Education as the Sum Total of its Various Parts

Jul 28, 2022

Catholic Colleges and Universities Owe Students an Apology by Marc D. Guerra at Catholic World Report. [T]he performative high-school education today’s average eighteen-year-old college freshman has received has not done much to cultivate… intellectual curiosity. Constant cultural and societal bombardment about college as the gateway to a professional career clearly has not helped either. Fortunately, it is extremely difficult to beat the natural desire to know out of a human being entirely…. [But] it is exceedingly tempting for administrators, and a good number of faculty, to delude themselves into believing that the Catholic intellectual component of a student’s education is secured simply by requiring every student to take some fixed number of theology and philosophy courses in order to graduate. This approach misses the fundamental intellectual point of a Catholic liberal education. It conceives of such education not as forming an intellectual whole, but merely as the sum total of its various and diverse required parts. Viewed in this way, the Catholic element in a Catholic liberal education is reduced to being exposed to a handful of Catholic authors and arguments in mandatory courses that have little, if any, substantial relation to the rest of a student’s undergraduate education. Read Augustine Institute Releases ‘Word of Life’ Catechesis Series for Children, Middle-Schoolers by Hannah Cote at National Catholic Register. “Word of Life” offers a unique approach to catechesis because the curriculum not only forms students in and out of the classroom, but also provides formation and content to teachers and parents, [Ben] Akers said…. Christian Smith, a Catholic sociologist at the University of Notre Dame, discovered that what keeps kids Catholic into their adulthoods — and even keeps kids faith-filled — is if their parents talk about God with them on a day that isn’t Sunday, Smith said. “We have found one of the strongest factors during the teenage years associated with youth being more committed to and practicing their faith later in their emerging adult years is having had parents who talked about religious matters during the week,” he continued. Read I Was Just Appointed Pastor. Now What? by Fr. Vincent Cushnahan JCL at Crisis Magazine. The life of a modern pastor is fraught with pitfalls and challenges, a myriad of functions and duties—from having staff, to managing a school; from office work to fundraising. These are important and vital things indeed. However, they are all as straw without being a man of prayer, a man of God. It is not for nothing that St. John Vianney is the patron saint of pastors. Like him, my first task will be to assess the spiritual state and needs of the people entrusted to my care. …. Today’s Church and the world offer many distractions and temptations to the priest: popularity, comfort, greed, lust, careerism, compromising the truth, laziness. I, indeed, will be no exception from these distractions and temptations. That is why cultivating a healthy life of prayer is the key to being an authentic and effective pastor. We all know a pastor somewhere who is guilty of one or more items on the list above. Read Maryland School District Bars Staff from Telling Parents about Gender Transitions by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. School staff in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland are prohibited from disclosing students’ transgender identity to their parents if the school deems the students' parents to be unsupportive of the transition…. Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest school district in Maryland, is not the first to detail policies directing school officials to keep a transgender student's parents in the dark. Similar policies are in place in numerous other districts, including Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia and Eau Claire School District in Wisconsin. Such policies have also led to several lawsuits in California and Florida. Read Virginia School to Provide Genderless Bathrooms for Second Graders by Reagan Reese at The Stream. A soon-to-be-built Virginia elementary school will have one of the state’s first sets of genderless bathrooms, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The plans for the construction of John M. Gandy Elementary School in Ashland, Virginia, feature bathrooms to be shared by both girls and boys, with stall partitions reaching from the ground to the ceiling, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The school is set to open in 2024 with the genderless bathrooms for second through fifth graders…. The Hanover County School Board approved the plans for the genderless bathrooms last week after initially voting against the plans in November 2021, according to News 6 Richmond. Five parents with transgender students in the district sued the school board for allegedly breaking a state law that requires school boards to adopt accommodation plans for transgender students. Read Department of Education Proposes Title IX Rule with Opportunity for Public Comment by Rachel N. Morrison at The Federalist Society. In line with the Biden administration’s equity and gender identity policy priorities, the Department of Education (ED) has proposed new regulations on Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs and activities…. ED declines to define the term “sex” because “sex can encompass many traits and because it is not necessary for the regulations to define the term for all circumstances.” But “to clarify the scope of Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex,” ED proposes that discrimination on the basis of sex be expanded to include (“at a minimum”) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex stereotypes.... Read LA Schools Promote 'Queer All School Year' Calendar, Documents Show by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. The Los Angeles Unified School District offers schools and teachers a "Queer All School Year" calendar that provides a blueprint for promoting LGBT pride throughout the year. Documents from the Los Angeles Unified School District Human Relations, Diversity, and Equity office contain a month-by-month plan for schools to promote gay and transgender ideology to students in different ways. Read Throwback Thursday Life is Worth Living by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, a television show and collection of essays from the 1950s. Today the pyramid theory of education is replaced by the shelf theory. On a shelf are a number of bottles. The assumption is that when you go to college, it does not make any difference what course you take; you select any course that pleases your fancy. At the end of four years, you have collected sixty-four bottles, or sixty-four credits. It does not make a particle of difference what is in the bottles: sand, water, milk, Spanish, rug collecting, economics, or football coaching. They all have equal value. Bring them to the Dean, and you get a sheepskin. The result is that students are not getting the education they ought to receive; they get only a congeries of unrelated, disconnected, and disjointed subjects, which they and no one else can put together. An encyclopedia is not educated, despite its bursting [with] knowledge, because it lacks the power to coordinate one subject with another. A truly educated man, on the contrary, sees a relationship between subjects, as he sees coordination in his own body and the universe. Any system of electives which ignores the unity of knowledge and the overall purpose of life confuses the student rather than perfects him in truth. Watch