Tuesday, September 23, 2014

'Doing Austins' With Myself Part I

An Augustinian Examiner ( Austin Friars in UK)

" . . .However, there does not seem to have been any 'proper' exams at Oxford for a degree during Medieval times. A student would be presented before his college chancellor and would then have to swear on oath that he had read certain books on his subject and then nine tutors had to testify on each student's ability within his subject. The student would then have to argue on an academic subject before a Master of Arts - usually an Augustinian monk, thus giving the process its nickname 'doing Austins'. " Medieval Studies
Austin examiner -What is your idea of a Catholic school?  Specifically, What is your vision for a gender specific Catholic college preparatory high school?

Me - Well, to your initial and more general question, a Catholic school tends to be one of the following -

  • a parish school dedicated to the immediate member congregation and operated with revenue from tuition - usually but not always an elementary school
  • a central high school ( co-ed or single gender)operated with subsidies from the Archdiocese*, tuition and substantial fund-raising through institutional advancement activities
  • a religious congregation endowed school/academy supplemented by significant tuition costs and an extraordinary and sophisticated institutional advancement operation
  • An Independent Catholic school/academy endowed by individual Catholics of great wealth and open to largely affluent families with some scholarship opportunities for the financially challenged, but again operated via tuition and substantial fund raising activities
  • Innovative and imaginative religious congregation and corporate sponsored work/study schooling, the San Miguel and Cristo Rey models of the De LaSalle and Jesuit orders
To your second question, I would like to see the development of an endowed Independent Catholic high school open to students from struggling and financially challenged families - a school where the revenue pie chart indicates a larger donations wedge than the tuition slice indicates on Catholic school financial graphs. I believe that young people from the inner city's working classes of all races and creeds deserve a Catholic school opportunity.

Austin Examiner - Please explain what you mean.

Me - Sure, This summer I wrote a wonderful column for the Irish American News.

Austin Examiner - A 'wonderful article,' you say?

Me - Delightful, really.  Do go to my link and enjoy the whole piece, but, in essence, let me summarize the salient point with this passage, When Catholics departed the ( inner City and plagued by violence) neighborhoods, so did the Protestants and Jews. White flight became the all too simplistic neologism that helped further polarize races. Black folks attended smaller, non-institutional churches that did not have the economic infrastructure to provide social outreach for poor people. The big churches were deconsecrated and became real estate blight.
For example, when the Irish Christian brothers parted ways with Leo High School, the monastery on the south west corner of 79th & Sangamon Street was abandoned and became a danger to the community. Leo High School’s President Robert W. Foster ordered the demolition of that building, when it had been broken into, looted of brass, copper and other marketable metals, wiring, wood and stained glass to avoid injury or assault upon our neighbors. It cost Leo High School a great deal of money to do the demolition.
Leo High School also raised money from the Alumni and a few foundations and acquired one whole block of neighboring buildings that had been abandoned as well and developed a recreational field open to the community and used by the school’s athletic teams.
Leo High School remains open, a Catholic institution, because of the grace of God and our Alumni and friends. It is costly, but Leo High School educates wonderful young men who turned the brass door knobs embossed with Christ’s cross. Leo President Dan McGrath raised more support revenue in the last two years than at any time in the school’s history. Most of that revenue went to tuition support and capital improvements. Leo’s revenue pie-chart is upside down – fund raising revenue far exceeds tuition revenue. ( parenthetical my own)
Austin Examiner - Delightful . . .somewhat

Me - In our times, a Catholic central high school  for boys, can serve the families of a thriving neighborhood according to the old financial  template, but with greater difficulty. Catholic schools must constantly raise tuition costs on families in order to stay competitive with elite Magnet and Charter public schools. Taxes allow those two challengers to traditional Catholic schools to offer more 'bells and whistles' in curriculum and activity choices.  While tax revenue to public education bleeds everyone, Catholic and private school families lose an extra quart.

Austin Examiner- Must you be so sanguine? Sorry, just trying to lighten the moment.

Me- (with generous wave of my generous palm) Not at all Frater, as Magne Pater Augustine chanted, 'Qui cantat, bis orat.'

Austin Examiner - That will about do -now, continue, please.

Me - Hey, look Hard Collar and Hood, you started the waltz with your quip about my metaphorical conceit.

Austin Examiner - Yes, yes,  "I started a joke / Which started the whole world crying / But I didn't see / That the ...

Me- Hey, cincture belly!  Level off!  Hey,  . . .well, take this up later. Calm down, Man.  Here, drink this. It's Canfields . . .Seltzer . . lime.   Sorry about the Bee Gees number everybody. . .no really.  Can't stand them Brothers Gibbs. . . .

 * Subsidies ended during the episcopate of Cardinal Bernardin

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