Schools’ decline echoes values

“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is planning to close 49 schools, and thousands are feeling the pain. Michael Wetzel, a veteran English teacher at Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High Schools in Drexel Hill, told The Inquirer that the news of their closing was “tantamount to a death.”

I sympathize with Wetzel. I graduated from Monsignor Bonner in 1990, and I understand his sense of loss. Students will be uprooted, and teachers will be out of jobs. . . .”

This is an excerpt from my commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Schools’ decline echoes values.”  Please click here to read the entire article.  You can respond or provide feedback by clicking on the comment button below.

Thanks for reading.

–Christopher Paslay

2 thoughts on “Schools’ decline echoes values

  1. But there is another problem the commission did not mention: deteriorating values. Catholic education cannot be easily sustained in an environment that’s not rich in traditional values, especially when it comes to the institutions of marriage and family. Tragically, these institutions have been crumbling for decades in the United States.

    Mr. Paslay:
    The church has dug its own grave, so to speak, in this regard. it supports a political party for one reason, and that political party has frankly gone insane. Have you talked to many 25 to 34 year olds? Can they afford to get married? Are they in debt to their eyeballs in student loans and the like? What kind of jobs do they have? Ones that lead to secure middle-class lifestyle? As with every other problem facing this country, it comes down to a failure of the elites. Whether in business, politics or religion, they have failed the country as a whole. Pursuit of profit over a healthy society. Laws that apply to the little people but not to the rich and powerful. Instituting polices that have the effect of crushing the middle class. I could go on but I think you get my point.

  2. Chris –
    Usually find your pieces quite insightful but a bit puzzled by this one as it appears you’re positing that marriage makes you more inclined to send your child to Catholic school? I don’t follow this chain of thought.

    Like many Philadelphians, I feel quite bad about the closing of nearly a third of the city’s Catholic schools, but I am encountering far too many opportunistic jeremiads about the decline of old-fashioned values based on these closings and far less attention on the persistent business model that these schools operated under, despite the fact that Archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education saw steep drops in enrollment as early as the 1980s. If the Archdiocese had taken pre-emptive action on gradually consolidating schools over the past two decades as opposed to mass-shuttering, they would be in a much stronger position today.

    Bemoaning the fall of cultural values is soapbox stuff at this point…let’s think about ways these schools can attract top teachers through external grants and university-sponsored scholarships. Afterall ,they make, on average, nearly a third less than district teachers, bringing arguments regarding the paucity of teacher-pay to a whole new level.

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