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January 18, 1991     The Message
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January 18, 1991

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January18,1991 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 By BRIAN ENGELLAND Guest Columnist "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know whatyou 've got 'til it's gone." (From "Big Yellow Taxi," by Joni Mitchell) There are two systems of education in America today. One is a system that has shown a remarkable ability to coax high achievement from its students, even when given limited resources. Graduates of this system score higher on scholastic apptitude tests, are more likely to complete col- lege, earn higher paying jobs, and are less likely to divorce. The other is a system that has come under in- creasing criticism because of mediocre test results, high absenteeism, increasing drop-out rates, and significantly higher costs per student. Additional- ly, there is national concern over the lack of tradi- tional morals and "ends justifies the means" ethical values fostered by these schools. On every significant measure of performance, the first system shows a clear advantage. Yet, it is this better-performing system of Catholic schools that is fighting for its very survival. Across the na- tion, many Catholic schools are closing their doors. Even in the Diocese of Evansville, several parishes are considering fundamental changes that will have long term implications on the accessibili- ty of Catholic education to .the youth of our community. The basic issue is not whether Catholic schools are effective, or how well they are ad- ministered, or how much they cost (the cost per student averages 33 percent less than for public schools, according to recent estimates). The issue is one of funding. We all think and act like it's someone else's responsibility to pay the bill. We tolerate rising tuitions that place the finan- cial burden on young families at a time when they can least afford it, thus threatening to exclude all but the upperclass from our schools. We allow teachers and administrators to receive less-than- market wages and benefits for their hard work. We Catholic education is everyone's responsibility encourage fund-raising programs in an effort to shift the financial burden to the other guy, but for the most part, we provide limited participation. In- deed, the only fund-raising activities that seem to develop whole-hearted Catholic community sup- port are those which rely on hedonic consumption (alcoholic beverages, forms of gambling, sale of pleasure foods, etc.). What messages do these ac- tivities send to our children? Its been argued that the solution to our pro- blem is simply to let the majority of our students attend public schools, then accomplish religious education through stronger parish CCD programs. For those of you who have not had the personal experiences with public schools and CCD, I can assure you that this is not an. effective solution. As a result of corporate moves, my three children have attended two of the highest rated public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But I have come to believe that public schools are fatally flawed as a result of the contemporay interpreta- tion of the "separation of church and state" doctrine. Here are some examples of what my children experienced. In New Jersey, the principal's idea of a religiously-balanced school Christmas display was a picture of Santa Claus holding a menorah (a manger or Christmas tree was deemed to be too religious). In Pennsylvania, the sup.erintendent banned all music containing the words "Christ" or "God" from choir and band concerts. When a choir director objected, he was threatened with ter- mination. Also in Pennsylvania, a high school history teacher was fired for introducing his own material to balance a text's slanted portrayal of the history of Christianity. In public schools across the country, the phrase "freedom of religion" is being interpreted as "freedom from religion." Secular humanism is being introduced in its place. Students learn values, ethics, and morality from their teachers. What kind of values, ethics Father Chiuminatto dies Dec. 26 Father Lawrence M. Chiuminatto, S.J., a priest well known for his work at the White House Retreat Center, St. Louis, died Dec. 26, at the age of 85. Father Chiuminatto, who was director of retreats for many years at the facility in St. Louis, Was consulted by the Diocese of Evansville at the time Sarto Retreat House, Evansville, was planned and constructed. Father Chiuminatto was born July 18, 1905, in Green Bay, Wisc. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1924 and was ordained a priest in 1937. He was ap- pointed to work at the White House Retreat Center in 1939 and was named director of the facility in 1941. He retired in 1976. . .. .,. . ::!  . . ., s::: .... ':.S  ::';ff ":' : . ::  . :'. . ,,.! PAUL'S Pharmacy Paul Mayer, Owner 2170 W. Franklin St. 4254364 Plaza Pharmacy Newburgh Plaza Shopping Center Fast Prescription Service Ken and Rebecca Hacker 853-7141 Oak Hill Pharmacy Prescription Specialists Hwy. 62 and N. Welnbach Ave. LARRY SCHULTHEIS, Prop. 425-4422 Medical Arts Pharmacy 3700 Bollomoade Avenue Phone 477-1532 Donald Gutzweller City-Wide Delivery Duncan's Riverside Pharmacy Predptlon Service Drufl=-Sundfle-Cosmetk Magazlne - "We Deliver" Corner Riverside and Governor Evansville 422-9981 Stratman's Pharmacy City-Wide Delivery 413 Locust Street John and Judy Stratman 425-5293 and morality can be taught in a public school if the existence of God cannot even be acknowledged? How can a one-hour per week exposure in a CCD class integrate Christian values into all that a stu- dent has learned in 35 hours of secular education? A recent study of 30,000 students entitled "High School and Beyond" offers dramatic insight into the differences in values held by Catholics who graduate from Catholic high schools versus Catholics who graduate from public high schools. The study concludes that Catholic school atten- dance reduces militarism, promotes pro-marriage attitudes, increases concern for others, promotes a desire to contribute money to worthy causes, in- creases the importance of religion and increases church attendance and church contributions. Unlike some parts of the country where . Catholic schools are not available, we are blessed with a number of good parish schools in our area. However, it should concern us all that a great many Evansville area Catholics choose not to send their children to these schools, perhaps because of a lack of financial means, or perhaps ignorance of the benefits. Indeed, there are approximately one- third as many Catholic children attending Evansville public schools as there are attending Catholic schools! Perhaps we've done a poor job of informing our fellow Catholics of the benefits of Catholic education; or perhaps we've allowed the tuition burden on parents to get too high. But of one thing I am certain, the education of our youth is a community esponsibility, and our schools will require the support of everyone in the Catholic- community if they are to continue to survive. I pray we recognize what we've got, before it's too late. Brian Engelland is a member of St. Theresa parish and serves on the Evansville Catholic Inter- parochial High Schools Board. Math workshop Martha Deiter, center, a teacher at St. John the Baptist School, Newburgh, was a presenter at a Math Mini-Workshop for elementary school teachers on Jan. 9. Also participating were, from left, Becky Nimnicht, Memorial High School, Evansville; Emma Jean Couture, St. Joseph School, Vanderburgh County, and Martha Render, St. James School, St. James. -- Message Photo by Paul Leingang CAN YOU HELP? " Call 424-2555 VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED Birthright