Good things are happening in a Michigan Diocese, Marquette.
Don’t confuse it with Jesuit-run Marquette University.
First, they were blessed with n0w-Archbishop Sample. He issued a statement on sacred music. HERE Then they advanced the cause of Ven. Frederic Baraga. Then the new Bishop, John Doerfler, issued particular law for the diocese building on Sample’s letter. HERE And… regular reader and commentator here Fr. Tim Ferguson was ordained for the diocese.
Now I read that Bp. Doerfler has decided that the diocesan schools will use a classic curriculum rather than Common Core.
This comes via the Cardinal Newman Society, which keeps watch on Catholic education in these USA. HERE See them daily on my right side-bar!
Mich. Diocese Shifts to Classical Curriculum, Avoids Common Core
Educators and parents are increasingly dissatisfied with secular standards that neglect to emphasize virtuous development in K-12 academics, but one diocese in Michigan has responded by making the bold decision to implement a classical, liberal arts curriculum for all diocesan schools. And the diocese’s superintendent of Catholic schools, Mark Salisbury, told The Cardinal Newman Society that the program has been widely well-received by teachers and students and is improving education for the entire diocese.
“We are enthusiastic about our early successes,” Salisbury shared. “Teachers are happy with the results as well. We have improved our ability to teach students how to write well, students are learning and memorizing more poetry” and the curriculum’s integration of Latin studies “has helped students with English grammar, vocabulary and critical thinking skills.” A recent satisfaction survey of more than 440 parents for the 2015-16 school year revealed that 76 percent of parents were highly satisfied with the academic programs.
The team focused extensively on the goals for Catholic education articulated in Archbishop John Michael Miller’s The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools. According to Archbishop Miller, Catholic schools should be recognized by five essential principles. Catholic schools are: “inspired by a supernatural vision,” “founded on Christian anthropology,” “animated by communion and community,” “imbued with the Catholic worldview throughout the curriculum,” and “sustained by the Gospel witness of the teachers and staff.”
Keeping these principles in mind, it quickly became clear that a Catholic liberal arts curriculum was the best way forward in Marquette, especially since such a curriculum has been “the perennial and consistent curriculum framework applied throughout history in Catholic schools,” said Salisbury.
Moreover, the liberal arts are “founded on a Christian anthropology and imbued with a Catholic worldview because we are constantly looking for the good, true and beautiful in each subject we teach.” From there, students are prepared “to ‘see’ God, who is the Good, the True and the Beautiful — and the source of all goodness, truth and beauty.” This preparation facilitates students’ understanding of scripture and participation in the liturgy.
Diocesan educators then set about crafting a foundations document for the new curriculum, which Salisbury shared with the Newman Society.
“We began our curriculum foundations document with the supernatural vision — that is, with the end in mind — namely, that our students will develop friendships with Christ because this is the foundation of true happiness in this life and the next,” said Salisbury. From that vision, the foundations document integrated opportunities for students to learn how to live virtuously and work towards the perfection of character.
“The greatest happiness a person can attain is communion with Jesus Christ,” the document begins. “Therefore, the core of our curriculum is the person of Jesus Christ. We hope to graduate students who have ‘encountered the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth’ (cf. Spe Salvi, 4).” The curriculum also “seeks to form our graduate’s character, aiming as high as its perfection.”
Brick by brick.
Fr. Z kudos.