Reading Room

EWTN Live: Dr. Jared Staudt
Dr. Jared Staudt shares how Catholic Professor John Senior’s work remains relevant for today’s education and culture. Hosted by Fr. Mitch Pacwa. 

Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years
An important article on the way the testing mentality lowers test scores, especially for the underprivileged:

“The best way to boost students’ reading comprehension is to expand their knowledge and vocabulary by teaching them history, science, literature, and the arts, using curricula that that guide kids through a logical sequence from one year to the next: for example, Native Americans and Columbus in kindergarten; the colonial era and the American Revolution in first grade; the War of 1812 and the Civil War in second grade, and so on.”

Two Ways of Life
In sketching the ways of life of Christians vs. materialists, this article suggests the kinds of outcomes we hope all Catholic education provides, contrasting it with what secular education provides:

“He is taught that you cannot serve both God and Mammon, that power in this life should not concern him, and that suffering – should it come – is to be welcomed as means of entering into the divine life. He sees the beauty of creation in all things. He tries to put love at the center of his life. If he fails in this, he seeks forgiveness. When death comes it is not the end. He prays that he will enter beatitude.”

Of Astronomical Significance
Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy provides Robert Royal with food for reflection on today’s mindset as fostered by unreflective acceptance of modern scientific nihilism:

“What comes through quite forcefully here is a certain view – of everything. A view now quite common in our culture: that the whole of our universe, what Christians think of as God’s Creation, is a meaningless spectacle.”

Beauty is for Everyone
An excellent article on the powerful story of saving St. Jerome Academy:

“Let’s imagine what a really Catholic school would look like. Clenching that paper in his fist, Hanby went home that night and emailed Donoghue: “I really want this school to survive, but I’m not sure it deserves to. If you want to do something bold here, I’d love to help.”

From the President’s Desk

A regular coumn for The Cardinal Newman Society’s Journal for Educators by ICLE President, Michael Van Hecke.

 

It Works! A Principal’s Principles
Catholicism can permeate a school’s curriculum only when it also permeates the mission, faculty, and culture.

“In my reflections, five areas stand out as essential to forming the culture of the school. It is this culture which is the foundation of the school’s attraction to families. It is this culture which results in the joy that is predominant among students, faculty, administration, and families. Joy. Joy comes from God, and it is to Him that we are dedicated, fully, as a school.”

Humanizing Technology
Two recent Google studies confirm that success, even in the heart of the STEM world, is based on education and formation that is human, relational, historical and meaningful—an education the Church has offered since her first schools.

“In Catholic education, we should take this as a serious and important object lesson. We should not blindly run off with the next pretty technocrat or datacrat that comes calling and skip away into the forest of STEMs. We should resist the marketing and the allure, not to mention the plethora of studies that cite data faster than Bloomberg TV’s ticker. We, in Catholic schools, should know better and soundly adhere to the Church’s uninterrupted teaching that our educational programs need to spring from Christian anthropology – the true understanding of man’s dignity and purpose.”

Is It Wrong to Teach Secular History in Catholic Schools? 
We can and must teach much of history we might call secular, but we should shun the secularist history – for that has nothing to do with Truth.

“However, there is also the other definition of secular which denotes an anti-religiosity. Upon consideration of the distinctions that this definition implies, we see that it IS wrong to teach THIS secularism in our schools. What we speak of here is the overt anti-religiosity which has been introduced to our own academic formation, our news and media, our textbooks and our wider culture. We must be profoundly careful about how that plays out in our classrooms, and especially in our own personal attitudes and thinking.”

Rocky Mountain High
Typically, an elementary school fundraising dinner is wonderful for the school families in that parents get together, the students get to showcase some talents, and some money is raised to help with needed repairs, upgrades or scholarships. What I experienced was a whole new ballgame!

“The support that has enveloped this school many outsiders might think comes simply from the success of the enrollment growth and increasing test scores. In fact, what the community of Denver knows and sees is that it has nothing to do with numbers, but everything to do with a new joy that imbues the student body, and their families – a joy rooted in a deep Christ-centered spirit and a school program rooted in forming the imagination, mind and heart, based on the great stories, questions and ideas of mankind.”