Year one of teaching on the Navajo reservation here in New Mexico was especially difficult. True, I lacked experience, both in education and in the socioeconomic plight of many of my students, but I think my problems were compounded by the lack of guidance on a coherent...Read More
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Andrew Seeley, director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and professor at Thomas Aquinas College.(Actually, not so recently now. It was back in October, but with teething and John Marie’s disdain for naps...Read More
Last Friday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a group of school superintendents that he thought it was “fascinating” that some opposition to the Common Core “is coming from white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – their child isn’t...Read More
Educational publishing companies across the country are scrambling to align their textbooks and resources to the new Common Core standards. A quick look at any of the major publisher websites shows a desperate effort to be adopted by schools as the new Common Core resource.
Apparently, Regina Caeli Academy, the hybrid homeschool I wrote about a couple of months ago is not alone. Homeschooling has increased 75 percent since 1999, and as homeschool families are looking for unique opportunities to enrich their children’s academic experience, they are establishing hybrid programs around the country.
Aquinas Learning Center is one such program. The program, started in Manassas, Virginia in 2009, now has four centers and 220 students. Students attend school only once a week, and parents follow the classical Catholic curriculum at home the rest of the week.Read More
Year one of teaching on the Navajo reservation here in New Mexico was especially difficult. True, I lacked experience, both in education and in the socioeconomic plight of many of my students, but I think my problems were compounded by the lack of guidance on a coherent curriculum for my students. I knew which “standards” they should master by the end of the year, but I didn’t have any specific content knowledge to teach them, nor was I told that it was important to teach them specific content. In fact, there was no grade-by-grade plan for teaching content at any school in the district.Read More
Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit gave a talk last year on using Catholic schools as the vital instruments they are in the New Evangelization. In it, he reminds Catholic schools that our primary goal is fostering wisdom and virtue in our students. He says:
Our schools need to be “vocational schools,” not in the popular sense of the term, but insofar as they help our children to discern God’s will and help them to grow in faith and courage so that they can offer to God a wholehearted “yes” in reply to his call.
This apt redefinition of the term “vocational school” reminds us of the highest purpose for which we should aim in teaching our children. “A school that is an effective instrument of the New Evangelization,” Archbishop Vigneron says, “will equip each of its students with all that is needed to offer a wholehearted “yes” to the universal call to holiness.”
With all of the demands on Catholic school teachers and principals in terms of instruction, curriculum, homework, and parent involvement, it’s easy to forget our primary mission (and I say this from experience). Archbishop Vigneron reminds us, “What we want for our students, to put the matter in its simplest form, is that they become saints.”Read More
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Andrew Seeley, director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and professor at Thomas Aquinas College.(Actually, not so recently now. It was back in October, but with teething and John Marie’s disdain for naps lasting longer than 30 minutes, this post has been in the works for a while). Dr. Seeley and I discussed the history of Catholic education, the role of Catholic schools today, and the advantages of what he calls a “liberal” education or one that is “ordered toward making men free” (instead of a vocational or technical education). He also articulated the most fair and least pugnacious critique of Common Core that I’ve come across.Read More
Here is the recording from Dr. Seeley’s October Theology on Tap talk at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Gallup, New Mexico. He discussed the history of Catholic education, the important differences between Catholic and public schools, and the type of curriculum that Catholic schools should strive for. He also gave some important insights on the type of education necessary to make students really free–a “liberal” education versus a technical one. This is a good listen if you have the time–it’s just under an hour and a half including a question and answer session at the end.Read More
After the disappointingly low standing of U.S. students in the 2012 PISA (Program for International Student Acheivement) results released last week, many are searching for reasons. One of the more popular notions I’ve seen is that universal preschool in Finland and high preschool enrollment in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, and Poland are major factors in those countries’ high performance. Based on that conviction, it may seem appropriate that one of Obama’s pet projects has been universal preschool access, however, I’m not ready to advocate pouring $10,000 per child into his program.Read More