The Catholic Education Foundation is a national, grass-roots effort to preserve and expand an extremely important asset that is in danger of disappearing. That asset is the Catholic secondary school.
In 1960, there were 8,000,000 high school students in the United States, of whom 800,000 went to Catholic high school – 10% of the high school population. These U.S. students were taught mainly by consecrated religious (nuns, brothers, priests): 73% of the faculty were religious, with the balance being dedicated lay persons. Someone like myself could earn the $300 tuition through summer jobs. Today, of the 13,000,000 high school students in the United States, about 625,000 (less than 5%) attend Catholic high school. Only 5.8% of the teachers are consecrated religious. Tuition can range from $4,000 to $15,000 per year, with an average of about $6,000 to $7,000.
As you can see, what made the Catholic high school desirable and affordable were the consecrated religious, whose numbers are severely depleted today. Many of us still look at the Catholic high school as desirable and have done well enough to send our children to the new, expensive version of what we attended.
Religious teachers provided high-quality religious and secular education and were paid a mere subsistence salary. At this point, we do not have that luxury. Some schools are doing a very good job in retaining dedicated faculty and are trying their best to keep compensation competitive. For the system to maintain itself and even flourish, somehow we have to attract and train top-flight educators who have the dedication and commitment of the religious of old. Not an easy task.
The urgency to do this is not only vital to our children and the Church, but also to society-at-large when you realize the contributions the Catholic school makes to our society – people like Roger Staubach; Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and John Roberts; Regis Philbin; Vince Lombard; Alan Keyes.
Christ Washing Peter's Feet
Several years ago, after recognizing this problem, the Holy Spirit inspired in me the realization that the buck stops here. With His assistance and with no seed money from outside sources, we started the Catholic Education Foundation.
The Catholic Education Foundation’s goals include providing meaningful assistance to Catholic high schools through:
- Teacher formation programs;
- Recruitment and retention of quality educators through competitive compensation.
We welcome your inquiries about the Foundation and appreciate your offer of time, skills and financial support. You can reach us by phone at (585) 899-1245/1255.
A. Joseph Indelicato
A Letter from Our Executive Director
Dear Friends and Supporters of CEF:
Welcome to our website and to the family of supporters of Catholic schools in our nation and beyond.
As I pen this message, I still have fresh in my memory data from the most recent attitudinal and behavioral survey on the results of Catholic schooling (“Catholics in America”), which demonstrates clearly that attendance at our schools continues to have a major impact on future commitment to Catholic practice, especially in terms of identification with the Church, participation in Sunday Mass, and thinking with the Church on key aspects of doctrine and morality.
Since assuming this position, it has been my top priority to develop programs geared toward heightening the “Catholicity quotient” of our schools. Needless to say, I was delighted to learn of a seminar offered at The Catholic University of America this fall dealing with this precise concern. At CEF, we have been providing workshops for Catholic school faculties (and indeed, for entire dioceses) on ways to increase the Catholic identity of our institutions; we have available a seminar for priests to aid them in becoming the powerful and energizing presence and influence in our schools that they need to be; we have developed an instrument to assess Catholic identity, which likewise gives follow-up recommendations for improvement (for further information on this, click on “projects”). Another service of ours is our quarterly on-line publication, The Catholic Educator, which receives rave reviews from as far away as India and Kenya!
Every two years, we sponsor a professional day for high school teachers (although elementary teachers also find value in the offerings). Leaders in the Catholic educational community share their insights with enthusiastic practitioners in the field. DVDs of this year’s symposium are available for purchase – a handy tool to bring high-powered speakers to your faculty without the expense of travel.
I hope that you will be a frequent visitor to our website and that you will take advantage of the many opportunities given here. Feel free to give me your suggestions or comments by calling me at: 732-914-1222 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As I thank you for your commitment to the inestimable treasure of Catholic education, I ask for your prayers that the Lord would continue to bless CEF’s efforts to advance this cause of ours, which is nothing less than the advancement of His Kingdom in our midst.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.