Saturday 27th May 2017

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Glimmers Of Hope

February 3, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Most of the correspondents to First Teachers are pessimistic about the state of education in the United States. It is easy to see why. There seems to be little progress on the issues that matter most to them: discipline and standards in our public schools, a voucher system that would provide school choice for parents dissatisfied with their local public schools, counteracting union opposition to merit pay and reforms of the tenure system. Even so, there are glimmers of hope on these issues.
In recent weeks there have been reports on the web site Education News (educationnews.org) that indicate a consensus to the liking of readers of this column is beginning to form on all of the above issues. One report focuses on Boston Public School’s (BPS) “new assignment policy,” through which “parents of school-aged children in Boston begin the process of selecting schools.” The school system in Boston “will generate a list of six choices for each family based on their home address.” At least two schools in the “BPS Tier 1 or Tier 2 category, the top two levels of school performance, will be included in the new plan.”
BPS has initiated an “aggressive effort to publicize the enrollment process, using letters to parents, radio spots, and billboard ads.” BPS spokesman Brian Ballou informed reporters, “Our welcome centers are open for parents to come in and ask about the registration process.” It sounds good.
Or does it? I suspect that many readers of First Teachers have spotted the flaw in the system. According to Education News, “Parents living in low-income neighborhoods” have reduced chances of placing their children in Tier 1 or Tier 2 schools because few such schools are found “close to their home address.” Tier 3 schools, “where more than 50 percent of the students scored lower than proficient on the MCAS exam,” and Tier 4 schools, “where fewer than 25 percent scored proficient,” dominate in low-income areas.
Those in charge of the school choice program concede this problem. Myriam Ortiz, director of the Boston Parent Organizing Project, admitted, “When you see a school among your choices, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a seat there. It doesn’t mean there are seats available. It just means you can apply.”
Why, then, not give these students vouchers to attend parochial schools in the area? The education establishment and the politicians are not willing to go that far. School choice does not mean complete school choice. Only local public schools are on the list of available choices in Boston. But progress is often made in small steps. At least the authorities in Boston have opened themselves to the notion of parental choice.
There are reasons to hope that vouchers and charter schools will soon be part of the picture. Education News also reported that in early January “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor vowed to protect and promote school choice programs,” including “charter schools and voucher programs.” Cantor criticized Democratic politicians, including new New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, for their opposition to his attempt to make school choice more meaningful and effective for parents.
At a speech at the Brookings Institution he said, “Right now, school choice is under attack. It is up to us in this room and our allies across the nation to work for and fight for the families and students who will suffer the consequences if school choice is taken away.” Cantor spoke specifically of de Blasio’s campaign promise to charge rent to charter schools, which were permitted to set up operations for free in existing school districts under the Bloomberg administration. Education News reports that several charter schools “took over several floors in school buildings that were not being used to maximum capacity.” This was called “co-location.” As a result, charter schools in New York soared “from fewer than 20 to more than 180” while Bloomberg was in office.
De Blasio promised during his campaign to begin a moratorium on these co-locations. In response, Cantor promised to block any such rollback in support for private schools: “Our committees in the House will remain vigilant in their efforts to ensure no one from the government stands in the schoolhouse door between any child and a good education.” He added that de Blasio’s policies “could devastate the growth of education opportunity and take choice away from countless families in New York City.” De Blasio responded by calling the Republican agenda “a dangerous philosophy that turns its back on public education.”
This standoff will be worth watching. The teachers unions and the education establishment are on de Blasio’s side, arguing that charter schools and vouchers drain money form the public schools. But many prominent Democrats, including President Obama, have voiced their support for charter schools. Few Democrats go so far as to support vouchers, however. President Obama, for example, refused to include funding for a District of Columbia voucher program in his annual budget.
The good news on merit pay and teacher tenure rules came from the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Education News reports that in his State of the State speech this year, he “made a dramatic proposal to offer bonuses of up to $20,000 for teachers who receive top marks on their evaluations.” Many were surprised by Cuomo’s proposal since merit pay has long been opposed by New York’s teachers unions, key supporters of Cuomo and the Democratic Party. The teachers union support was secured when Cuomo promised the unions that they would play a role in determining which teachers would be given the pay differentials.
Once again, New York City’s new mayor disagreed. Just minutes after Cuomo finished his speech, he told reporters he did not believe in merit pay. De Blasio did, however, state that he thought it “appropriate to pay more for math and science teachers” to aid in their recruitment, as well as “for strategic reasons to give bonuses, for example, when we have teachers that work in some schools that are really struggling.”
The mayor and the governor are already at odds, according to Education News, “over how to pay for the expansion of pre-kindergarten classes. At the same time that Cuomo is calling for $2 billion in state tax cuts,” to help stimulate New York’s economy, “de Blasio wants to raise the city income tax on those earning $500,000 or more.” Cuomo has also called for full tuition scholarships for the top 10 percent of high school graduates who pursue science, technology, engineering, or math degrees at the State University of New York and the City University of New York.
This jockeying for power in New York between Cuomo and de Blasio will be interesting. It is a reenactment of the old struggle for power between the more radical “McGovernite” wing of the Democratic Party and the centrist approach promoted by Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council back in the 1980s. The Clintons won back then. Many see de Blasio as the point man for a possible new left-wing ascendancy. The tug-of-war on the left begins.

