A Lifeline for Minorities, Catholic Schools Retrench

“‘I think it is a mistake to say the charter schools will fill the void left by parochial schools,’ said Dr. Noguera, whose research has focused on the achievement of black and Latino boys, adding, ‘It is a huge void that unfortunately the public schools cannot fill because they do not have the same values and culture.’"

Indeed. Another effect of the Catholic schooling crisis in America.

nytimes.com/2013/06/21/nyregion/as-archdioceses-schools-retrench-worries-grow-for-a-building-block-for-minority-students.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130621

Gee, I wonder why nobody can afford catholic schools anymore AND pay the real estate taxes going to support the bloated public school system to the tune of $14,000 per student at the same time.

Duh. The public system is “too big to fail” and has been determined to stamp out private alternatives for decades. They’re closer and closer to success too. Too bad they don’t try so hard at actually educating kids!

Teacher’s unions and others refuse to allow school choice via vouchers. They know that if children’s families control the dollars, the weak public schools will lose students. The reality is that it’s NOT about the best result for the children.

Catholic schools have a particular problem in that past teaching and administrative staff often consisted of Priests and Religious. Now these schools are paying professional salaries and benefits for professional teachers. Much as I know the schools in this area would love to accommodate more students, finances get in the way.

If ONLY they would let children’s families make decisions and control the dollars, I think there would be more options and better schools.

Anyone else get a load of that horrible teacher’s union president from Chicago…it’s all the fault of rich white people that Chicago has one of the worst records for graduating students and student achievement…right…:shrug: She’s put her foot in it more than once but imagine firing a black female no matter how poor her performance? Fuggedaboutit

Lisa

There are pros and cons concerning both teachers’ unions and charter schools, and what works well for the benefit of students and teachers in one region of the country may not work so well in another. The thing is, however, what happens to all the students who are not fortunate enough to receive vouchers to go to private schools? What do the “pro-choice” advocates say about that? Further, what will happen to the private schools when classes become too large, as they often are in public schools, and teachers have to educate those students with vouchers who may be under-prepared? I think there are several issues to consider here.

I don’t know about where you are, but here in Indiana our schools are anything but bloated as funding for our public schools has been cut severely. Every year my grade moves up, the honers classes available to the previous grade are cut. None of the money the state government “found” a while ago whent back to the schools.

Sure but the point is that ALL students would get the choice by controlling the “Per Child” allocation. The reality though is that there would probably be more kids wanting certain schools than available slots. They had this problem in Washington DC where the schools are apparently really dreadful. Ironic that the Congress and Presidents who vote that other people’s kids don’t get to choose, send THEIR kids to high priced private schools like the Obama girls going to Sidwell Friends’ school.

BTW not speaking of just charter schools but also religious schools, specialty schools (we have a French American, German American and Spanish American schools here) and any options to public schools. I just do not believe geography should be destiny for children. Those stuck in horrible districts without the funds to go to private schools are the casualties of the public school juggernaut. They don’t HAVE to improve because the students have no choice. If these same kids had their dollars to spend in the “marketplace” I think it would force these schools to improve or die.

BTW why would you think public schools can do a better job with underprepared students than can private/parochial/charter schools?

Lisa

Just to take a shot at your last question, Lisa, perhaps since so many students are under-prepared in public schools, at least there is a more homogeneous student environment, whereas in private schools, assuming many of the students already there are up to speed in the basics, it would create a heterogeneous environment with the newly-admitted students, which, as any teacher can tell you, is more difficult to educate, especially if class size becomes larger.

Where I live parents can 'school of choice" their kids to another school within a district or to another district altogether. Unfortunately, many of those districts are also struggling and aren’t really an upgrade. We also have the Charter School option, but parents must provide transportation.

My children attend a Charter School. I love it! They have moral focus as part of the curriculum for all grades, but it’s not religious based. Better than the total lack of any moral focus in the public schools here, though. My children came from the public schools being told they were at or above grade level expectations and the average class size was 38 students.

The Charter School said they were actually either barely reaching grade level expectations or were behind and the average class size was 20 students. To rectify the problem the school had my children sacrifice an elective to be tutored in reading and then spend 3 hours a week after school in teacher supervised tutoring for math. Much different from the peer based fun fest the public schools called after school tutoring without any teacher supervision at all.

I have noticed a huge difference between the union teachers at the local public schools and at the charter school, where the teachers are not union. The Charter School teachers come in earlier to supervise the students, stay later to tutor or to supervise students waiting for parent pick up. They also respond to calls and emails within a few hours and are very willing to meet with parents anytime for any reason. In the public schools I would literally wait weeks and have to call multiple times to get a call back for something as simple as asking how my student was doing, if there was any missed work, etc. Heck, when my kids missed an assignment they were emailing and calling me immediately!

I will never go back to the regular public school district.

I do wish, though, that the state would treat Catholic schools as a Charter School and allow parent tax dollars to pay tuition there.

You’re falling for a classic political gambit. Research deeper. Is the superintendent taking a pay cut? Does he get fewer District staff? Have they shopped for lower price consultants or are they still hiring the same sweethearts at no-bid rates they’ve been using for years?

The classic ploy is to cut services moderately popular among influential people. Thus, honors programs go, not the football team (can’t have Bubbas storming the board meeting…) Then people knuckle under to the tax increase referendum proposed for the purpose of “restoring honors programs.” It’s a shell game.

