In an age of many problematic trends in public education Catholics need to work harder to provide educational alternatives.

012214As we trend toward the end of January, Most dioceses sponsor some sort of “Catholic Schools Week” activities. With that in mind a few thoughts occur to me with regard to both the need for alternatives to public school, and the increasing difficulties related to Catholic schools.

Indeed, one of the great tragedies of modern Church life is the demise of Catholic Schools. They were founded at a time when Catholics did not want their children indoctrinated in Protestant and secular settings, largely inimical to the Catholic faith. Since faith and the salvation resulting from it was most precious gift of all, the thought of exposing their children to these dangers was of such a concern that parents, along with priests and religious made tremendous sacrifices to built, maintain and support Catholic Schools for their children.

The government, then as now, saw this as a threat, realizing that it could not easily influence Catholic children with modern sectarian notions and thereby build “good citizens” (read: loyal party members).

There were many showdowns where government officials spoke menacingly of Catholic Schools and sought to compel either public education, or to severely marginalize Catholic and other sectarian schools.

Most notably, President Ulysses Grant in 1875 indicated in a presidential address to Civil War veterans that, now that the Civil war was won, “The dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.” He was referring to the Catholic Church when he said ‘superstition’ and went on to insist that there be no funding for Catholic schools and that Church property be taxed. (quoted in McGreevy, Catholicism and American Freedom pp. 91-93).

Hence public schools, (read: government schools) have long been seen as a necessary vehicle of the secular State, and others with secular agendas, to lay hold of the minds of young people. Catholics understood this and resisted it in an era when our faith was more important to us that it collectively is today.

The demise of Catholic Schools is complex. It is not merely that Catholic parents no longer rate the handing on of the faith as important as in the past, but also that many, parents and priests alike, had come to doubt that Catholic schools were any longer doing that effectively. The handing on of the Catholic faith to the young has become difficult in a broken culture of broken families. Further, some argue that Catholic Educational leaders became too enamored of public school ideologies and techniques.

Nevertheless we need Catholic schools more than ever before, and yet, just when we need them most they are going away, closing by the hundreds every year. Some say home schooling is filling the gap. For a few, yes, but the vast majority of Catholic children now go to government run secular schools where they are daily indoctrinated with trendy and often sinful teachings to include the immoral agenda of the homosexual lobby, condom obsessed sexual “teachings” and all sorts of deconstructionist and syncretistic notions that discredit faith, the Scriptures, and the meaning of the human person, and the existence of God. There is also the exaltation of science in a way inimical to faith, bogus notions of tolerance, agenda laden curricula etc.

I was recently made aware of an article in the Reader’s Digest. And while the article has several purposes beyond the scope of this article I write, I would like to excerpt aspects of the Reader’s Digest article that pertain here and encourage you to read the rest here: American Schools Damaging Kids?. As usual, the original text of the article is in bold, black italics. My comments are in plain red text.

Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that formal education is what kids need to become productive, happy adults. Many parents do have qualms about how well schools are performing, but the conventional wisdom is that these issues can be resolved with more money, better teachers, more challenging curricula, or more rigorous tests. But what if the real problem is school itself?

Yes our public schools are failing at almost every level. But the fact is they have become a closed system wherein the goal is really not that your kid knows anything at the end of the day, but that his “ticket gets punched” and he can go to the next level of the failing school system, and then to a “noteworthy” college, and get something called a diploma that supposedly opens doors to him after getting even more pieces of paper called a Masters Degree etc.

So the point isn’t really that your kid knows anything at the end of the day, but that they get their ticket punched for access to the American scene. Obviously the less tedious the process the better, so why care about higher standards? Why care if the kid has ever read the classics, knows their times tables, or can read or write above a 5th grade level? The point isn’t skill, its the punched ticket. Its an unhealthy symbiotic agreement.

The unfortunate fact is that one of our most cherished institutions is, by its very nature, failing our children and our society.

Yes, frankly most come out our schools performing very poorly in terms of basic skills such as reading, writing, grammar, basic mathematics, and the ability to think and communicate well.

