After a short hiatus, Catholic School Matters is back! For the next 6 weeks, you’ll be getting the newsletter. This is an important time for us as we build toward Catholic Schools Week, a time to remind ourselves why Catholic schools are important and what makes our schools such a fantastic investment. Stories like this one on the Cristo Rey network or this one on the expansion of inclusion programs in New Orleans Catholic schools or this article celebrating a classical Catholic school including children with Down Syndrome are cause to celebrate. I came across a few interesting articles over the past few weeks:
- “Schools as Places of Joy” is a reminder of what makes every school excellent—joy. We can’t leave out the joy in pursuit of excellence.
- “Bowling Together” from Education Next is a long read centering on civic participation and social capital. The title is a reference to David Putnam’s work.
- Pope Francis encouraged his brother Jesuits to be present in the ‘deserts of humanity’ which served as a great reminder of their mission while the Jesuits released their lists of priests/brothers accused of abuse.
- This article from the Wharton School on “Does Fear Motivate Workers—or Make Things Worse?” is thought-provoking. We often try to move students away from extrinsic rewards toward the intrinsic motivators but are we doing the same for our staffs?
- Daniel Kahneman’s analysis of the value of intuition is a great read.
- Highlights from 2018’s education research and Top 20 education articles from Education Next. One of the articles was on The Role of Catholic Schools in Education Choice Programs. Follow that up with this video from North Carolina. A Libertarian has been building low-cost charter schools. While you might not agree with his approach or his assumptions, it’s worth watching this video.
- Stephanie Saroki de Garcia of Seton Partners represents Catholic schools well in her interview with Rick Hess in Education Next. My favorite quote: “Catholic schools understand—better than any other kind of school—what it truly means to be human.”
- In New Zealand, the National Centre for Religious Studies has come up with guidelines for gender complexity issues.
- In Catholic School legal news, an unmarried teacher claims that she was fired for being pregnant, a couple of nuns in Los Angeles embezzled church funds and the Archdiocese decided to press charges, a St. Paul private school’s attempt to raze a former Catholic church raises concerns, there is quite a ruckus in Calgary surrounding Catholic school contracts, a Catholic school is not exempt from fired teacher’s ADA suit, a former Catholic school teacher alleges anti-Semitism, a Maryland Catholic school counselor is accused of abuse from the past, and Guerin Catholic HS in Indiana has been in the news for a bullying situation.
- In Catholic School News surrounding opening/closing schools, a Lincoln Catholic school will close, an Ohio Catholic school hangs in the balance, and a southside Chicago school must raise $160k to stay open.
- “How a Later School Start Time Pays Off for Teens” from Mind/Shift is a look at the impact of this innovation in Seattle.
- A story on “Buddy Benches” just might the kind of little innovation that makes a big difference at your school.
- Relationships are important, right? How about the most important thing? “Want a Happier, More Fulfilling Life?” 75-year Harvard study confirms this. This will be a relief for parents, as the “Relentlessness of Modern Parenting” from the New York Times points out.
- This story on Native American students in public schools should give you pause. On this same theme, here’s a great article on Sharon LaForge, the heroine of Counting Coup.
- Another longer read is “Shame Storm” about how online shaming can work to destroy people’s reputation instantly.
Happy New Year! I’ve collected some great articles from the past few weeks. My Top 5:
- In the American Catholic News section, I have a special section on legal concerns. There’s quite a few articles which raise issues such as church-state relations, employment contracts, pregnancy, embezzlement, past abuse, etc. We need to read these articles and imagine how we would respond if faced with the same dilemmas.
- In the Leadership section, “Schools as Places of Joy” is a reminder of what makes every school excellent—joy. We can’t leave out the joy in pursuit of excellence.
- In the same section, the article from the Wharton School on “Does Fear Motivate Workers—or Make Things Worse?” is thought-provoking. We often try to move students away from extrinsic rewards toward the intrinsic motivators but are we doing the same for our staffs?
- In the Miscellaneous section, the “Relentlessness of Modern Parenting” from the New York Times points out the reasons behind the anxiety epidemic. Parents are often the ones afraid of missing out!
- Small classes and personal attention have become aspirational for all schools. But they weren’t always such high priorities. A Libertarian entrepreneur has been building low-cost charter schools with a different approach. While you might not agree with his approach or his assumptions, it’s worth watching this video in order to clarify your own assumptions.
Enjoy! I’ll be back next week.
Just as the newsletter is being published 6 weeks in a row, I have 6 great podcasts lined up, too, and they’ll drop every Wednesday. This week, I have a great episode on disaffiliation. The Catholic School Matters Radio Hour begins with theologian Dr. Julie Rubio from the Jesuit School of Theology. She shares her insights and her work. Next, John Vitek, the CEO of Saint Mary’s Press, discusses the “Going, Going, Gone” publication and the insights from the study of disaffiliation. Finally, Dr. Patrick Manning, a former ACE teacher and now a professor at Seton Hall, discusses his work on the deep roots of disaffiliation. To prepare, here’s a great NCR article on disaffiliation.