The Penguin

OurLadyof Peace.jpg

I spent three days doing nothing but research, write, and edit an article on Catholic schools and school vouchers. (For breaks, I gobbled down cheap, mindless novels in a sunny corner.) Just as my article hits the website, Donald Trump has a meltdown on national TV. Ain’t nobody reading my little education article now. Arg!

This is my dad’s fifth grade school photo. He is sitting in the back. Red hair, big ears, dark tie. Check out the class size. Our Lady of Peace on the Southside of Chicago was closed down in 1999.

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33 thoughts on “The Penguin

      1. Very cute. My daughter looks like my MIL, I think. Well, right now she looks like the hellbeast because she’s sick and so everyone has to suffer with her.

    1. Re mindless novels: I read Karina Bliss’s Fall the other night and loved it; you might want to read the previous book in the series, Rise. I also read a series of romances set during the Space Race (how’s that for a different historical period) and loved the third one, Earth Bound. But the book I really want to read is George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo. I kind of love Saunders’ stories. Also, that last one is not mindless. 🙂

      1. Awesome. I’m cumpulsively reading everything right now. Quality and crap. I’m not entirely sure what I’m avoiding, but clearly I’m requiring some escapism.

      2. I’m that I’m able to focus long enough to read a book! I’m a huge reader but since that November surprise, I lost the ability to concentrate. It’s back! And I’m also reading some thrillers in the midst of higher quality reading.

        In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
        The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
        Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

        Also found a new podcast that you may like – Pod Save the World that’s about the Situation Room & foreign policy during the Obama administration. Great guests who were there.

  1. I read your education article and it was good. I hadn’t realized that voucher programs were so big in some areas of the country, the percent that went to religious schools, or the spin-off effect they might have on churches.

    Do those funds flow to Catholic schools without any demands? For example, Am I correct in presuming that the schools aren’t allowed to discriminate against the students (say based on religion)? How about on the basis of sexual orientation? Can the dismiss a teacher for marrying someone of the same sex?

    I know that money flows to students for college, and it can be used at religious institutions and for religious education, but, in the case of college funds, I’m pretty sure that the majority (and certainly not 90%) is not spent on religious schools.

    I wonder, are there other government funding programs that are spent so extensively at religious institutions? Say, for example. drug treatment funding, after school care? or food funding?

    1. My old grade school fired a teacher for marrying a divorced man. I bet they didn’t even consider having his first wife murdered.

    2. bj said:

      “I wonder, are there other government funding programs that are spent so extensively at religious institutions?”

      Hospitals would be an obvious example. Nursing homes, too, but to a lesser extent.

      1. I would be intrigued to see the numbers on hospitals, nursing homes, preschools, . . . . Google searching says that 1/6 hospital beds across the country are Catholic affiliated (though in some states it’s as high as 40%). But both those numbers are substantially different than 90%.

        In the news, yesterday, they said the majority of refugee resettlements are handled by religious organizations, which receive government grants for their efforts. World Relief, an evangelist organization, was mentioned as suffering significant consequences as a result of Trump’s refugee plans.

        In our extremely secular circle, the parents/children who chose Catholic high schools but are not Catholic have been, on average, disappointed by the level of religiosity in the schools. At least one is leaving (voluntarily), after having had contentious exchanges over the way that “prayer forms” were filled in. In addition, the Catholic doctrines on homosexuality/transgender students have been a big issue. The current archbishop is seen as being conservative on these issues, and desiring to insert more religion into some schools that had become increasingly secular.

      2. bj said:

        “In the news, yesterday, they said the majority of refugee resettlements are handled by religious organizations, which receive government grants for their efforts. World Relief, an evangelist organization, was mentioned as suffering significant consequences as a result of Trump’s refugee plans.”

        I’m not surprised. I worked with Jewish-based refugee resettlement back in the day (on the ESL side) and of course the Catholic refugee resettlement organizations are a big deal. Interestingly, the Jewish group I worked with was resettling a lot of former Yugoslavians, not just ex-Soviet Jews, although there were a lot of those, too.)

        In my experience, Jewish community groups have done a very fine job of working with ex-Soviet Jewish emigres.

        “In our extremely secular circle, the parents/children who chose Catholic high schools but are not Catholic have been, on average, disappointed by the level of religiosity in the schools. At least one is leaving (voluntarily), after having had contentious exchanges over the way that “prayer forms” were filled in. In addition, the Catholic doctrines on homosexuality/transgender students have been a big issue. The current archbishop is seen as being conservative on these issues, and desiring to insert more religion into some schools that had become increasingly secular.”

        The crunch there is that more conservative Catholic families often can’t afford Catholic school–particularly not Catholic high school (a lot more people seem to be able to manage elementary school costs even with a bigger family). Catholic high school tends to be $$$$ while elementary school is $ or $$.

    3. Come to think of it, the move toward state-funded preschool and daycare is also an interesting problem, because the existing preschool/daycare infrastructure is very much church based (at least where we are).

      I have been noticing this very much lately, as with Baby Girl, our choices for parents’ day out have been Baptist, Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, and yet another Baptist PDO program. (The two that we’ve actually used also run daycares–I don’t know about the rest.)

