Stand behind school choice

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Educators in Catholic schools throughout south Georgia came to Augusta for their annual Educational Institute Feb. 15-17. Most of these dedicated men and women make only 80 percent of what similar educators in our public schools are paid. This financial sacrifice that they make is a great response to your “Free our children” editorial Feb. 13. I am heartened that the editors of The Augusta Chronicle believe that school choice should be “the civil rights movement of the 21st century.” And I believe Catholic schools should be included in the mix of choices.

Catholic education has long been characterized by a commitment to high and appropriate standards in all aspects of its educational mission. The history of Catholic schooling embodies a constant effort to promote academic excellence for a diverse group of students in an environment permeated by religious values and beliefs. However, the mission and purpose of Catholic schools is larger than attainment of academic competency.

Commitment to the full development of the spiritual and moral as well as the academic potential of the student is a primary focus for teachers in Catholic schools. Thus, our Catholic schools offer not only an excellent education, but we also help our students become productive citizens.

Our children truly will be free when their parents have a variety of options from which to choose: public; private; religious; charter schools; or home schooling. The common good of society is advanced by helping parents to exercise fully their right to direct the upbringing of their children through the educational program of their choice. School choice can promote academic excellence by creating a competitive climate, responsive to parental concerns and directed toward improved student performance.

Social justice requires that all parents, especially those of low and limited income whose children are underserved by the public schools, be given meaningful opportunities to create and have their children educated in the schools of their choice, whether it be a public, private, religious or charter school.

The Rev. Jerry Ragan

Augusta

(The writer is pastor of St. Mary on the Hill Church and School.)

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Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 02/23/12 - 01:38 am
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Sorry reverend. My grandkids

Sorry reverend. My grandkids are attending CCD with devotion due mainly to the efforts of their grandmother and mother. When i asked my wife why not full time students at St Mary's and then Aquinas (money is NOT the problem)it is her opinion the Catholic schools here in Augusta have fallen way below acceptable standards for core curriculum and that our precious ones would not be served well in those area's.

All I can say to that is great job Warren Road elementary.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 02/23/12 - 03:53 am
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RA, Unfortunately for our

RA,

Unfortunately for our kids and ourselves, most schools in my hometown have achievement data which fall well below national norms.

JRC2024
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JRC2024 02/23/12 - 08:47 am
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And who would pay for the

And who would pay for the under privileged to attend schools other than tax payer funded schools. Not the taxpayer I hope. The fee for public schools is paid by all taxpayers except section 8. The property owner pays the tax and includes it in his rent but the rent is offset by federal payments.

impossible
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impossible 02/23/12 - 11:00 am
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Obviously, to some,
Unpublished

Obviously, to some, especially Obama and his Komrades, teachers unions’ welfare and advancement are more important than American children. Getting rid of the Federal Department of Education would be a good start. A voucher system would insure equal opportunity for all students to attend the school of their choice and provide fairness to taxpayers, including Catholics, who fund the public education system that produces the disastrous results exposed in today’s column by Walter Williams. As for the red herring of sex abuse, the real elephant in the room is the sex abuse in the public school system, but the bigot commenters in the major media and herein do not find that abuse as sexy as exploiting one more opportunity to smear and attack Catholics.
Back to Walter Williams, I would bet my last shirt that math and other proficiency of the Catholic school students would greatly exceed that of the public school bureaucracy.
Obama’ and his liberal leftist friends’ success in politics depends upon a dumbed down electorate which is another reason for his preferring unions’ advancement to children’s advancement.
Is there any other area in which or about which that bigots oppose choice and competition???

harley_52
23377
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harley_52 02/23/12 - 11:54 am
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Multiple choices for which

Multiple choices for which school to attend and a voucher that would allow students a free choice among those schools is probably the quickest path to improving the quality of schools across the nation. For it to be effective, Teachers Unions will have to be outlawed, or at least constrained significantly.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/23/12 - 12:00 pm
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Government interference and

Government interference and regulations (commonly referred to as government assistance), unions, under performing and non-performing teachers (protected by unions), and social attitudes that are totally averse to any discipline in our schools have all combined to make our public schools total, dismal, and VERY expensive failures. It could be fixed but I have no confidence that the American public has the common sense, will, or interest in making the necessary changes. They don't have the will to fight the unions, fire the teachers that need to be fired, reward the teachers that are doing a good job, and allow the schools to discipline their precious Little Johnny. Public schools are doomed. Throwing more money at the unions and the teachers will not help. Better be looking for an alternative if you care anything about your kids.

harley_52
23377
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harley_52 02/23/12 - 01:00 pm
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I forgot to mention what is

I forgot to mention what is perhaps the biggest obstacle to a good education in this Country, or certainly one of the biggest.

We have little hope of saving our education system until we abandon the entire notion of Political Correctness.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 02/23/12 - 02:50 pm
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Impossible writes " I would

Impossible writes " I would bet my last shirt that math and other proficiency of the Catholic school students would greatly exceed that of the public school bureaucracy."

Hope you have a good body. You'll need it shirtless.

harley_52
23377
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harley_52 02/23/12 - 09:38 pm
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Your shirt is safe,

Your shirt is safe, Impossible. You're right about Catholic schools vs. public schools.

"A 2009 comparison between public and Catholic school SAT scores show that public school students had an overall average of 496 points on the critical reading portion of the test while Catholic school students scored 533 points on the same portion. Catholic school students outscored their public school counterparts by an average of 23 points.

What makes the numbers more impressive is that Catholic high schools spend more than $2,000 less per pupil than public schools."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/08/educating-children-catholic-schools...

harley_52
23377
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harley_52 02/23/12 - 09:46 pm
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More on why Catholic schools

More on why Catholic schools outshine public schools....

"Another advantage that Catholic schools enjoy is flexibility.

Very few parochial school teachers are members of the powerful education unions at the center of so many of the fights to reform the public education system.

"When unions get involved in having contracts in schools, they tend to control everything from the operations, to who gets hired... and even the curriculum for that matter," Jeanne Allen who heads the Center for Education Reform told FOX News.

Education experts say the absence of teachers’ unions means Catholic schools can address problems related to curriculum or even class size immediately instead of getting permission from union leaders or renegotiating contacts. Ristau explains that teachers and principals in Catholic schools can address these issues by simply sitting around a table instead of waiting for "five committees downtown" to reach a decision."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/08/educating-children-catholic-schools...

augusta citizen
9351
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augusta citizen 02/23/12 - 09:50 pm
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Amen to Harley's 8:46 post!

Amen to Harley's 8:46 post!

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