Thursday, March 13, 2008

Catholic Schools--racist?

~If you've not been following this story, you should. With the California court decision that parents may not homeschool their children, realize that education is getting to be a bloody battleground for the hearts and minds of children. This is serious stuff. The first article is from The Guardian and the tone is chilling....when you read words like "code", "criteria", "covert", and "crackdown" you know that you are in La-la land. Happening in Britain but don't think it isn't coming to your own backyard.
Covert selection by religious state schools has fuelled social segregation in education, some of the most respected academic authorities on schools admissions have told MPs. Class and ethnic divides between faith schools and other state schools have grown since 1990 and are worst in areas where faith schools apply "potentially selective" admissions criteria, research shows.

The evidence backs up fears expressed in the wake of the government's own research this week which showed widespread flouting of a new code designed to crackdown on selection and social segregation. The study of three randomly selected areas found that at its worst, schools in Barnet, north London, were found to be charging parents on application, in one case a £50 "admissions fee". The children's secretary, Ed Balls, claimed that in other cases money demanded ran into hundreds of pounds.

Research by Rebecca Allen, from the Institute of Education, submitted to the Commons education committee yesterday suggests that schools which used six or more "potentially selective" criteria admitted over 50% more pupils in the top quarter of the ability distribution in Key Stage 2 tests than they would if they recruited a locally representative intake. They also admitted half the number of pupils on free school meals than a locally recruited representative intake.

The criteria the researchers are concerned about include vetting siblings' academic achievement, assessing family connections, religious criteria and interviewing pupils. The new code was meant to tackle many of these areas but the government's research this week suggested it is failing to prevent covert forms of selection.
This next one is from CWN
An English bishop appeared today before a parliamentary committee, to answer questions about allegations of "fundamentalism" in Catholic schools.

Bishop Patrick O'Donohue of Lancaster was summoned to appear before an education committee for the House of Commons, on the prodding of Barry Sheerman, a Labor party member who had questioned the bishop's influence over parochial schools. Sheerman objected when Bishop O'Donohue ruled against the use of a sex-education curriculum in his diocese.

Bishop O'Donohue said that he was looking forward to the opportunity to address the parliamentary committee, because he hoped to explode some "urban myths" about education in Catholic schools. "One such myth," the bishop said, "is that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith."

The bishop was unmistakably referring to a statement by Baryr Sheerman, who said earlier this year, "It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude questions have to be asked."
This reminds me of something out of Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors condemning errors in the 19th century...boy, how times haven't changed:
From Errors Concerning the Church and Her Rights:

22. The obligation by which Catholic teachers and authors are strictly bound is confined to those things only which are proposed to universal belief as dogmas of faith by the infallible judgment of the Church. (see Tuas libenter, Dec. 21, 1863)

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