Catholic Schools, School Choice, and the NY Times

This morning’s New York Times website includes an opinion piece by author Katherine Stewart entitled “What the ‘Government Schools’ Critics Really Mean.” Stewart makes the case that those who are putting forward arguments in favor of school choice are doing so from a position of religious fundamentalism. Read the article for yourself but I think it’s unfair. Yes, some who support school choice legislation at the local, state, and federal levels are motivated by their religious beliefs. What’s wrong with that? All kinds of people support specific legislative agendas based on their religious beliefs. It’s been that way since before the United States was the United States. People living their faith in the public square should be encouraged rather than discouraged.

Specifically, on the issue of school choice, I personally believe in it and support it because of my Catholic faith that holds that parents are the primary educators of their children. Out of that belief, parents know their children best and should have an active role, supported by local, state, and federal government, to choose the best school for their child. In some cases, that school may be religious. If I were not religious, as many in the school choice movement are not, I’d still be in favor of it, because every child is different and not every school is good for every child. In our current system, most children attend a school chosen for them based on their zip code. Just because a school is close to their residence, why would that school be the best place for them?

To imply that advocates for school choice are racist and theocratic is not only unfair, it’s untrue.

God bless you!

Fr. O’Brien

 

 

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About Rev. Brian O'Brien

Priest of the Diocese of Tulsa and President of Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, OK.
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