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Trump Is Pushed and Pulled on Climate Change, A Year After Pledging to Cancel Paris Deal

(CNSNews.com) – Exactly one year after pledging in a speech to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, President Trump will attend a Group of Seven summit Friday in Sicily where he’s expected to come under sustained pressure from his counterparts to…Continue Reading

St. Louis archbishop resists law requiring Catholics to hire abortion activists: ‘We will not comply’

LOUIS, Missouri, May 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, led by the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, has drawn a line in the sand for the protection of innocent human life. In February, the city…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Closing Multiple Abortion Clinics in Iowa After State Defunds It

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood announced plans Thursday to close four Iowa clinics as a result of a new state law that defunds it. At the end of June, Planned Parenthood facilities in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City, Iowa will…Continue Reading

Graduates walk out on Pence at Notre Dame commencement

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Dozens of graduates and family members silently stood and walked out Sunday as Vice President Mike Pence began his address at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony. Pence, the former governor of Indiana, was invited to speak…Continue Reading

Trump nominates Callista Gingrich for ambassador to the Vatican

President Trump has nominated Callista Gingrich, the wife of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), as ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced Friday. The nomination comes just five days before Trump is set to meet with Pope Francis…Continue Reading

The murder case of Blessed Oscar Romero has been reopened

San Salvador, El Salvador, May 19, 2017 / 01:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A nearly 40 year-old murder case was reopened this week to properly prosecute the suspected killer behind the Salvadorian archbishop’s martyrdom. Because of an amnesty law that prohibited…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Protest of Pence Twists Catholic Social Teaching

This Sunday, vice president Mike Pence will return to his home state of Indiana to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. For the third time in several years, the school’s graduation ceremony will be plagued by…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood is Ditching the Failed “Pro-Choice” Label. Here’s Why

The “pro-choice” label has not been working out so well for the abortion chain Planned Parenthood. The labels pro-choice and pro-life have been used for decades to help identify people’s positions on abortion, but young adults seem to be moving…Continue Reading

Bishop Conley: The Pro-Choice Political Dictatorship of Relativism

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would soon be elected Pope Benedict XVI, preached that “we are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and…Continue Reading

These Republicans Voted Against the Bill to Defund the Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday voted for a Reconciliation bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. This was the second attempt to get enough votes on the reconciliation bill that would not only defund the nation’s…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards Comes Unglued After House Defunds Planned Parenthood: Republicans Hate Women

Planned Parenthood abortion business president Cecile Richards it’s not happy that the House of Representatives voted yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood. The main response of the CEO of the nation’s biggest abortion conglomerate can be summed up in three words:…Continue Reading

Despite pro-life provisions, healthcare bill raises serious concerns

Vatican City, May 4, 2017 / 05:27 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The House passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement health care bill on Thursday, but one bishop warned that the new bill poses serious problems for…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Cardinal Müller on Amoris Laetitia, Paul Ehrlich, Antonio Spadaro and the Three Dismissed Priests

muller

Yesterday, 25 May, the Catholic channel EWTN aired an interview of Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over which was conducted a week ago with Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In this interview – which was conducted in English – the German cardinal touches upon several important matters which are of interest to the larger Catholic world. When Raymond Arroyo asks Cardinal Müller about the post-synodal exhortation…Continue Reading

‘Comfortable’ Catholics are ‘unwilling’ to see dangers facing Church: Scholar

ROME, May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Too many Catholics are caught up in a “comfortable” Catholicism that makes them unwilling, and even unable, to see the “grave problems” currently besetting the Church, said a renowned theologian and one of the world’s top Catholic experts on the Church Fathers. “Most Catholics seem to live their life on a sort of comfortable zone, just the way that a lot of bishops live in a sort of safety-first…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops denounce a Trump budget championed by Mulvaney – a lifelong Catholic

On the day that President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis in Rome, a top administration official defended a proposed budget that America’s Catholic bishops have strongly criticized for hurting the poor. The Trump administration official in the hot seat: budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in Charlotte. Speaking Wednesday to the House Budget Committee, Mulvaney called Trump’s budget plan a “moral” document that puts “taxpayers first.” And he defended the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Receives US President Donald J. Trump

Pope Francis received President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, today, May 24, 2017, at about 8:30 a.m. in the Apostolic Palace, before Francis’ weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The meeting was broadcasted by Vatican Television and can be watched via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVCm1-toVFg According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, the discussions, which lasted about 30 minutes, were cordial.