      I can’t think of any large center daycare in our area that doesn’t have some sort of religious connection.

      1. I’ve never encountered anything religiously objectionable at the Baptist PDOs we’ve used for the two younger kids.

        Our big kids go to a mostly mixed Protestant school (rather than a denominationally based school) and it’s been a good experience. The worst faux pas I can recall was the time that a lavish Valentine’s party got scheduled for Ash Wednesday, but we all survived.

      2. I went to the preschool at the Presbyterian Church my mom’s parents were affiliated with (I think they were in the founding congregation or something). I don’t recall being proselytized at, but Presbyterians don’t really do that kind of thing IME. I *looooved* that preschool so much. I still have dreams about the playground sometimes. It wasn’t even a great playground, but I was so happy there.

        We sent the kids to a non-church preschool in our area; many around here seem to be non-church-related, but on Long Island I think many of them still are affiliated with churches. My nieces and nephew went to a Lutheran church’s preschool, for example, and they aren’t Lutherans, and my BILs are barely Catholic. But my sister is teaching preschool now and is working with her public school district, I think. And I think we have a preschool attached to our elementary school now, though it wasn’t there when my kids were littles. Or it was only half-day.

    4. There are lots of demands on the voucher accepting schools. That’s why a lot of religious schools won’t touch them. The parochial schools are desperate.

      In Milwaukee: (https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/programs/wisconsin-milwaukee-parental-choice-program/)
      Meet state nondiscrimination policies
      Meet state health and safety codes
      Allow students to opt out of religious programs
      Administer state testing to voucher recipients in third, fourth, eighth, ninth, 10th, and 11th grade
      Receive accreditation within three years of participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
      Submit an annual financial audit conducted by a certified public accountant to the state
      Admit eligible students on a random basis
      Provide evidence of sound fiscal practices and financial viability to the state
      School administrators must undergo financial training and have at least a teaching license or a bachelor’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher education
      Teachers must have a teaching license or a bachelor’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher education and teacher aides must have received a high school diploma or been granted a GED or HSED
      Must provide 1,050 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 1–6 and 1,137 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 7–12
      Must provide the state with information about the academic program at the participating school and student test score data

      1. Thanks! That is a lot of demands. Do you have a number for what percent of the private schools in milwaukee accept them?

  2. As a working more or less statistician, I can’t tell you how funny (and horrifying) I found the sentence “a child will circuit the math for everybody else that is trying to operate within actuarial parameters” (via the tweet you have on the sidebar). I will now assume that all my parametric statistical tests are only valid because everybody is doing their best to follow the population distribution assumed by that test.

    1. It would explain why people keep asking “Why can’t you be more normal?” They’re just leaving off “ly distributed” for the sake of brevity.

    1. Yes. I wish that more comments sections were more heavily moderated. It’s expensive and difficult, but the NY Times comments are far more readable than the Washington Post comments (or the Atlantics). I want to support Laura’s articles, though. Should we comment at the Atlantic, Laura?

  3. Yeah, don’t muck yourself up by dealing with the comment section at the Atlantic. The editors don’t read the comments, so it won’t help me at all. And it’s likely to be an exercise in futility. Many of the commenters seem immune to reason. They have an ax to grind, and their comments often have nothing to do with the article.

    1. Laura said,

      “They have an ax to grind, and their comments often have nothing to do with the article.”

      That’s the worst–especially in a 1,000 comment thread.

    2. TNC put a lot of time into his comments section, and got a lot out of if. But I gather he was very much the exception. Fallows has never had comments but is surprisingly responsive via e-mail.

      1. As I understand, TNC bans commenters who disagree with him, which will reduce the level of hostility to a North Korean level.

      2. Wow, first the Democrats became rabid supporters of free trade, now they are ferreting out the recipients of “Russian gold.”

      3. Test it out y81 — post what you consider to be a reasonable comment that disagrees with TNC, and see if you get banned.

  4. Nobody’s commented on the class size. My elementary schooling was in the UK, 1968-1975. from ages 7-12 my class size occasionally dipped below 50, but was mostly above it. Almost entirely working class school. BUT, almost all intact families (I remember when the first kid’s parents got divorced, when we were 9 and she cried in class for 3 days straight) and about 3/4 had one parent not working (voluntarily, not because of unemployment). Also, no serious disabilities in the school — kids with disabilities were educated separately. Also, the teachers were mainly talented women without other employment options, plus a smattering of committed men. I would guess this is rather like your dad’s situation (though my school was public, not private/Catholic).

    1. IF the kids with disabilities WERE educated.

      In parts of Ohio, parents were armed-twisted into signing away their kids’ participation in school. Then they were given driver’s license-sized cards which stated the child was excused from school — to be shown to any authority who threatened truancy charges.

      I know this from attending g perhaps too many Intro to Special Ed in Ohio workshops. I don’t know what went on in other states but I have no reason to think Ohio was unique. Our foremothers worked hard to get the first special ed laws passed.

      Many of us tend to take for granted that our special needs kids will in fact always be educated. I’m not so sanguine when I consider the momentum of the effort to privatize schooling.

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