Compulsory education has been a fixture of our culture now for several generations. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are so enamored of it that they want even longer school days and years. –

And this is an old government technique, not unique to America, wherein the government wants more time with your kids than you. They want to be the main source of information, values and influence. Why? Power, party loyalty, an ability to craft the future and and bring the citizenry in line.

…Schools as we know them today are a product of history, not of research. The blueprint for them was developed during the Protestant Reformation, when schools were created to teach children to read the Bible, to believe Scripture without questioning it, and to obey authority figures without questioning them. –

Fair enough, the earliest schools in this country were founded with this religious purpose, prior to the American Revolution when most of the colonies had an official religious loyalty. But after the Revolution and the Constitution, things went more secular:

When schools were taken over by the state, made compulsory, and directed toward secular ends, the basic structure and methods of teaching remained unchanged. Subsequent attempts at reform have failed because they haven’t altered the basic blueprint…. The top-down, teach-and-test method, in which learning is motivated by a system of rewards and punishments rather than by curiosity or by any real desire to know, is well designed for indoctrination and obedience training but not much else. …

As a society, we tend to shrug off such findings. We’re not surprised that kids are unhappy in school. Some people even believe that the very unpleasantness of school is good for children, so they will learn to tolerate unpleasantness as preparation for real life. But there are plenty of opportunities to learn to tolerate unpleasantness without adding unpleasant schooling to the mix. Research has shown that people of all ages learn best when they are self-motivated, pursuing answers to questions that reflect their personal interests and achieving goals that they’ve set for themselves.

The article goes on to encourage other methods separate from government schools. To which I utter a hearty Amen.

My “Amen” is not regarding methodologies of education, (I am NOT a pedagogical expert);  but anything we can do to dismantle the secular and/or government stranglehold over modern education which has become little less than indoctrination and a big money grab is to be encouraged.

Am I too cynical? You decide. Comments are open both for rebuttals and different options.

Yes, I deeply regret the loss of Catholic schools but admit that too many of them had become weak on faith and were mere clones of the government schools. This is not true everywhere, but sadly it was too often the case. We can only pray that the ones that do remain open will focus on being true alternatives to government schools where the Catholic Faith is effectively handed on. In the mean time it can only be hoped that Americans in general and Catholics in particular become more sober about the increasingly negative trends in public (government) education. Higher priority needs to be given to Catholic alternatives.

The Future of Catholic Schools Depends on Bold and Creative Intiatives. Here are Two.

It is no secret that Catholic Schools are in a very serious economic struggle for survival. Many are closing. In the early 1960s there were 5.2 million children in over 13,000 Catholic Schools nationwide. In 1960, in New York City alone, there were 360,000 Students in Catholic Schools. Last year, nationwide, there were just over 2 million students, and over 6,000 schools have closed since 1970. The number continues to drop steeply. [1] Only bold and creative initiatives can save what we currently have, and instill a hope that our schools might even grow again.

The videos at the bottom of this post show two Catholic schools that are adjusting to the realities of current times in order to survive and grow. The first video is of the Don Bosco Cristo Rey Catholic High School, here in the Archdiocese of Washington. The School is an example of a bold and relatively new approach to making Catholic Education affordable and accessible to lower income families. The second video features St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, MD. They are featuring a classics based program in an economically challenged neighborhood, not far from the University of Maryland.

It is clear that such bold and fresh attempts are going to be increasingly necessary if Catholic Education is going to be available to more than just the upper economic classes.