Trump budget completely defunds abortion providers, and Planned Parenthood is furious

May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-abortion feminists are bemoaning and pro-lifers are celebrating President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal that would withhold all federal funds from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood. Breitbart reported yesterday that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney told the media on Monday that the new budget would defund the abortion business, but only if the new Republican healthcare legislation passed recently by the House is also passed by the Senate and…Continue Reading

The Blessed Virgin And St. Joseph… A Marriage Truly Made In Heaven

By JAMES MONTI For several centuries there was on the liturgical calendars of several religious orders a feast day that few know of today — Desponsatio beatae Mariae Virginis — the Espousal of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a celebration of the marriage of Our Lady to St. Joseph. Although the Sacred Scriptures recount scarcely more…Continue Reading

A New Birth Control Commission?

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: At this point, reports about a possible new birth control commission are unconfirmed. This commentary first appeared on http://nfpandmore.org/wordpress/.) + + + The week of May 13th started wonderfully with widespread efforts to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. The work week was quickly dimmed,…Continue Reading

Wanda Poltawska… The Stubborn Insistence On Being Human

By DONALD DeMARCO The city was Toledo, Ohio. The year was 1990. The venue was the dining room in a private home. The audience consisted of several pro-life people, including myself. The speaker was Wanda Poltawska who was relating a series of events in her life that we were most privileged to hear. In 1962,…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “Outcasts” And True Social Justice

By REY FLORES “A bold example of social justice in action” — Follow the cameras of Grassroots Films, the Award-Winning producers of The Human Experience and Child 31, on an unexpected journey across the globe. Travel to the prisons of Central America, walk the dark city streets of London, New York, and Ireland’s most treacherous…Continue Reading

Kentucky Printer Can Refuse LGBT Message

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling on May 14 affirmed a printer who objected to promoting a message for Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) which conflicted with his sincerely held religious beliefs. Hands On Originals’ managing owner, Blaine Adamson, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, refused to print T-shirts for the…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Penance As A Laborious Kind Of Baptism

By DON FIER Sin, its dire consequences, and man’s continual need for conversion are realities that are often dismissed or even outrightly denied in modern secularized societies enamored, as they are, with materialistic pursuits. As noted last week, recent Roman Pontiffs, beginning with Pope Pius XII in 1946, cite as an underlying reason for this troubling phenomenon a “loss of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his parish bulletin recently, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City recalled the famous words of the great jazz singer Al Jolson: “You ain’t heard nothing yet” and compared them with the words of Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John…Continue Reading

Discover God’s Gifts And His Will

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Pentecost Sunday (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the first reading today we hear about the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles as they were gathered in prayer. The event was marked by some extraordinary phenomena: the noise like a driving wind filling the house and the tongues of fire.…Continue Reading

The Canonization Mass For Jacinta And Francisco . . . Pope Francis Says: “Dear Pilgrims, We Have A Mother”

(Editor’s Note: Pope Francis on May 13 canonized Jacinta and Francesco Marto, as the highlight of his May 12-13 Apostolic Pilgrimage to Fatima. Below is the Vatican translation of the Pope’s homily during the Mass, as provided by ZENIT News Agency. (It is followed by the text of Pietro Cardinal Parolin’s homily at the vigil. Earlier at the vigil, the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… 25th Ordination Jubilee Solemn High Mass And Celebration

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: The staff of The Wanderer congratulates Fr. Cusick on his upcoming 25th anniversary of Ordination.) + + + Thank you for reading my column so faithfully over the years and for all that you have done to support the apostolate of The Wanderer. As we mark the 25th anniversary of my June 6,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1748, the Viceroy of Peking with great frustration asked, “What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable. . . . Their jailers and their families become their disciples and embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians.” Thus Peter…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, faithful Catholics rejoiced at the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Vicar of Christ. The German prelate took the name of Benedict XVI for two reasons: in memory of Pope Benedict XV who led the Church during the turbulent times of World War I, seeking peace…Continue Reading