The Role Of The Church In Eliminating the delivery of inferior education to the poor to benefit the rich. It will be the role of the Catholic Church, Historical Black Churches and professional Americans, Black and White working together to eliminate Eugenics from the curriculum and belief systems of educators. Outstanding men and women are changing the face and direction of education in America. Professionals are teaching the poor and turning around our education system. The question becomes what will happen to America when we no longer have the poor, can a nation dependent on poverty handle a fully achieving society?

a panel of journalists and educators convened at Columbia University’s Teachers College, some years ago,  to discuss education in New York City. The term “social justice” popped up again and again throughout the conversation. The discussion focused on public schools, charter schools and Catholic schools. Many Catholic schools teach students in highly disadvantaged areas and provide a low-cost education that, according to one of the panelist of a research center located at Teachers College, Columbia University, leads to more equitable educational outcomes and far outperforms local public schools.
Joseph Viteritti, a professor at Hunter College, pointed to the fact that 80 percent of Catholic school students graduate. Freedman, a Journalism professor at Columbia University, noted that Catholic schools places students on the track of a path to the middle class for many of their students.
This group did not get into the discussion of what is wrong with the New York City educational system, or what could be done to improve the situation. It discussed alternative ways in which parents are struggling to provide a quality education for their children. Little or no discussion on the role the teachers played in this debate or who this debate influenced how they feel about their teaching roles. There was some hint that Catholic school teachers and Charter school teachers were bringing something different to the education experience of students. There was also the suggestion that any improvement or major change in the educational system in New York City could significantly affect private, parochial and charter schools.
This article provided some recommendation for further research into the question of why New York City has so many educational systems for its students and why?
Interesting questions came out about why Catholic schools are needed for their successful educational model to continue to exist. What would be the results of some of the catholic schools in new York City were taken over and operated as publicly funded charter schools? The question was could the public schools copy the successful model of the catholic schools, and what elements of the Catholic educational model can be emulated by public schools, and could this work in the “No Child Left Behind” directive? These questions suggests that the increase of charter schools in urban neighborhoods has had a detrimental effect on the enrollment in Catholic schools. The question becomes whether parents were placing their children in Catholic schools because of a religious need, or was the placement due to educational expectations from teachers.
Viteritti acknowledged that the core values of the schools don’t necessarily need to be religious. But, he said, “to take religion out of religious schools takes away their identity.” McCloskey described the “moral universe” that Catholic schools establish as a way of separating the educational environment from the “street culture.” A religious context isn’t necessary to establish that emphasis on values, he said, but it is easier to do when a religious element is present.
Vitteritti also emphasized the value of Catholic schools in a society that values religious pluralism. And, he said, in many of the poorer communities served by parochial schools, religion is frequently a glue for the communities and that gives Catholic schools a special stature.
There are some elements of the Catholic model of education that can be emulated by public schools, however. Freedman pointed to the strong rejection of the “culture of low expectations.” The requirements that every student apply to college and the resistance to the practice of tracking students, for example, are policies that Freedman said have a great impact on the educational outcomes of Catholic school students that could be replicated easily in public schools.
Freedman also added an interesting side note about the coverage of Catholic education in the New York media. Coverage of Catholic schools frequently slips through the cracks between the religion and education beats, Freedman said, and busy journalists’ attention focuses on public schools because they’re supported by public funds and because of the sheer number of students enrolled in them. (Freedman cited the work of David Gonzalez at the New York Times as an exception.)
Freedman discussed the kinds of stories that journalists write about Catholic schools. “When Catholic schools close, the default position is a sob story,” he said. And while it is in some ways a sob story, he continued, “hard questions also need to be asked.” He listed some of these questions: how do we conceive of social justice questions with regards to Catholic education? What’s the interest of New York’s Catholic population in keeping the schools open? Many heavily Catholic populations (including Irish, Polish, Italian and German groups) are becoming increasingly middle class – where are they and are they supporting the schools? Which Catholic schools are succeeding at fundraising? If they’re not succeeding, why not?
The charter school take-over of Catholic schools, of course, adds a whole new set of questions to the discussion. What elements of the Catholic school culture will the schools carry with them in their new incarnations? What will happen to Catholic school teachers who aren’t certified to teach in public schools? And will this have an impact on the already somewhat competitive relationship between Catholic schools and charters in the same neighborhoods? Washington, D.C. converted seven parochial schools into charters last year and it will be interesting to watch how this plays out in New York.
— Maura Walz

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