Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hot topic: New Catholic school standards

This from a reader:
The Catholic elementary schools will be required to meet new and stricter standards for teaching Catholic religion in order to be/remain accredited starting this school year. Does anyone know what the impact is on curriculum?



  1. I'm a person who utterly doesn't get how non-Catholics can send their kids to Catholic school -- I know, it's their decision, and some dear friends have done the same thing; it just baffles me. To me it would be like sending my kids to Republican school.

    But anyway, I was interested to learn that the schools run by the SF Diocese use the same report card, on which the very first grade is religion -- separate grades for "prayer" and "understands concepts." I'm curious how non-Catholics do in those subjects, and whether it doesn't give any non-Catholic parents the tiniest pang.

  2. I can only report anecdote, but I've known many non-Catholic kids who get high grades in Catholic school religion classes without converting, just as I've known people who do well in math without being excited about it. It's just another academic subject. Catholic schools have a religious infusion not present in secular schools, but they're not Jesus Camp.

    I have no factual basis for believing that tuition dollars are a big profit center for the church to fund offensive political positions. If my kid comes home parroting political views picked up at school that I find objectionable, I feel it's my responsibility to have a conversation with my kid. If I conclude Catholic school is the best return on the combination of time and money I have to put into my kid's education, I'll send them there.

  3. I didn't mean that Catholic schools were teaching political views; just that paying money to have your kids taught a philosophy that you don't agree with or want them to espouse doesn't make sense to me. That's why I said it would be the same in concept as sending my kids to Republican school. It's their business; just my view. (But do non-Catholic kids get an N/A in prayer? An incomplete?)

  4. Maybe some people don't consider the religious bend of Catholicism that big of a deal. I'm not a Quaker even though my family sent me to a Quaker school as a kid. I found the religious aspect interesting. Just like I found our uniforms interesting. Not for me, but interesting. Maybe you are lumping all catholic schools together, Caroline. I'm sure some are more subtle in their approach and are out to educate your child, not convert them.

  5. All Catholic schools are designed to shape their students into good Catholics. That would be their reason for existence.

    I know that it's common practice for them to accept non-Catholic kids. But that's still the reason the schools exist.

  6. Well, to be fair, I went to JCC camps as a non-Jew, and there was plenty of religious training, cultural affirmation, prayer, etc. It "took" in the sense that I understood how religious faith can be part of knowing the world, and what religious minority status was. That wasn't in and of itself a bad thing for the kid of a secular (nominally Protestant) family.

    I'm betting there are more or less orthodox Catholic schools, with more or less emphasis on the doctrinal aspects that diminish women and LGBT people. But I'd love to know which are which!

  7. I'm not saying that the students don't get anything out of it in terms of learning about one of the world's religions and all that -- I'm certain that they do.