To Teach Them: Statement on Catholic Schools: November 20, 2017

To Teach Them: Statement on Catholic Schools: November 20, 2017

Category : Podcasts

1976: United States Catholic Conference

Link to the Document To Teach Them

Gwen Byrd, Executive Director for Catholic Education/Superintendent for the Archdiocese of Mobile, one of the longest-serving Catholic school superintendents, explores the impact of this follow up from the US Bishops.


To Teach Them (US Bishops, 1976)

  1. Reading Questions
    1. How many Catholic youth are enrolled in formal religious programs?  In schools?  How many are not enrolled?  How do those numbers compare with the present day?
    2. In the fourth paragraph, the document points to reasons why some children are not enrolled.  What are those reasons?
    3. In the second section, the document refers to the threefold purpose of Catholic education as outlined in To Teach As Jesus Did.  What are the three purposes?
    4. In the same paragraph, the document points to teacher formation as crucial to Catholic schools.  On the next page, the document returns to this theme.  Why is teacher selection, evaluation/motivation, and formation so important?
    5. The Bishops offer 5 reasons why they support Catholic schools.
    6. The Bishops discuss the “concerted focus” of schools and point to evidence of lay collaboration.  Give a few examples.
    7. In this section, the Bishops point out the changing role of administrators–many of whom are staffed by lay people.  How has the role of the administrator changed?
    8. Later the in section, the Bishops spotlight the efforts of Catholic schools to educate the Black community.  Why is this so important?
    9. In Section 4, the Bishops contextualize the struggle for governmental support to the United States (as opposed to the entire world).  What is their central argument?


  1. Reflection/Discussion Questions
    1. How collaborative is your school community?  Are parents active stakeholders?  Past parents?  Students?  Teachers?
    2. How frequently does your school talk about racism?
    3. Do you believe Catholic schools should serve primarily Catholic students?  Or are they instruments of evangelization?
    4. In Section 3 under the “Pastors and the Community” section, the Bishops argue that Catholic schools serve the entire diocese.  Do you believe your school(s) serve the entire diocese?
    5. List 3-4 quotes that you could pull out from this document to use in your own communication.

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