain old apathy have taken people away from the Catholic tradition. Mega churches expand while old churches are torn down all over the country.
THe NY diocese has a great scholarship program for kids to go to Catholic schools.
Don: thanks for the anti-Catholic sentiment without any sense. Sell "one ring" and pay for what? One school for a year? Then what? A school needs to be self-sustaining. For a long time, parishes (the community of church goers) have financed part of the cost of the schools. This isn't possible any longer. The pope can't bail out every small school in very city. Let's get real and stop mud slinging.
Don: spoken as someone who apparently has not attended a Catholic school. No rock throwing NPR.
My son is a Kindergartener at a UWS catholic school. We have seen the tuition go up in the 3 years he's been there from 4k a year to 6.5k a year. I think that's making a lot of families think twice.
Perhaps people are having second thoughts on sending their children to schools associated with an institution that has repeatedly shown that it is far more interested in protecting it's own priests and their veil of holiness than the welfare of children? One can hope.
Rote memorization was the learning style for everyone years ago ... and we could use some more memorization today.
Why are Catholic schools failing? Because religion and intellectual development are inherently incompatible activites.
The Pope could sell one ring made form the gold obtained form the "New World" and keep them all open!
Enrollment is falling because people can't afford the extra tuition.
For example, if you have a school that's K-8 with only 150 children, it just can't do it. The education is considered very good. So there are now regional schools that the resources are going into. Makes sense.
Cardinal Dolan said last night that the closing of schools, which is very sad, is simply the result of not enough money and too few students. Can't do it. Many of the students aren't Catholic, which is fine, but there aren't nearly enough students to support the schools. But this is probably the last round of school closings.
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