Despite Bathroom Order, Public Schools are Still Going Down the Toilet

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President Trump’s reversal of his predecessor’s ham-fisted attempt to enforce a nationwide policy of transgender accommodations in our schools does not mean the “Bathroom Wars” are over, not by a long shot. Despite historic setbacks at the federal and state levels, liberals still maintain largely uncontested one-party rule in our cities and school boards. Whatever the actions within the Trump Administration, the culture of relativism which even goes so far as to deny objective truths of biological reality remains dominant. Faced with this daunting challenge, faithful American Catholic families must now put forth an exceptional effort to provide for a robust and solid education for our children in a way that we have not had to do in many decades, or perhaps since frontier times.

It is by now a cliché that public schools are rife with all manner of social experiments at the expense of what was previously understood to be their core mission of basic grammar, arithmetic, art, history, and science education. There are numerous examples of math and grammar homework questions which have departed from the mundane formulae of two trains leaving St. Louis or stories about Jack and Jane playing with a ball which once formed the universal common experience of primary education in favor of radical progressive subtexts promoting LGBTQ or Islamic agendas. In higher education, our Western civilizational patrimony of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Chaucer, Cervantes, and Shakespeare is no longer taught because these literary and philosophical giants supposedly represent the patriarchal oppression of white men.

Given this morass of education today, even many non-Catholic families in urban areas prefer to send their children to private schools. As a consequence, many Catholic parish schools have a minority of Catholic students and although they may try to promote a strong Catholic identity, there is a tension between the Catholic mission to raise strong families formed by the faith as well as our duty to care for the corporal needs of our fellow man regardless of religion. Additionally, while voucher programs are a great boon to Catholic schools by reducing the financial burden of a quality education for families that would not otherwise have the means to do so, in the short term, this only intensifies the competition for scarce resources and distorts the costs of private school in general. In time, this may lead to building more schools and expanding admissions to meet the demand, but for now, many parents do not have this option.

As a consequence, homeschooling is becoming more attractive and not only for Catholics. Whether to escape progressive indoctrination, or simply because of the dismal outcomes of public schools, or because the high cost of private school makes it unattainable for many, homeschooling is a difficult but also rewarding choice for parents. Despite stereotypes, there is ample evidence which shows that homeschooled children have better social skills than their classroom-educated peers, as well as better academic outcomes. The challenge for many parents is how to structure a curriculum, a need which is met by numerous online resources such as the Mother of Divine Grace School, the Angelicum Academy, the Thomas Aquinas Academy, the Seton Home Study School and many others. For parents looking for a hybrid approach that provides some classroom time to augment home study without the high cost of traditional private schools, there is also the Regina Caeli program which has many physical locations around the country and continues to expand.

As Catholic parents entrusted with the formation of faith and intellectual curiosity of our children, sending them to public schools is to cast them into a brood of vipers who are ready to poison their minds and strangle their creative spirit with joyless conformity to a totalitarian leftist ideology. This politicization of every aspect of life not only reigns in academia, but in the media and entertainment industry, and is even beginning to gain a foothold in the world of sports, despite the obvious fact that in a contest of raw physical ability, the innate differences between the sexes cannot be imagined away by wishful thinking. Fortunately, faithful Catholic parents have choices that make the “Bathroom Wars” largely irrelevant, at least during the tender and formative years of our children’s education.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

Joshua Bowman joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved back to his beloved native Virginia from Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities.

15 Comments

  1. I’m not sure what educational choices “faithful Catholic parents” have. Do you mean Catholic school education? Probably not since our Catholic church leaders raise tuition fees faster than the rate of inflation. Here we’ve seen 9-10% increases every year. When we asked the school told us, “The Diocese told us to raise tuition 10% every year.” How can they justify that? I do not get a 10% raise every year. I’ve been lucky to get anything. The Church has priced me OUT of Catholic education and into public schools.

    Is it important to the church to educate Catholic children about the Catholic faith? I don’t guess it is.

    Is it important to encourage or lead children to serving the Church and become priests and nuns? Apparently not.

  2. My husband and I moved to a better part of town (a conservative one at that) so we can send our kids to an excellent public school. We knew we had to do this because we cannot afford to send 3 kids to catholic school. Elementary costs $6-7000 a year per student. High school runs between $13,000 and $18,000 a year per student.

