A Catholic Response to the Accountability Movement

By Garanzini, Michael S. | Momentum, February/March 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Catholic Response to the Accountability Movement

Garanzini, Michael S., Momentum

At the end of her thorough and insightful review of our nation's failed attempts to reform American education, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education," Diane Ravitch concludes: "If we want to improve schools and education we must first of all have a vision of what good education is. We should have goals that are worth striving for." And to move toward that vision (of the truly good school) we should attend, she insists, to quality. A quality curriculum, quality teaching, quality leadership and quality facilities are measured by standards that embody the vision of the truly good school. The "National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools" project, which you will read about in the following pages, is in essence a vision for what a quality Catholic school looks like, the kind of school our young people need and deserve.

This vision grows out of a long history of educating Catholic and non-Catholic young people. It grows out of a vision that was forged by many traditions of spirituality embodied in religious communities who founded and staffed these schools, and out of new responses to new and emerging needs. This vision was forged in urban centers, in suburban communities, in rural areas where the Catholic community built and staffed schools, spanning the gamut from pre-school to graduate higher education. A vision of quality is not something we need to invent. We know what quality looks like, what excellence in instruction and leadership looks like. We know, too, when our young people are being short-changed and deprived in sub-standard and inadequate educational environments. But, until now, we as a Catholic community of educators have not had an agreed-upon set of standards to which we could hold ourselves accountable.

"National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools" marks a true beginning in collaboration and a commitment to addressing the call that we are hearing from a variety of sectors for accountability in our schools. This call for accountability is being addressed to every sector of education and it demands that we demonstrate in concrete and measurable ways how and why our schools deserve the support they require in order to remain quality institutions.

The Work of Many

The creation of these standards was the work of many individual Catholic educational leaders gathered at conferences, seminars and meetings over a two-year period (2009-2011), beginning with the 2009 Catholic Higher Education Collaborative (CHEC) conference at Loyola University Chicago. These Catholic educators labored over how best to address what many had already noted: If trends continue and the number and size of Catholic schools continues to diminish, will they be available to a new generation of American children? Naturally, this discussion gives rise to the question of resources, the high cost of maintaining these schools and a related issue regarding when and who should determine which Catholic schools are worth supporting and maintaining. Difficult issues are being faced by diocese after diocese, sponsoring congregations, parents and pastors.

One result of these deliberations was the "Standards" project. Leadership for this endeavor came from Dr. Lorraine Ozar and her colleagues at Loyola University Chicago's Center for Catholic School Effectiveness in the School of Education. Those who worked on the standards themselves- a national task force- did so with the following premises or assumptions in mind. A quick review of the six premises reveals why the standards are a muchneeded contribution and can assist us in answering the critical questions we now face regarding the distribution of resources and guarantees of accountability.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Catholic Response to the Accountability Movement


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?