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Court Could Destroy California Catholic Schools

A number of Catholic groups including the Catholic League, Ignatius Press, and the Pacific Justice Institute are asking the Supreme Court to review an outlandish and anti-Catholic decision by the always controversial Ninth Circuit.

According to a PJI release:

This brief asks the Supreme Court to review a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which approved actions by the University of California system that effectively prevent private Christian, Catholic, and Jewish high schools from teaching courses in accordance with their faith traditions.

In essence, the UC system has declared that students from religious high schools will have difficulty being admitted to UC schools because those students will not be given credit for key courses such as biology, history, and literature when those courses are taught from a religious perspective.

UC officials stated in the lower courts that they considered religious perspectives - such as the role of divine providence in history - too narrow - minded. As a result, students from religious schools may be required to post higher test scores than their public school counterparts in order to be admitted to one of the ten UC schools, which include UC Berkeley and UCLA.
My first reaction was wondering if Catholic schools actually taught Catholicism anymore. But then I put away my cynicism and saw that besides being blatant discrimination that could be widely abused, this decision could have a two pronged effect. One -it would make it very difficult for parents to choose a Catholic school education because if parents know that sending their child to Catholic school makes it more difficult for them to attend a college what parent is going to put their children in Catholic schools? Two - This decision could force Catholic schools to secularize.

For militant secularists, this decision has the benefit of likely destroying the Catholic school system in California. Let's hope that the Supreme Court hears this case. You know, I hear there's lot of Catholics there.

Note: I first saw this story linked on Pewsitter. They do a great job at aggregating news stories important to Catholics.

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16 comments:

Kim in WI said...

"As a result, students from religious schools may be required to post higher test scores than their public school counterparts"

...fortunately that shouldn't be too difficult.

Anonymous said...

At a Catholic high school in California I'm familiar with, most of the religion classes are UC approved because the school stated in its application that the religion classes are not taught from a sectarian point of view. And the school was telling the truth about its religion courses. You're afraid that secularists will destroy the Catholic school system? Catholic dissident schoolteachers and clueless, enabling bishops have already done that.

Early Riser said...

This really is disgusting. Biology, I can understand, since "christian" (see: fundie) and some Jewish schools actually do teach weird things about biology that contradict science. But literature? HISTORY???? That is just far too subjective. How is teaching a course on literature examining the works of Salinger designated as being taught "from a religious perspective" or not? And how is history deemed taught by a religious perspective or not?

My guess is that unless you say how the Catholic church is evil and responsible for every callamity, war, persecution and injustice leading up to WW II, it will be "taught with a religious perspective". Sickening.

doorholder said...

I'm not quite sure what problems the UC system is attempting to solve here. As it is, in college many students have to take 'core requirement' type courses which, so far as it seems, are already taught at a lower level than they should be--and the cause has much more to do with students lacking knowledge of proper writing and analysis skills than with sectarian education.

Actually, I was quite proud of my Catholic high school when I was a student there. At a time when the public school systems in my state were debating the evolution/ID in biology class issue, the answer was quite clear at my school: you will learn about evolution.

I'm a little more optimistic than Early Riser. I think the UC system is simply worried about courses that rather teaching critical analysis use 'God willed it' as the answer for all historical events. As the Catholic educational tradition practically invented the liberal arts and critical analysis, I don't think there should be much to worry about at even the most orthodox Catholic schools...hopefully the UC system understands that.

doorholder said...

I should add that regardless of the fact that I don't see it as a much of a threat as it could be, I still don't approve of the ruling. It should be challenged. Educational freedom is important for society. As publicly funded universities, the UC system has a responsibility to uphold this freedom.

Jerome said...

I wonder if the UC system has a similar beef with private Islamic schools?

Early Riser said...

Doorholder - if the curriculi in question were only science related, I'd agree. And yes, I realize the Fundies (and to a lesser extent some Jews) have very skewed ideas on history (i.e. that the world is only 6,000 years old). Worse still would be a Mormon history class which taught that Israelites inhabbited North America until the 9th century but were wiped out by the American Indians. So, yes, I can see what the UC system might have to contend with.

But literature? This to me seems like thought monitoring.

Chris O. said...

Perhaps it would just encourage those California Catholics to go to a Catholic University, which would be best, anyway...

Anonymous said...

This has been much discussed on the homechool blogs, as the courses to which the UC system objects are often used by hs'ers. The literature courses in question are the Bob Jones University courses, which take a bizarre ad hominem approach to literary analysis, judging the worth of literature by BJU's judgment of the 'Christianity' of the writer. Frankly I wouldn't want my tax dollars (were I to live in California) paying for a college education for students whose qualifications for their studies consisted of that kind of non-education. It's not freedom of speech; it's looking at the course the student took, and deciding if it was actually teaching science, or history, or literature ... or not. In the case of BJU materials, I say not.

I would go to the wall to defend the right of homeschoolers or private Christian schoolers to use those materials if they choose. But I don't see that a university ought to be forced to pretend that the students were actually learning the subjects claimed.

-o.h.

Anonymous said...

The UC system has it all wrong - they should WANT these kids attending its schools in droves. How else are they going to brainwash them if they are allowed to remain independent thinkers?

And who are we kidding here, college education is, in large part, a joke.

Anonymous said...

private Christian, Catholic, and Jewish high schools

Catholic high schools are not Christian?

the mysterious said...

We haven't seen anything yet folks. It'll get worse before it gets better. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous! California State has the rules in place for accreditation of high schools, are the UC Schools challenging these?

Bro. AJK said...

Dear Anonymous 2:00 PM,

There are some private Christian non-Catholic schools. It is probably those schools UC has in mind.

Anonymous said...

Aren't public universities partially supported by tax dollars? And aren't Catholic school parents PAYING taxes (that also support the exhorbitant cost-per-pupil in the public schools). This is in addition to the cost of tuition for the school of their choice, of course.

And yet their own children may be deprived of equal access to the public university system that as citizens they are helping to fund.

Seems to me that what's being implied here is that ANY course provided by a religious institution could be construed as being taught from a "religious perspective."

I hope these parents push back, and push back hard, for equal access to what they are PAYING FOR.

Anonymous said...

"UC officials stated in the lower courts that they considered religious perspectives - such as the role of divine providence in history - too narrow - minded."

Being taught from a Catholic perspective certainly isn't as open-minded as being taught from a strictly secular (or, more accurately, an anti-Christian) perspective.

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