The following comes from a November 3 Angelus article by Kevin Theriault:
Ask Kevin Baxter what he thinks about the current state of Catholic schools and the response you hear is likely to contain the words “hopeful” and “optimistic.”
Baxter is senior director and superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and is also newly appointed to the board of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). He recently returned from the NCEA’s annual Catholic Leadership Summit filled with a sense of hopeful optimism about the state of Catholic schools.
He notes that Catholic school news has been tough in some parts of the country, with areas in the Northeast and in the Midwest really struggling, but believes that overall enrollment growth could be led by areas of burgeoning Catholic populations, such as in California, Arizona and Texas.
Catholic school enrollment has fallen to its lowest point since the 1920s, according to Baxter, with under two million students enrolled nationwide. That is down from a peak of about 5.5 million students in the mid-1960s. “We’d love to see that number climb over 2 million and begin to tick in the other direction,” said Baxter.
“We’ve got a lot of Catholics here, and that is one of the reasons why we are very optimistic, both within the state of California and within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, that we’ve got potential for growth,” Baxter said.
Baxter is optimistic that the quality Catholic schools produce can drive enrollment. He believes it comes down to two core areas: Catholic identity/faith formation and academic excellence.
He noted the importance of strong faith formation of students, but also in ensuring that teachers and principals are fully formed in the faith and that Catholic identity is very strong at the schools. “We feel that if that’s present, that’s a huge asset for the school,” he said.
While Catholic identity is a core issue, Catholic schools are open to everyone, Catholic or not.
“That’s just who Catholic schools have always been, that we would accept everyone,” Baxter said. His favorite line about this challenge is from a friend: “We don’t mind that you’re not Catholic as long as you don’t mind that we really are,” which reflects that “we are open to them, but we always have to be true to who we are.”
“We don’t mind that you’re not Catholic as long as you don’t mind that we really are,” which reflects that “we are open to them, but we always have to be true to who we are.” = Sorry, but YFC could have written the very same thing.
How did Mr Baxter get chosen to be the superintendent? What were his specific qualifications? That is a very influential position. Faithful parents will want to know how Mr. Baxter seems to have dodged all of the (Good-bye Good Men) bullets.
For some real optimism …Bring in *faithful* sisters in full habits. Publicly announce what teaching books and materials you will be using. Keep tuition costs affordable and then Catholic parents will decide if the school is “REALLY” Catholic.
Catherine, you are better than this. “He fell in love with the faith component of Catholic education, so he earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Villanova University. Then he received his master’s degree in secondary teacher education and a California Clear Credential in biology/general science from LMU. He earned a doctorate of education from the University of Southern California in educational leadership.” You could have looked it up. He is the father of six kids. He has been a leader in local schools. You damn him by innuendo. Alinski did that!
Bob One, Degrees and titles do not always translate to fidelity. Here are some examples below of why a Superintendent needs to be closely scrutinized. Parents cannot afford the once felt luxury of trusting our shepherds. Even having a large family does not ensure that a person agrees with all Church teaching or that they will not succumb to those in authority who will crack down on them if they try to uphold it. You see Bob, elitists are always most impressed with titles but Our Lord is impressed with faithfulness. If Mr. Baxter is faithful he should understand plus expect no less a vetting from parents. Actions always speak louder than titles and degrees!
For Bob One
These are previous but factual examples of why parents can no longer blindly trust superintendents due to titles or degrees. Many superintendents have cracked down on good Catholic teaching material because they do not agree or uphold “all” Church teaching. Take the past example of Fr. Gerald Horan, OSM who gained great praise and notoriety from gay magazines for defending the rights of homosexuals to place their adopted children in Catholic schools. Church teaching about scandalizing little ones went right down the drain so it is important to pay very close attention to the individual who oversees Catholic education in schools.
Taken from the LA Times
This confusion is compounded by the comments of Fr. Gerald Horan, OSM, superintendent of schools and director of religious education for the diocese, made to the media. When questioned about the matter by the press, Fr Horan made the following statements to the Los Angeles Times that were quoted in literally hundreds of news articles that picked up the story: But Father Gerald M. Horan, superintendent of schools run by the Diocese of Orange, rejected the idea of a parental covenant.
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“If the school barred gay parents from enrolling their children, they would also have to ban children of parents who violate other church teachings, including those who are divorced, use birth control or weren’t married in the church. he said.”
“This is the quagmire that [the parents’] position represents,” Horan said. “It’s a slippery slope to go down.” (Los Angeles Times, Sunday, January 2, 2005)
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Fr. Horan was also quoted as saying:
“It’s not really our role to make moral judgments on the life choices of our parents,” said Father Gerald Horan, the diocese’s superintendent of schools. “We’re there for students, not to endorse or condemn parents.”
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Furthermore, Horan said, the kindergarten- through eighth-grade campus is a private school, and if parents don’t approve of who is allowed to attend, they have the option to enroll their children elsewhere. (Orange County Register, Tuesday, January 4, 2005) Furthermore, Horan said, the kindergarten- through eighth-grade campus is a private school, and if parents don’t approve of who is allowed to attend, they have the option to enroll their children elsewhere. (Orange County Register, Tuesday, January 4, 2005)