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Brian Caulfield
Editor of Fathers for Good

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August 31, 2010


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As a former Catholic School Parent and a firm believer in Catholic education I now find myself the parent of a Catholic School teacher. Our son very much wanted to teach in a school he believed in and he loves his job. Still, this duel experience have given me a unique perspective. I would like to offer cautions to both parents and teachers at Catholic Schools.

I would remind Catholic School parents to resist the desire to protect and shield your children from every failure. Helicopter parenting is rampant among Catholic parents who are "paying" for their children's education. I found this appalling as a Catholic School parent and I find it disturbing to watch my own son now deal with it as a teacher. Catholic Schools frequently tout their college acceptance statistics but rarely record their students’ college retention rates. I have watched the best and the brightest from my children’s classes crash and burn in college when they no longer had their parents’ constant educational management. As an employee of a university, I can tell you some parents attempt to continue this process after graduation!

To Catholic school teachers - resist the tendency to give preferential treatment to those children's whose parents are donors or hyper-volunteers or those whose parents can afford all the technology and tutors. The child on tuition assistance whose single parent works shift work deserves just as much consideration for his low tech efforts as the student whose amazing project was actually parent produced.

To all involved – gossip is a sin. The “family” atmosphere of Catholic Schools can lend itself to the worst kind of “family” behavior.

Michael Shurtleff

Great post! I hope certain "Catholic" schools in my diocese take note of it, because their notably liberal agenda is an embarrassment (not to mention dangerous to the faith and morals of the kids who attend.)

Jessica @ Moneyless Momma's

LOVE this post - we also send our children to Catholic school - which is right across the road from our house - parents are encouraged to participate in the classrooms, pop-in at anytime...etc. So I would say I expect "involvement!"

Also, I expect "blessings" this comes in sooo many forms, but one neat thing our priest did on the first day of school this year was to bless our new playground equipment! As a convert myself, I love that there are so many blessings!


As parents, it's not like the old days when you gave the kids "to the sisters" and they taught them the faith. We really have to be careful that a school that has a Catholic name really is Catholic. We will be held responsible if we don't.


The whole concept of "in loco parentis" has been lost. Schools today think they have ultimate control over your children, and they can negate the parents by teaching what you would never have them learn. Even Catholic schools can do this in terms of sex education, where your child is made to feel weird for opting out.

Greg Willits

Great article, Brian. I would add:

1. Help them develop a passion for the Eucharist and a real understanding of what it is. Don't assume kids can't understand it.
2. Help them develop a routine of praying the Rosary and asking Mary for help in their spiritual lives.

Both of these areas could, technically, fall under the "help them to pray" section, but those two specific areas are areas I believe have helped our own kids.

Ed Drewsen

We took our kids out of Catholic schools due to their lack of all around "catholicness" if you will. I graduated from the local Catholic schools, and I will not allow done to my kids what they did to me and my schoolmates. You have reasonable expectations of your catholic school, but I suggest you go back to homeschooling before you are dealing with quite unsatisfactory results for your time and money. We homeschool now.

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