There have been a number of trends which have negatively affected Catholic Schools in recent decades, ans these trends have both driven up costs and limited the number of those who can afford Catholic Schools:

  1. The decline in religious vocations of orders that traditionally staffed our schools. While it is true we could never (in justice) pay these orders the pennies to teach we once did, it remains true that the large numbers of religious that filled convents and priories created economies of scale that once permitted these orders to provide qualities teachers, in large numbers, at remarkably low costs. For, these religious were not raising families or owning homes. Their personal expenses were limited by a communal and simple life. Today, not only are there fewer numbers, but those who remain able to teach are having to support large numbers of retired religious, and it is simply not possible for them to receive the small salaries of the past.
  2. Hence the cost savings of the past, provided by ample and generous service by Religious Orders is largely gone. Lay people have taken their place, who, for obvious reasons need larger salaries and benefits in order to be able to afford to work in our schools. Those Religious who remain, also require substantial salaries for the reasons explained.
  3. Education itself costs more. In the past basic implements such as books, desks and chalkboards sufficed. Today innumerable other things and personnel are needed: computers, up to date software, Prometheus boards, physical education equipment, school counselors, nurses, special education experts, testing materials and compliance related expenses to meet accreditation standards, foreign language curricula to stay competitive, science labs, music programs, and so forth. The days of the three “Rs” are gone, and have been replaced by the days of the multivariate alphabet soup of modern education. Get out your check books.
  4. Buildings are aging. From the early 1900s through the early 1960s the Catholic Church built and built: schools, churches, convents, hospitals, orphanages, rectories, seminaries and on and on. These buildings have aged. The youngest of the buildings, from the building boom age, are 50 years old, most older. In the just the last two years I have spent almost $200,000 on my 1925 school building, in repairs and necessary renovations. That’s more than it cost to build it back in 1925. My parish is but one example. Other parishes have worse stories to tell. The cost of asbestos abatement 15 years ago utterly devastated many Catholic Parishes. Buildings, what a blessing, what a burden. Get out your check books!
  5. Birthrates have dropped in Catholic families. The number of Catholics coming to Mass has declined to 27%. And, though the number of people who say the are Catholic has increased from the 1950s, the actual number in our pews and schools has sharply decreased.  The resulting fact is that there are just less children knocking on the door.
  6. As costs go up, attendance decreases. Overhead is shared by fewer people. Economies of scale are lost. Schools begin to loose critical mass and the finances become downright impossible. Usually, after years of hemorrhaging money, they close. But before they close, get out your check books.
  7. Simply the fact that the Catholic Faith was taught in our schools was once enough reason for most parents to send their kids. But this is no longer the case. Surveys have shown for several decades that the teaching of the Catholic faith has dropped to 3 0r 4 on the list of why Catholics send their kids to our schools. Quality education and safe environment rank ahead. Frankly, handing on the faith is less important to many parents today than it once was. Further, many question whether we effectively teach the faith in our schools.

And so it is, we have become stuck in a cycle of increasing cost and tuition, declining attendance and an increasingly skewed state, wherein only the wealthy and upper middle class can afford Catholic Catholic education.

But, of course, running private schools isn’t really our fundamental mission.

Catholic schools in this country were originally founded to assure that the Catholic faith was handed on to Catholic children, and that they be protected from the largely Protestant influenced public schools. I DID attend public school and, as late as the late 1960s, we still read from the King James Bible and prayed the Protestant Lord’s Prayer every morning along with the pledge, all this done by the Principal over the school intercom. There were still, even at that late date, things in our history books that were blatantly anti-Catholic: (e.g. that the Puritans can to seek religious freedom from, among other scandalous things “popery”). Hence, the Catholic Schools were founded to propagate the Catholic faith among our children. Many argue today that our schools no longer do this effectively, but that is another blog post in itself. Be that said, Catholic Schools cannot work miracles in handing on the faith if families are not reinforcing the faith at home.

Another mission of the Catholic Schools has been social justice. Many students who could not get quality education from the state schools, found refuge and quality in Catholic Schools. In the evil days of “separate but equal,” the Catholic Schools were among the first to integrate. Even prior to that, many Catholic Schools were open in African American parishes that provided quality education for the children of those parishes. In more recent years, as the State-run schools, especially in inner cities, have become corrupt and seemingly irredeemable,  Catholic Schools provided a necessary shelter from the public schools and from the nightmare that they have largely become. This is part of the social justice aspect that Catholic Schools have often provided.

