Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Education is About Vision, Authority and Concern - And Then There is the Department of Education.

On May 9th 1852 in Baltimore, the Pope appointed Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Kenrick who opened the First of Three American Plenary Councils that included six archbishops thirty five suffragan bishops, provincial heads of the religious orders and other prelates.

Twenty Five decrees were issued one of which - the establishment of Catholic schools in each parish to be overseen by the pastor.

Decree 13.Bishops are exhorted to have a Catholic school in every parish and the teachers should be paid from the parochial funds.
Title ix, Of the Education of Youth.-(i) Of parish schools. Teachers belonging to religious congregations should be employed when possible in our schools. The latter should be erected in every parish. For children who attend the public schools, catechism classes should be instituted in the churches. (ii) Industrial schools or reformatories should be founded, especially in large cities. (iii) A desire is expressed to have a Catholic university in the United States.

And finally,
Title vi, Of the Education of Catholic Youth, treats of (i) Catholic schools, especially parochial, viz., of their absolute necessity and the obligation of pastors to establish them. Parents must send their children to such schools unless the bishop should judge the reason for sending them elsewhere to be sufficient. Ways and means are also considered for making the parochial schools more efficient. It is desirable that these schools be free. (ii) Every effort must be made to have suitable schools of higher education for Catholic youth.

Vision, Authority and Concern were the three legs of the Catholic model that has become the foundation for morphing of public schools - Charter Schools are Catholic Schools without God of course.

Education requires Vision - A view of a systematic approach to teaching the acquired mastery of shared knowledge and wisdom needed; Authority - the dissemination of thought, method and purpose should lie in the care of a master teacher who connects to a higher authority; Concern - an operational organization and oversight that recognizes the shared Vision and Authority.

Then we have the United States Department of Education - “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively; or to the people.”


established in 1977, because . . . ?

Where there is no vision, the people perishProverbs 29:18 . . .however, that maxim, or aphorism, or dare I say it proverb is not allowed in public education.

Money is all that is needed by the Department of Education.

Catholic schools flourished in America, because of Vision, Authority, and Concern. The Authority thing is always a sticking point for the John Dewey - "Well, Who's to Say" crowd. "Who's to say that teaching X-Men is not more likely to stop bullying of 'questioning adolescents, than offering Henry V? Besides, Mr. Navel has never read Henry V, or anything by that misogynist Hemingway." The Baltimore Councils banned books that were 'considered' bad for Catholic school kids - bad because they lured innocent, ignorant and independent little minds away from the Vision. That takes Care, or Concern.

Secretary Duncan leads a Federal Department that seems to be lacking vision. Secretary Duncan demonstrates a solid lack of authority in the piece above and who Cares?

Education in American needs radical transformation - witness the recent nonsense at one of America's most prestigious schools -Northwestern. American essayist and retired Northwestern professor Joseph Epstein writes in The Weekly Standard

That so many of the faculty at Northwestern had no qualms about her proselytizing students is noteworthy. But then there is always faculty ready to back up the most egregious behavior of colleagues. In the case of J. Michael Bailey, the Chronicle of Higher Education chimed in with an article by an assistant professor of sociology at Middlebury College named Laurie Essig, who finds the Northwestern sex scandal, as we now say, a great learning moment. Professor Essig is of the view that shaking things up, attacking the status quo, is of the very essence of education, what the whole enterprise is really about.

“Clearly,” Essig writes, “this ‘live sex act’ triggered a national conversation about what we can and cannot look at.” She goes on to ask “what is it about the fact that there were people there on the stage that makes it different than a film with a sex scene or a book with a sex scene? . . . Why are we so damn uncomfortable with sex that is not mediated by film or text that ABC, CNN, and all the rest of the media outlets can’t stop talking about it?” Essig even wonders if “the live sex act had occurred between a straight, vanilla, normatively gendered and married couple, would we have cared as much?” She concludes: “These all seem like important questions and questions that can be asked because a professor allowed something to happen in his classroom and triggered a national debate about the dangers
of sex and education getting into bed together.”

Professor Essig joins Professor Bailey as one of the university’s shock troops. A student I talked with, who had earlier taken Bailey’s human sexuality course and who did not otherwise speak harshly of him, noted that he seemed more than normally pleased to shock his audience of students. Does Professor Bailey, one has to wonder, thrill to his own acts of ├ępater les bourgeois? Does he, so to say, get off in his combined role as Pied Piper, Krafft-Ebing, and the Diaghilev of the kinky?

Where is the Vision? Where the Authority? Sex toys for a liberal education and grounding in the shared wisdom of ages;teachers of English who can not spell Chaucer, Shakespeare, or Emily Dickinson have become the common feature and money is the only answer. Concern? Who Cares?

Many do.

Like this skilled tradesman who responded to Illinois SEIU's Progress Illinois warning about School Choice 'bubbling up' again in Springfield, Illinois with a voucher legislation proposal,

Vouchers offer a way out of the expanding cost of education in the state of Illinois.

Give every kid a voucher for use at the choice of their parents. Public, private, it should make no difference.

If public school are superior they will overwhelm the private schools. If Private school are superior they will overwhelm the public schools.

Labor unions can organize and represent teachers at whatever school they labor at. Unions fear private school because they're afraid they can't organize them and they don't want to extend the effort to organizing.

Free choices should be available to the citizens of the state of Illinois

Bob Kastigar
IBEW Local 1220


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