Sunday 30th August 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Russians to construct ‘the tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world’

Towering 80 meters monument to ‘Christ the Teacher’ by Zurab Tsereteli to find home in Vladivostok, Christian Telegraph reports according to RISU. The statue was cast in 2013 by Tsereteli, the famous Georgian-Russian sculptor, known for his gigantic projects such…Continue Reading

If You Still Support Planned Parenthood, You Are Simply Not A Decent Person

Another Planned Parenthood video has been released. I promised I would write about every new video that comes out, so here is my write up on the latest. Please read and share. I don’t usually ask you to share things…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Group Sends Cakes to Thank Planned Parenthood Staff After It Sells Aborted Babies

Apparently, Catholics for Choice want their friends at Planned Parenthood to know how appreciated they are since they will be “harassed” tomorrow at the protests across the country regarding their organ harvesting business.  As LifeNews previously reported, tens of thousands…Continue Reading

Facebook’s very (very) suspicious ‘trending’ Planned Parenthood story

Update Aug. 20, ’15 at 7:54 AM EST: I woke up this morning, and lo and behold, the “trending” news topic had changed. It now reads, “7th video critical of organization released by anti-abortion group.” That’s more like it. I…Continue Reading

Questions raised after pro-life activist Twitter accounts suspended without warning: one now restored

ONTARIO, August 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life activist campaigning against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s abortion extremism as well as a pro-life organization on a mission to show the violent reality of abortion through large graphic billboards had their Twitter…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone thankful for San Francisco teacher contract agreement

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 23, 2015 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new…Continue Reading

Catholic Priests’ Forgotten Flock: Catholic Men

The New Emangelization Project has documented that a key driver of the collapse of Catholicism in the U. S. is a serious and growing Catholic “man-crisis”.[1] One third of baptized Catholic men have left the faith and the majority of…Continue Reading

Shortages in Venezuela mean priests are running out of Hosts

Caracas, Venezuela, Aug 15, 2015 / 03:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis has hit the Church in a unique way: the production of Hosts fell 60 percent during the past month, affecting three states in the South American…Continue Reading

Do We really need a new day dedicated to the environment?

The Pope has decided in the wake of his well received encyclical on the environment to institute a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. This day will take place on 1st September. At present the 1st September…Continue Reading

There is no equivalence

Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning. On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst. There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very…Continue Reading

Syrian Bishop: on kidnapping of Christians from Qaryatain

(Vatican Radio) The Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo in Syria, Antoine Audo says he believes the so-called Islamic State fighters are seeking to push Christians out of Syria and spread terror everywhere. He also warned that if the war continues, as…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cupich will attend synod, Vatican source says

Vatican City, Aug 7, 2015 / 12:35 pm (CNA).- Originally selected as an alternate synod delegate, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago will in fact be an attendee at the Vatican gathering on the family this fall, a Vatican source told…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: Angelus appeals for persecuted Christians, migrants

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands. Recalling the beatification on Saturday in Harissa, Lebanon, of the martyred Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, Eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, who was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of…Continue Reading

Pope Didn’t Bless ‘Gender Theory’ Children’s Books

pope725

Holy See Denies Any Papal Endorsement of Children’s Books Promoting Same-Sex Relationship Italy, August 28, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Luca Marcolivio Once again Pope Francis is being “used” by those in favor of promoting the same-sex lifestyle. The latest case arose this morning following news of a letter sent by an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State to the author of children’s books that promote “different family types.” The Guardian reported the letter with the headline,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Recalls Feast of St. Monica

Vatican City, August 27, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has recalled the feast day of Saint Monica, mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Toward the conclusion of Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square in his remarks to Italian-speaking pilgrims, Pope Francis recalled that today, August 27, is the feast day of St. Monica. To the intercession of her and her son, Francis said, “We entrust newlyweds and Christian parents so that, like…Continue Reading