But, for the reasons stated, much of this is threatened as costs go out of sight. More than ever Catholic Schools are needed. For now, it is not the Protestant influence that is the problem, it is the pagan influence that has taken hold of many state (public) schools. Likewise, as public schools continue to get worse in many cities and poorer areas, Catholic alternatives are needed as never before. But in all areas, Catholic schools are closing in large numbers and quickly.

New visions are needed if Catholic Education is to have a future as anything but elite private schools for the rich.

The Don Bosco Cristo Rey Catholic High School proposes once such model. In it the students are sponsored by local businesses. The students engage in a kind of work-study program where they attend school on a scholarship from the business, and then work part time for that business in return. Thus, not only do they get a quality Catholic Education, but they also gain valuable work experience, and start their resume early. The school serves low income families. This year the 100% of the seniors have been accepted by colleges.

Clearly this model depends on a lot of connections to the local business community to work and may not be easily replicated on a large scale. But it IS one model. If we are going to keep Catholic education available, both as a matter of the faith and of social justice, we are going to have to work hard and be very creative to keep it affordable. The Don Bosco Cristo Rey School is a great example of that ingenuity and creativity necessary.

Other models will need to be tried as well, models that include niche marketing. Until recently Catholic Schools were largely all cut from the same cloth. In other words, they are almost all the same. But there may also be need to provide a variety of packages to the community to be sure our schools stand out. Perhaps some schools can become single-sex campuses. Others can focus on math, science, languages or the arts. Still others can do a “back to basics, no-frills” curriculum. Others, such as St. Jerome Academy, the second video in this post,  can offer a basis in classical education. In so doing these schools can broaden their appeal beyond the physical boundaries of the parish, and reach into the wider community. Some schools can also consider trying to connect with the home school movement so popular among many Catholic families today.

But it is clear that Catholic Schools are going to have to adapt to a very different economic reality if they hope to survive. They are also going to have to choose careful niches in order to attract students. Simply the fact of handing on the faith to children was once enough reason to fill Catholic Schools. Today, (sadly), that is not enough. More is needed to attract students. And creative economic solutions are necessary to keep the doors open to lower income families.

What are your thoughts? Why are Catholic Schools closing? What can be done to save them? What bold and creative initiatives have you seen?

Vouchers Stand a Good Chance of Revival in a Republican Response to the State of the Union

From POLITICO comes the news that school vouchers (aka opportunity scholarships) will re-emerge as a key political and social issue in the aftermath of the State of the Union Speech tonight.  Vouchers allow students who qualify to leave failing public schools and attend parochial or private schools. They take with them most of the tax money set aside for their education and that money pays their tuition in the private or parochial school. In the District of Columbia a limited voucher program had helped a number of Catholic Schools in the city to survive. Their survival has been gravely threatened when the Democratic Congress refused to renew the program in 2008. The Obama Administration completely defunded the program in the 2010 budget. With yet another sea change in congressional power back to Republican control, it looks like vouchers stand a good chance of renewal in the District and perhaps elsewhere. Here are excerpts from the Politico article:

The day after President Barack Obama makes education a centerpiece of his State of the Union address, House Speaker John Boehner will try to force his hand on the issue of school vouchers in Washington, D.C. as a test of the White House’s commitment to bipartisanship.

The Ohio Republican, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), will introduce legislation on Wednesday to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, the speaker’s office said Monday, making a school voucher initiative that Democrats, including Obama, have strongly opposed as a bargaining chip for beginning discussions on the administration’s desired education proposals. 

“If the president is sincere about working together on education reform, we should start by saving this successful, bipartisan program that has helped so many underprivileged children get a quality education,” Boehner said in a statement to POLITICO…..

Teachers unions have fought against the voucher program and Obama’s budget pulled funding for new scholarships after 2010…..

Obama is unlikely to showcase the program in his State of the Union address Tuesday night when he calls for reform and additional spending on education initiatives. But Boehner is planning to make it difficult for the president to ignore the issue.

 The speaker’s guests in the House gallery will include a student, parent and teacher from each of the four D.C. Catholic schools that participate in the program. About 50 D.C. schools participate in the program overall.

