A Teacher’s Guide to Discussing Religion in the Classroom

While I was attending a professional development workshop for nearly two-hundred teachers several weeks ago, a particularly confusing comment caught my attention. The topic was bullying—how to spot it, prevent it, and deal with it. In one example, the bullying was based on religion. The facilitator discussed how to manage such a situation, and then concluded by reminding us all that, “the religious aspect of the bullying should not be something we address head on. After all, we have separation of Church and state in our schools.” Continue Reading »

For City Kids and City Neighborhoods

It’s commencement season and tens of thousands of students are graduating from inner-city Catholic elementary schools. As decades of empirical research have shown, these kids have a better chance of successfully completing high school and college, and are better prepared for life-after-the-classroom, than their peers attending government schools. These inner-city Catholic schools are “public schools” in the best sense of the term; they’re open to the public (not just to Catholics), and they serve a genuine public interest, the empowerment of the youthful poor. Continue Reading »

Newman in the Modern Classroom

I really think learning should be optional, ma’am.” This statement comes from one of my ninth graders in response to yet another lecture of mine on how important it is for students to bring their literature books to class—a particular hurdle in my case because I teach at a military school. . . . . Continue Reading »

Memoirs of a Catholic Boyhood

The muddy Illinois River ranks among the least distinguished of the Mississippi’s tributaries, a brown expanse of water sliding past slippery banks strewn with refuse. From time to time, after heavy rains, the river jumps its traces. But such floods disrupt only momentarily the rhythm of life . . . . Continue Reading »

The Educational Vise

The widely noted appearance of John Chubb and Terry Moe’s Politics, Markets & America’s Schools reminds us again of the fundamental problem in American educational policy: the disposition in every state to fund the public schools at often lavish levels and to tax citizens accordingly, while at . . . . Continue Reading »