My kids attend a catholic school that provides them a top notch education at a cost of just over $4,000/year. My local public school district spends $14,000/kid per year and can’t come close. Some of that is because private schools don’t have to take expensive cases (learning disabilities, discipline problems, etc). But an awful lot is bloat.

Our IL pols play the same game with state parks frequently. Times get tough and they tell us they must close a beloved state park to save money. Local folks dig in via FOIA requests and discover that said state park brought in more revenue the previous year via camping and use fees than it cost to operate. Oops. Busted. Typical.

:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Very true. I think we are all aware of the EXPLOSION of administrative staff at public schools. I know there are howls about class size or dollars spent per student, neither of which track with student achievement or graduation rates.

We had a school bond recently that passed :mad: but as usual the threats to lay off dozens of teachers, cut all extracurricular activities other than some of the sports, etc. No discussion about all of the aides and assistants and multiple Vice Principals.

I do understand that the concept of mainstreaming kids that might have been in a special school in the past adds a real burden on teachers. As you said, the public schools have to take more of the difficult kids and those with learning issues, behavior problems, etc which makes life more difficult. But again, if school choice were truly available, some of these kids might be placed in an alternative school that fit their needs better.

I just find it the height of Leftist thought that one may have choice in any sexual activity, and choice of what to do to prevent or terminate a pregnancy. But the same children who have the “choice” for Plan B at age 10 don’t get to choose their schools (or their lightbulbs or in some cases what they bring for lunch!)

It must be quite the balancing act to justify simultaneously taking two opposite positions :smiley:

Lisa

This sounds fabulous! I do want to point out, however, that there may be problems with sustainability. Burn-out rates for K-12 teachers are ridiculously high and while as a parent I’d love to know that my daughter’s teacher was responding to me almost immediately and the like, as a teacher (not K-12) it sounds terrifying. Teaching is a noble profession and one that many excel at, but no one should have to sacrifice his or her non-work life to be a good teacher. And when young, inspired teachers determine this for themselves, they leave the profession. That’s sad, since they often have so much to offer. I’d say this is one of several problems with sliding education into the marketplace.

And of course, there still remains the greater problem of Catholic catechizing not occurring at the rate it once did because Catholic schools are closing. Sad.

Well, I haven’t heard of tax increasing to try and save the English honors classes. Only the difficulty of the normal English class. The middle school Home Ec ceased to exist when I was in 5th grade, and we were the last class who took Careers. And don’t get me started on all the field trips we missed out on in middle school, and no longer exist for the elementary kids. The problem American public schools have is they have to try and educate everyone, if the student wants to learn or not. Though I guess I shouldn’t complain much since my schools done much better than some other local schools, as out eighteen Academic Team State Championships and numerous Runner-Ups will testify. It would be kinda weird for my parents to send me to Catholic School considering we’re not Catholic. I don’t know of any Catholic High Schools out here in Amish land, but my schools pretty much unofficialy Christian. One of this year senior’s parents enrolled her in my school for this very reason, despite them living literally just down the school from a rival High School. All they had to do was provide transportation for her to and from school since the busses don’t go out of the district. I know one of my friends went to a a private school for elementary school, maybe I should ask him how we compare. :shrug:

Most of the teachers at my kids school have been teaching there for years. If I am not mistaken, the school opened 6 years ago. Quite a few have been there since the beginning. From my observations as a parent, they manage to remain dedicated and don’t burn out due to technology made available to them and due to increased parent involvement.

In the regular public schools the teachers commonly come in early, leave on time or a bit late, and spend the evening doing a boatload of paperwork, grading papers, catching up on emails, updating the school parent portal (website for parents to track assignments and grades) for each individual student. Usually, they give up on updating the parent portal by October.

At the Charter School, the teachers have tablets issued by the school. They stay connected during the entire day and are able to much more efficiently handle email correspondence. They are constantly connected to parents and to each other. Each grade has a Dean. The teachers for that grade send notices to the Dean via tablet. The Dean waits for parents to come pick up or drop off their students. She accesses her student list and students who have had a behavior problem or missed assignments will be at the top of the list blinking red. She touches the student name and knows about the problem so that she can catch the parent and pass on the information.

The children do most of their work on school laptops, which eliminates most manual grading and makes entering grades into the record and updating the parent portal much more efficient. Literally done with a few mouse clicks. For example, most of my daughters math and science work was done at school or at home on the computer. The program corrects the assignment, automatically enters the grade into the record and then updates the parent portal.

Because of the efficiency of the system, even accounting for volunteering to tutor, supervise students waiting for pick up or drop off, and participating in sports programs, these teachers actually work less total hours per week than the ones in the regular public schools. And, from what I understand, their pay is a bit higher and the benefits packages are equal or better than what they would get working for the local district.

Frankly, parents are much more involved at the Charter School, which is a great help to the teachers. A lot of the parents at the regular district school ship their kids off on the bus and don’t have contact with the teachers until conference time, if even then. Because you have to register, re-register every year, drop off and pick up every day and because participation in conferences and volunteering for at least one event during the year is mandatory, parents are more involved and more committed at the Charter School.

I do still wish the local Catholic schools could act as charter Schools, though. It’d be nice to have the option of religious education.

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