Parochial teachers serve as parental supplements, not substitutes — and therein lies the difference between the Fenwick community and its public-school counterparts.
By Gerald F. Lordan, O.P., Ph.D., Social Studies Teacher
Parents of parochial school students almost universally value their decision to choose religious-based programs over public education for the formation of their children. However, beyond intuition, parents sometimes find it difficult to articulate why they value that decision. An examination of the philosophical foundations of parochial education may enable us to understand on a rational level what we already value on an intuitive level.
Parochial schools have greater social capital than their public school counterparts. Social capital is the agreement among families concerning the core values which identify their behavior. Parochial school communities often have great diversity among their families by ethnicity, geography, income, and language, but these schools are successful in achieving the goals of their ministries because there is a congruence of core values among families. Good families gravitate toward good schools with good community values. With their obligation to service all families within their geographic attendance area, public schools often have less value congruence and less social capital.