    I don’t appreciate you putting more anxiety onto faithful catholic parents for doing what they have to do. We are doing the best we can. And saying we are sending our children into the “brood of vipers” is such elitist talk. Not everyone can afford the high tuition bills. A good majority of my children’s teachers are practicing Catholics and truly care about the children in their care. Not all public schools are the same just like not all catholic schools are the same.

    There is is much pressure on parents these days. So many fears. This article did not help at all.

    • Melanie, you say you have moved to a better part of town (a conservative one at that). Any reader would have difficulty understanding your definition of “BETTER” unless they were aware f how “bad” your part of town was. Johnny Carson’s “well how bad was it? When I was eligible to move from public school to Catholic the strictness was intimidating. The Jesuits would manhandle anyone who stepped out of line and the Nuns carried weapons. There was no waterboarding. Today, they are closing parochial schools everywhere. My wife’s family saw Cardinal Dolan not only close the 3 generation St. Mary’s School, but a church nearby. Due to church attendance dropping Dolan is combining services of two parishes into one.

      • I guess by “better part of town” I mean an area with a reputation for excellent public schools. Where we lived prior, the public schools were subpar. The article insinuates that if you don’t send your kids to Catholic school or homeschool then you are not raising your kids to be good Catholics.

        This author thinks that it’s almost abuse to send your children to public school and that is why I was offended.

        I know many, many families(mine included) that would love a catholic education for their children but can’t afford the high tuition.

  3. As a practicing Catholic public school teacher I take offense to this entire article. I seen this idea floated around quite a bit, “poison their minds and strangle their creative spirit with joyless conformity to a totalitarian leftist ideology.”
    I don’t see this, teachers, at least where I work, use a district and state approved curriculum, that comes with feedback from the communities they serve, in their classroom. My single goal, as is most teachers, is make students ask questions and then help them try and find answers. I have sat in AP government classes where students dissect and identify pros and cons of political policy positions of different political parties from all over the world. There is no indoctrination, unless asking questions is leftist indoctrination, then I guess I am guilty. I have worked with my people who identify both as Democrat and Republican and in all their classrooms they desire to make students who are life long learners that ask questions. I guess the problem that both ends of the political spectrum dislike is that in public school we try and let all voices speak.

    This post is getting long, but I will leave you with an example, I work with a teacher who describes herself as a socialist wonk, she is very very liberal. However, she is very up front with that position and she encourages students to push back against her views and argue opposing viewpoints. I know several students who took the class just so they could argue with her. They all received good grades, they were not punished for disagreeing, but more importantly they had to reason through what they believed and why they believed it. Isn’t that what we want from our teachers?

    I know some teachers are not very good, but the same could be said about any institutions teachers, Catholic, public, charter, Muslim, Protestant, any type.

    I

    • Well, with school voucher programs (THANK YOU MR. TRUMP) coming down the pike, the money goes with the kids, and successful schools with excellent teachers will expand. Others will close. GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Way it should be… Our kids our tax dollars, parents choose the schools. You business model has destroyed entire generations of inner city kids…

    • Any teacher that argues with her students about politics in a public school is grossly unprofessional. She is inherently in a position of power over the students and her allowing the students to voice their opinion is not the same as an even debate. Allowing the students to debate each other is one thing. Her spewing her politics at them is another. I had teachers like this in high school and it was awful and incredibly frustrating.

    • You’re kidding, right?

      Look at the test scores in any major city for public schools. Any one of them.

      Bowman doesn’t have to cite them-it’s common knowledge.

      • Common knowledge huh? Whenever anyone uses this argument I find it is often the case that he/she/Ram just never got very far beyond their own berg.

        “As Catholic parents entrusted with the formation of faith and intellectual curiosity of our children, sending them to public schools is to cast them into a brood of vipers who are ready to poison their minds and strangle their creative spirit with joyless conformity to a totalitarian leftist ideology.” This quote from another post is representative of this very mindset. Not at all rooted in reality but that has never stopped the likes of Ram and this blogger.

  4. The problem is a lack of true local control. Nobody should have control over curriculum other than the locally elected all volunteer school board.

    Not the State, and certainly, not the Feds.

    Local control needs to be locally funded though, and that’s where the problem comes in.

  5. Neither Trump nor DeVos are interested in retrieving the public schools from the toilet. Just grab a voucher and move to a private school. I don’t think that was the intent of the founding fathers!

    • I think the founding fathers wouldn’t have a problem with provision of alternatives to poor public education for poor kids.

      Don’t know why Democrats are so bent about school choice. I thought they wanted “choice”.

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