 The GOP’s outline of its top priorities, the “Pledge to America,” does not mention education. The D.C. vouchers funding could be the only bill Boehner authors all year, his office said to stress how important he views the program, and he is not co-sponsoring any legislation this Congress

Read the complete article here:

 This is hopeful news for poor children in DC and is also a potential lifeline for Catholic Schools in the city many of which are struggling financially. Stay tuned and pray!

Co-collaborators with Jesus the teacher

At a certain point on my daily commute I end up behind a Metro bus. I need to make a turn just past the stop and so I tend to just sit behind the bus while it is unloading and loading passengers. For the past ten days or so the ad on the back of the bus is the Archdiocesan ad celebrating Catholic Schools Week. It got me reminiscing about my days in Catholic school (12 years to be exact) and my most favorite and least favorite teachers.

It is a vocation

In the least favorite category is my second grade teacher-who even to an eight-year old- seemed to be a very unhappy person. One day, I shared with my mother that  “I hate her!”  Well, my mother had a few things to say about that: Firstly, hate is not something that “we” do.  If we love Jesus, we do not hate people. Secondly, she asked me to consider what a day in the life of my teacher looks like. She arrives at school early after having prepared lots of different activities to help us to learn. She has 25 some students who all learn in different ways and she has to try to have lessons that incorporate all of these differences, She spends the whole day in a classroom with all of us whether she is feeling great or feeling sick, whether she has lots of energy or is tired. Then at the end of  the day she goes home to take care of her own family and do more work to get ready for the next day. I’m sure my Mom had more to say, but you get the idea. The fact that I am writing about this some forty-years later makes it obvious that I got what my Mom was saying. Teaching is hard work and first and foremost, teachers are to be respected.  For something that seems so obvious, I wonder why as a society we so undervalue the teaching profession. That’s fodder for a thousand blogs, but this one is a request to identify and celebrate the great women and men who are teaching in our schools this year.

The Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the Golden Apple Awards which will be presented to 10 of our best teachers on May 13. This award exists in only five dioceses(Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Harrisburg, Toledo) and has it s origins in the gratitude that the Pittsburgh-based Donahue Family had for the teachers that educated their 13 children!

Someone you know

A teacher can be nominated by their colleagues, parents, and students. A committee at each school will review the nominations for that school and select an individual to represent the school in the archdiocese-wide competition. Nomination forms can be picked up at school or found here.

If you are a parent of a Catholic school student, pick the best teacher and complete a nomination. If you teach in one of our schools, why not nominate the teacher who has served as a mentor, if you are a student, why not start a campaign for your favorite teacher.

Called to be a co-collaborator with Jesus the Teacher

If you are someone wondering about teaching and teaching in Catholic school,  take some time to pray and discern if this might be the vocation to which the Lord is calling you. Happily, for some people, spending the whole day in a classroom full of kids is pure joy and it shows!

It’s Catholic Schools Week – and I’ve got stress

As Catholic Schools Week comes to a snowy end, I’ve got stress! Brothers and sisters, I work at a school whose original mission in 1828 was to “Teach the children of slaves to read the Bible.” Clearly, the foundress of my school, Mother Mary Lange, OSP, saw a dire need for ministry to the neglected and used the concept of a Catholic education to address that need. Despite the reality that her ministry was against the law in the slave state of Maryland and that most of her students could not really afford the tuition (approximately $1.00 per year) I now have a job because of her efforts.

Many still cannot afford Catholic Schools

In studying the story of the foundress of St. Frances Academy and the Oblate Sisters of Providence, I find myself under a bit of stress. On a positive note, I am convinced that my faculty and staff, as well as the faculties and staffs of others urban schools like mine, have matched the resolve of 1828 in ensuring that a Catholic education is available to those who might not otherwise get one. On the other hand, I have got stress because Mother Lange depended on the generosity of others to fulfill her mission. She depended on clergy, religious congregations and parishes for money and at times, a place to live and teach. I’ve got stress because I wonder if that support is waning.