Lex Cordis Caritas – The law of the heart is Love

God’s greatest and most beloved treasure is human life by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki The Bible points us to the truth of what lies at the heart of every moral teaching of Jesus Christ and his church. In the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, we hear him warn the people to “[w]atch carefully how you live” (Ephesians 5:15). He does this not because he wants to control their lives, dictating what they can…Continue Reading

Syrian Apocalypse

By JOHN J. METZLER UNITED NATIONS— Syria continues to descend into the inferno while the international community stands transfixed. A political solution seems elusive as ever, the civil war grinds on having killed over 250,000 people, and more than twelve million people have fled their homeland. Alarmed by these developments, the UN Security Council has…Continue Reading

One Catholic Congressman … Prepping For The Pope’s U.S. Visit

By MATT HADRO WASHINTON, D.C. (CNA)— As the nation’s capital works to get ready for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. this fall, one Catholic congressman is preparing by reading papal encyclicals. “I say as a Catholic, I’m pretty excited,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.) told CNA of the upcoming papal visit. He added that…Continue Reading

ACLU: Force Catholic Hospitals To Abandon Catholic Faith

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The woefully misnamed American Civil Liberties Union is launching a crusade to force Catholic hospitals to act against Catholic moral teachings and the natural law. This is an un-American attack on religious liberty. The ACLU’s intentions came to light this week after it threatened to sue Mercy Medical Center in Redding,…Continue Reading

Kenneth D. Whitehead, RIP . . . A Personal Tribute To An Outstanding Layman

By JAMES LIKOUDIS Last April, the Church in the United States lost to cancer one of its most dedicated and well-informed laymen. His life was dedicated to defending the faith from the major errors that have afflicted the Church in the postconciliar period. I had the great privilege of working with Ken Whitehead when for…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Same-Sex “Marriage” And The Crisis Of Leadership

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

An Apologetics Course… The Man Jesus — Humanity At Its Perfection

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 17 What was Jesus like, as a Man? We know about His divinity, we believe in it, but what was He like in His daily life with people in general? We call this topic investigating the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or, more simply, Jesus the Man. In an obscure province of…Continue Reading

The Episcopal College And The Pope

By DON FIER When Jesus founded the Church, as we saw last week, “He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 874). With the overarching objective to ensure that the ministry He introduced during His time on earth would be carried forward until the end of time, Christ organized her along hierarchical…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Supreme Court has a history of immoral decisions, such as declaring black slaves as property, permitting credit card companies to charge usurious interest rates, allowing the public sale of contraceptives, okaying the killing of unborn babies, and approving sodomy. What’s next? Polygamy? Incestuous “marriage”? Person-animal “marriage”? It would appear that we are on a par with Sodom of…Continue Reading

A Blindness In The Heart

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 35:4-7a James 2:1-5 Mark 7:31-37 In the first reading God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah telling the people that those whose hearts are frightened should be strong and not afraid because God is with them. He then says that on that day the eyes of the blind…Continue Reading

Novena To Our Lady Of Knock . . . The Family Is Reason To Give Thanks

By MOST REV. KEVIN DORAN KNOCK, Ireland (ZENIT) — Here is the homily given Sunday, August 16 by Bishop Kevin Doran for the 2015 National Novena to Our Lady of Knock, which lasted through August 22. The theme was “Always and Everywhere Giving Thanks — The Gift of the Family.” Bishop Doran heads the Diocese of Elphin, Ireland. ZENIT News…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aidan

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Church names many saints as patrons of certain professions, troubles, or countries. St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. As the father of Western monasticism, he is credited with building Western civilization. St. Catherine of Siena is also a patron of Europe since she played important roles in settling both civil and ecclesiastical disputes. St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bernard Of Clairvaux

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Gospel of John, during the Last Discourse at the Last Supper, our Lord prays for unity. Jesus said: “that they may be one even as we are” (John 17:11). During the most challenging times of Church history, God has sent men to restore peace to His Church. Certainly St. Bernard of Clairvaux should be counted…Continue Reading