catholic schools

catholic schools

Union Ruling Deems Catholic College Not Religious

New York catholic collegeThe National Labor Relation Board ruled that part-time faculty at Manhattan College are allowed to unionize. The ruling’s implications mean more than potentially higher costs, because the underlying reason for the ruling stated that the college isn’t religious enough to qualify for a labor law exemption. Manhattan is repealing the ruling, arguing that it’s an infringement of religious freedom.

The Council of Independent Colleges reports that one in four teachers at member colleges have adjunct status. Hiring adjunct professors gives colleges flexibility in their course offerings and helps to keep costs down. Of course, these part-time professors do not enjoy the same benefits as their tenured colleagues.

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The Laramie Project Welcomed at Catholic High School

Each year brings us greater understanding of each other and a larger scope of acceptance throughout the world. With the eradication of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and a focus on anti-bullying groups at schools, 2011 is promising to be no different. One place where people don’t expect to see tolerance for the gay community is in the Catholic Church. I came across news of a Catholic School, Xavier High in  Manhattan, that put on (for the second time in the last eight years) a production of The Laramie Project.

The Laramie Project is a production based on the life and murder of an HIV positive, homosexual college student named Matthew Shepard. The play was welcomed by most of the staff and students at Xavier High School. School and church officials stood by their support of the production even under the judgmental eyes of fundamentalist protesters and most believe they were right to do so. The New York Times reports that, “Parents who had initially quailed about their children being in the show gave standing ovations.”

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Republican Congresswoman Tells First Graders About Abortion

rep-jean-schmidtDuring a speech at a Cincinnati Catholic school, Republican congresswoman Jean Schmidt told a group of elementary school students about abortion. Students in the audience ranged from first to eighth grade, with children as young as six. The topic was not part of her address, but she introduced the topic which answering a question about how morals are related to legislation. Schmidt is a Catholic, and according to one of her spokespersons, “She received a follow-up question, which she answered consistent with Catholic teaching.”

The topic sparked more questions, and Schmidt defined abortion as the “taking of a child’s life in the mother’s womb” said the school’s principal, Dan Teller. “She indicated that abortion involves the killing of a child before it is born.”

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Nearly 30 Catholic Schools Closing in New York

catholic-schoolThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York plans to close a number of elementary and high schools in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. They are responsible for 216 parochial schools in the area. The exact number of schools to be shut down has yet to be released. Some church officials have estimated that about 30 schools with be affected, reports The New York Times.

The closings are representative of a nation-wide trend. Nearly half of Catholic schools in Brooklyn have closed since 1998. The current closures are part of the “Pathway to Excellence” plan, which aims to address the steady decline of student enrollment in Catholic schools since the 1980s. The three-year strategy includes recruiting better principals, improving test scores, increasing financial aid and attracting more Hispanic students.

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4 Great All-Women’s Colleges

Although there are only four remaining all-men’s colleges in the United States, there are about 60 all-women’s colleges.

Why is this?  Well, before the 1950s and 1960s, single-sex colleges and universities were very common in the United States. However, this changed quite a bit because attitudes about men and women were changing, and there wasn’t such a strong sense that women needed to be protected from men.  Moreover, with the women’s liberation movement, there were fears that women were being excluded from many fine institutions for men (including Rutgers University, where I went to college, which didn’t become coed until the 1970s).

So why are there still so many women’s colleges?  Many young women still prefer going to college in a place where they don’t have to compete with men for personal attention.  They enjoy class discussion and a campus atmosphere that feels more “female” oriented.  In addition, many enjoy the camaraderie that comes from an all-women’s campus, many of which are quite closely knit.

Here are four great American all-women’s colleges.

1) Agnes Scott College

With less than 1000 students, this tight knit and beautiful campus in Decatur, Georgia defies the stereotype of what you might expect from a Southern women’s school.  Yes, you’ll find a few Southern belles here, but this campus is filled with diverse women who are politically engaged and outspoken.  It’s close to Atlanta, too, so if students get bored on this fun, but dry, campus, they can hop on the MARTA and go downtown.

2) The College of Saint Catherine

Located in a peaceful residential neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota, the Catholic-affiliated college (which is soon to become a university) has about 5,000 students, 3,000 of whom are undergrads.  The school’s motto is “educating women to lead and influence,” and on this politically left-leaning campus, students are encouraged to speak their minds and explore ideas.

3) Bryn Mawr College

Located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, this prestigious and very competitive college has about 1,200 students, with a stunning student faculty ratio of 8:1.  The school has an outstanding reputation for challenging academics and an accessible administration, and students can also take classes at nearby Haverford, Swarthmore, and Penn.

4) Smith College

A prestigious, extremely selective school with a traditional New England feel, Smith College is located in Northampton, Massachusetts and is home to about 2,600 students.  Arguably the most rigorous and selective (the average GPA of incoming students was over a 3.9) of the nation’s women’s colleges, Smith students come prepared to work hard.  For fun, they hang out in local Northampton, where there’s a great music scene and unusually strong town-grown relations.





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