My brother’s keeper

As the principal of urban high school, I have countless stories of generosity with regards to my school.  Nonetheless, not everyone understands their responsibility to support Catholic education.  For example, as the elementary school at my parish in Hyattsville began to experience financial challenges, I heard more than few parishioners comment, “I don’t have a child there. I want my money to go to the Church.” My response was that if your money goes to a Catholic school, it is going to the Church! More specifically, it is going to the Church’s future.

One Body, One Church:

Many of the benefactors of my school are alumni but many others did not graduate from Saint Frances. They may have graduated from another Catholic school and now want to help a new and different generation build their faith. Some did not go to Catholic school at all but want to make sure this generation has the choice. A few are not even Catholic but simply recognize that Catholic schools make our community a better place.

I have never been incarcerated, but I fully support prison ministry. I have never directly experienced a crisis pregnancy but I support Catholic pregnancy centers. Just because I don’t have a child in my parish or regional school doesn’t mean that it is not a vital ministry in our Church.

Catholic School Graduates, Step Up!

My challenge to you, especially if you benefited from a Catholic education, is that if you have not contributed to a Catholic school, consider a gift. It doesn’t have to be a gift to the one you attended. The one you attended may be relatively wealthy so, find on that isn’t.  Any Catholic school that needs your help will do. Remember, all of us benefit from Catholic schools, even if you never set foot in one.

A Portrait of Catholic Schools

Catholic Schools today are very special places where the faith is handed on and children are summoned to discover their talents and gifts. There is a kind of rhythm of life that marks the Catholic School year, centered around the Liturgical year and also the many routines that are essential to school days. It’s not just the books and learning, it’s the visit of the priests, it’s trips. It is the tag days (uniform free), it’s recess, it’s going to mass, stations of the cross and the rosary. It’s school plays and dressing up as saints. Ultimately it’s about the formation of the young person in the ways of faith, parish and family.

Pray for Catholic schools, they are special places that are threatened today by market forces of rising costs and declining affordability. If you’re an alumnus support your Catholic School Alma Mater, if you’re a parishioner pray and work for you local Catholic School. They are worth supporting and preserving and our help is needed as never before.

This video is entitled “Mr R’s Class” and depicts Catholic School life well.

Catholic Schools

The Archdiocese of Washington is working very hard to preserve Catholic Education. We are organizing finances and people to ensure a future for Catholic Education in the Archdiocese. The challenges are significant but our commitment is real. Before sharing some of the details of the plan I would like to reflect on some of the background issues that have put Catholic Schools in jeopardy.

  1. The decline in the number of practicing Catholics. While it is true that the overall number of Americans who call themselves Catholic has increased over the years, the percentage number of practicing Catholics has continued to drop. Currently just less than 30% of Catholics attend Mass every Sunday. Back in the 1950s when most of our schools were built and quite full the number of practicing Catholics was just over 80%
  2. Smaller family sizes. I am only 48 years old, but back when I was a kid it was common for families to have 4 – 5 children. Some families had even more. Today, 1- 2 children is the norm.  Contraception (and Abortion too) have made surely devastated the ranks of “future Catholics.”  Today, many people think it is crazy or impossible to have more than a two kids. But most never consider how this significantly depletes our future. I look at some of our 1st communion classes at St. Cyprian (my parish). Back in the 1950s there were over 200 children each year. This year we had twelve. Other parishes may have less steep declines but most parishes soimply have less children than 50 years ago.
  3. Steep declines in vocations – especially to orders of women religious. Catholic schools of 50 years ago where almost entirely staffed by women religious who, frankly, received little pay. This kept tuition very low and made Catholic Education possible for even the very poor. Today however we employ an almost completely lay staff who must be paid more, paid a just wage. This is the most significant cause of escalating tuition rates. An essentially free staff has given way to a staff that must be paid a living and just wage. Even if the Sisters came back in force we could never pay them the pittance they once got. They, like us have medical expenses, retired sisters to care for and so on.
  4. Parish sizes have decreased. There are some parishes in new suburbs that continue to grow in size, but many older parishes have seen declines in attendance over the years. This too means that the ability for smaller parishes to afford to run schools has also diminished. In the past large parishes could devote larger sums to maintain school buildings and provide tuition assistance and other support to the school. This is less often the case today.
  5. Aging buildings – The cost of maintaining buildings often built more than 50 years ago continues to climb. Catastrophic costs such as roof replacements and HVAC  often mount.
  6. As tuition has gone up over the years, the number who can afford it has declined. Tuition assistance filled the gaps at first but now much more is needed. As tuition rates climb above $5,000 per child in most schools the numbers of students drops, especially in working class neighborhoods. Available tuition assistance has not kept up with all that is required to help everyone have access to Catholic Education.
  7. So the bottom line is that, as costs continue to rise and  family sizes of practicing Catholics continue to decrease the number of children available and able to afford our schools continues to drop.  Higher costs mean higher tuition  which drives even more students away. We are in danger of running schools that only the wealthy can afford. This is not really our mission. We have traditionally run excellent schools that were accessible by all. Changes are necessary.

