Myth 1: Catholic Schools don’t offer an inclusive environment?
How did this myth start? Quite frankly it started as a way of propagandizing private school parents, especially Catholic ones, instilling doubts that their kids might not be Americanized without a Public school experience. Public schools presented themselves as the Melting Pots, a place where kids can experience diversity and inclusion. Homeschoolers have been dealing with this label for decades as well. In that sense Public schools train kids to be American, to value their American heritage, free and independent of all religious thought, as well as being free from all repressive "religious" intolerance. Public schools teach kids to be nice, not holy. They don't impose a belief on anyone. If that was true at one time, it is no longer. There is a definitive worldview taught in every Public school and it's sure to be at least in some opposition to Christian teaching.
We believe that it is the job of every Catholic educator to make sure that parents understand that these are prejudices and not facts. Catholic schools don't impose beliefs. Rather, they teach a worldview that aligns to the values of most Americans. That debunks the myth that Catholic schools are elitist. Yes, there is a foundational Christian worldview. Yes, there are other worldview: Marxism, Secularism, Islam, Post-modern. Catholic schools make students aware of other worldview, but they embrace a Christian worldview. Few if any Public schools, on the other hand, make students aware of a Christian worldview.
Well, are Catholic schools inclusive . . . ?
Catholic schools are for parents who wish to have their children taught a Christian worldview. We believe it's imperative that you and your staff have a thorough understanding of worldviews being taught in Public schools. Unfortunately, many Catholic School teachers aren't familiar with them, so it is hard to explain to prospective school parents what those differences are. Click here for a white paper on worldview.
Myth 2: Catholic Schools focus on elite academics?
Around 99% of Catholic schools graduate their students, with 85% going on to postsecondary education as well. These are top-notch statistics, yet attainable for any school that focuses on good education and a high level of discipline. Also, teaching students to understand and learn service isn’t elite, it’s wise. You can’t educate a child’s mind and forget about their spirit and body. emphasize the quality of your school, moving parents away from the notion that your school is elite. The key here is the “topnotch . . . attainable” part of the equation. While many parents aren’t looking for “elite,” most are happily tuned into “top-notch;” especially when they hear the “attainable” aspect of what you teach.
We believe that it is the job of every Catholic educator to make sure that parents understand that a Catholic education is anything but elite academics. There may be uniforms, codes of conduct, spiritual training and high academic expectations, but Catholic schools are not Ivy League preparatory schools. Whereas elite schools equate to a socio-economic background that most parents find foreign, Catholic schools
represent a broad cross-section of economic and cultural backgrounds. Academics reflect current social, environmental, business, and spiritual needs for students growing in grace.
Well, do Catholic schools have elitist curriculum . . . ?
Catholic schools are for parents who want to have their children learn the basics with an emphasis on a Christian worldview. Once again, we believe it's imperative that you and your staff have a thorough understanding of worldviews being taught in Public schools. Unfortunately, many Catholic School teachers aren't familiar with them, so it is hard to explain to prospective
Myth 3: Catholic Schools are minimally impacted by Charter Schools?
These autonomous but publicly funded schools are having an impact, especially in urban areas with minority populations. As importantly, Charter Schools have also had an impact on Public Schools. Many of these have adopted Learning Community Models, performing arts curriculums, and language programs; Catholic School education mainstays for years.
Catholic schools are competing with Charter Schools since Charter Schools offer a choice to parents not available just a few years ago. And,
most importantly, most parents see them as a freebie.
How do you minimize the impact of Charter Schools? Emphasize moral values. Tell your story. With moral values added, graduation rates
typically increase to 99%, with 85% going to college. Click here for more information on how you can meet and beat the Charter School
Myth 4: If nuns or priests aren’t teaching, a school can’t have a strong Catholic identity.
Over the years the Catholic Church has been blessed with amazing nuns in the classroom and fine priests at the altar. Nevertheless, spirituality and faith are not exclusive to nuns and priests. Are they enhanced when a sister or priest walks the halls or is teaching in the classroom? Yes, but they are not mutually exclusive. Ask your principal what the academic and spiritual requirements are for teachers how your school strives to meet these.
Note: Although some catholic schools are actively recruiting nuns to teach in the classroom1, most schools have a very small pool (or none at all) to recruit from.
How do you make sure there is a high level of spirituality in your school? Emphasize continuing education. There are a number of good programs available for teachers including ACE Teaching Fellows2 and the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry3. These and other Continuing Education programs provide access to world-class theological and pastoral scholarship, online and on campus, for teachers and ministers who seek to deepen their engagement with the Catholic faith.