An Open Letter, Part II: Our Writer Responds

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Editor's Note: The author of this post wishes to remain anonymous because (s)he is currently employed at a Catholic High School.  His/her identity has been verified by CatholicHow.

Yesterday, a Facebook follower of Catholic How made this statement after reading the “Open Letter” to Catholic High School Principals and Presidents:

Really, I’d say that’s about the same as you’d hear from a public school teacher.

Our poster responded in the ComBox on his original post, but its thoughtfulness merited posting here.  So, without further ado:

I’d like to add a post script to the piece based on a comment that a reader left on Facebook. The reader points out that many of the problems that I have enumerated in the piece above can be found in our public schools. This is a true and noteworthy comment, and it deserves a response. My initial thoughts are threefold:

1) Public schools almost always pay a significantly higher salary than parochial schools and those operated by religious orders in the same region. If the frustrations are similar and the potential (financial) reward much greater in our public schools, then the Church is going to continue to lose young teachers who, after bolstering their resume for 3-5 years, will leave for greener pastures. Who can blame them? This is what’s currently happening in schools around the country, and it should be a red flag.

2) If I were a public school teacher, I would never dream of writing a letter like this because it would be pointless. The CST principle of subsidiarity is instructive here. One of the extraordinary things about working in a Catholic high school is that almost all decisions are made locally by the particular administrators of the particular school. This means that if a President or Principal wants to include faculty, staff and students in their decision-making processes, they can do so without running it by a distant school board or state legislature.

3) We are not public schools, nor should we seek to become like them. If the only thing that distinguishes us from our public school counterparts are the crucifixes on our walls, then we have failed as both educators and as Christians. We’re called to something higher, and we should aspire to be not only equal to, but better than the nation’s top public schools. I believe that we can achieve this goal, but the solution entails creating a school culture that is distinctively Catholic, and not derivative of what appears in school boards throughout the United States.

 

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