With all this in mind I would like to refer you to the following communique issued by the Archdiocese of Washington:

Looking to the Future with Confidence – New Policies for Catholic Schools

If Catholic schools are going to survive they must become the shared responsibility of the entire Archdiocese. Until now parishes have shared the financial burden of Catholic Schools unevenly. That is beginning to change with this policy. Parishes that do not currently have or contribute to a Catholic School will asked to contribute more. The Archdiocese is also committed to finding further tuition assistance. The Archdiocese of Washington remains committed to providing schools with strong Catholic Identity, academic excellence. Schools that are accessible and affordable. Please pray and work with you r parish to ensure the future of Catholic Education.

The following video was filmed by the archdiocese of Chicago but it provides some reminiscences of Catholic education from the past along with images from the present.

Navigating the high school years in faith, hope, and love

When my sister was a new mother and learning how to be the best Mom and the best employee, she was given one piece of advice that she didn’t forget. She was told that though popular opinion is that it is more important to be at home when your kids are young (if you are fortunate enough to be able to have a choice), most experts on raising children will tell you the high school years are the most critical. Why? It’s when our kids are beginning to have more freedom, when they are spending more time with friends and when they are beginning to really think seriously about how they want to “shape” their personalities. It is then that parents need to be really attentive to what is going on in their child’s world. What Mom or Dad doesn’t talk about how much they learn driving their kids around and listening to their kids’ conversations when the kids forget that the chauffer might be listening!


Given what our kids confront in high school, who wouldn’t want the best possible school environment. Catholic High Schools offer a great environment and the gift of faith. Our Catholic schools are steeped in the great tradition of Catholic education that is at the heart of the Church’s mission. Just a year age, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to American Catholic Educators at Catholic University and said:

             God’s revelation offers every generation the opportunity to discover the ultimate truth about its own life and the goal of history. This task is never easy; it involves the entire   Christian community and motivates each generation of Christian educators to ensure that the power of God’s truth permeates every dimension of the institutions they serve. In this   way, Christ’s Good News is set to work, guiding both teacher and student towards the objective truth which…points to the universal and absolute that enables us to proclaim with confidence the hope which does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5:5). Set against personal  struggles, moral confusion and fragmentation of knowledge, the noble goals of scholarship and education, founded on the unity of truth and in service of the person and the community, become an especially powerful instrument of hope.


 If you are thinking about the value of Catholic education and are wondering what sets our Catholic High Schools apart, please plan to come to one of our school fairs to learn more and to see how faith, hope and love come alive in our schools.

2009 Regional Catholic High School Fairs:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852
(White Flint Metro; use Executive Boulevard entrance for complimentary parking)

  • Thursday, April 30, 2009, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
    Marriott Greenbelt
    6400 Ivy Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770
    (Greenbelt Metro; Beltway Exit 23-Kenilworth Avenue, left onto Ivy Lane; complimentary parking)
  • Sunday, May 3, 2009, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
    Trinity University’s
    Main Hall
    125 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC
    (Brookland-CUA Metro; complimentary parking on-site)

For more information go to