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Showing posts with label Catholic Schools Week 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic Schools Week 2013. Show all posts

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cardinal Dolan's Plan to Save Catholic Schools

In commemoration of Catholic Schools Week, New York's Cardinal Dolan has published the column below in The Wall Street Journal.   

It is great to see attention given to the "singular benefit" of Catholic schools during this annual observance.  As we have written, if the Archbishop of New York can raise $175 million to restore his cathedral, he can surely find a way to save the only school system in New York that actually works.

Students kick off National Catholic School Week in Robstown, Texas.
Catholic schools are demonstrating, in inner-cities throughout the nation, that they are a sure path out of poverty for many low-income families.  They are also chosen by many urban families because they are an oasis of safety, provide needed structure and discipline, and present a belief system that is shared by students, parents and teachers.  That unifying philosophy - a belief in Christ - "in whom we live and move and have our being" - creates a powerfully nurturing community of love in which children thrive.  Indeed, it is a school system that is free to tell children the truth about who they are, their purpose in life, and their eternal destiny.  What better way could there be to impart the self esteem so many educators talk about these days, than to help a child grasp that he or she is the adopted son or daughter of a king?

We hope that if Cardinal Dolan truly values Catholic schools, a legacy of saints, he will do much more thinking and planning before simply regionalizing the management and operations of his schools.  That consolidation of schools into regional clusters has been tried throughout the nation since the 70's without success.  The regional school is one to which no one feels particular loyalty and "ownership," it is usually more remote and difficult for many to get to, and within a few years its numbers decline and it closes.  The Archbishop of New York need only ask officials of the neighboring Diocese of Rockville Centre about their experience with the regionalization of schools.

Catholic schools play far too great a role in the salvific mission and life of the Church than to treat them as just another social service.  They are the place where heart speaks to heart, where the future of the Church is formed, where souls realize their ineffable importance, and where the Kingdom of God is built.

The Plan to Save Catholic Schools

How to combat falling enrollment while keeping standards high.

By Cardinal Timothy Dolan
This is Catholic Schools Week, when dioceses across the country celebrate the great gifts that are our Catholic schools. It has been a somewhat somber Catholic Schools Week for me, since in the Archdiocese of New York we recently announced that 24 of our schools will be closing at the end of this academic year. According to the National Catholic Education Association, the closings will join a national trend that has seen Catholic-school enrollment in the U.S. decline by 23.4% since 2000, a loss of 621,583 students.