Sirt,—I have read with great interest your call for a better understanding of the education question. Your call for parents to study the position of our schools and the growing dangers that threaten their very existence is both tiniely and necessary. But your description of the present state of our schools is illentormed and misleading. It leaves one wondering what your education policy is.
I have read many attacks on the Dual System, bet not even Sir Percival Sharp or Sir Frederick Mender has dared to describe •Catholic managers as " uninterested " ; Cathjelic Training Colleges as places where Catholic teachers are " badly trained "; and Catholic teachers as " in secular matters, pretty poor."
Iris an attack on everybody concerned with Catholic education and, if your contentions can be proved, then not only our schools and teachers are condemned, but also all those in authority who allow such a state of things to exist.
On various occasions in recent years. I have heard Cardinal Hinsley, Archbishop Downey, Archbishop Williams, Archbishop McGrath, and many of our Bishops speak in praise of the ability, the .cork, the success and the enthusutem of Catholic teachers. You have published their speeches. Now, against all that has been said on those occasions, you accept the opinions of the enemies of Catholic schools and of others,. such as the Workers' Educational 'Association, who, in spite of their excellence in their own sphere, are not competent judges of what is good or bad in Catholic schools.
Last week, your unnamed " C.H. Reporter and your unnamed " Educational Coriespondent " gave us the conclusions more unnamed people had arrived at, hilt failed to give us the evidence leading to their conclusions, or to tell us where they ghthered their evidence. I hope you will allow them to remedY that omission.
The matter is so very serious at the present time, that you should either prove your statements or withdraw them.
C We are facing the biggest fight of our lives in defence of Catholic education, and you are using your influence in a way that will undermine our cause. If things are as bad as your articles suggest, your duty is to report to the Bishop; but‘you will need to have facts ready. If your accusations can be justified, the evidence will be found in Reports of His Majesty's Inspectors of Schools (for secular work), or in Reports of the Diocesan Inspector (for religious instruction).
If the secular work is not up to the, standard of Council schools, the Local Authority could (and would) sack the teachers concerned. If religious instruction is unsatisfactory, the priest would act instead. for the good of Catholic education, I trust you will let us know where these inefficient schools are, and we know also who are the people who are allowing inefficient work to be done.
Father Dukes adds his quota of 4nd5finite accusations this week, and attacks colleges. 'priests, teachers and schools. Then he naively adds that he wants to keep his teachers and his school.
May I stsegest to him that Archbishop Downey might be even more interested than your Special Correspon dent to know where uninterested managers " and " lazy teachers" are to be found.
Action is wanted these days—not recrimination.
Our eeople do not know enough about the schools, and you are right when you ask for parents to become interested. THE CATHOLIC HERALD can do a most valuable service to Catholic education if it goes the right way about it, and leads Catholics to study the present position. We need true knowledge and unity. If we split up into so many parties of managers, teachers, parents and special correspondents, all squabbling and warring together, we will achieve nothing.
We should all become familiar with the schools, and not accept without question what others say about them. We do not assist our opponents by repeating what they say as if it were true. Instead of saying that the Dual System is holding up progress, examine the position for yourself and you will find that it is not the system itself that is holding things up; it is the fact that Catholic schools are not built out of public money, as they should be.
Except for the matter of some of our buildings, I assert that Council schools are not better than Catholic schools.
If your correspondents think otherwise, it is up tel them to prove what they say. If they investigate and find they are wrong, they must withdraw their baseless accusations.
Thos. CONNELLY, • Member of the C.T.F. Executive.
107, Roman Road, Middlesbrough.
Discussion on School Reform SIR,—In discussing the educational problem facing Catholics, it was stated in last week's issue of THE CATHOLIC HERALD that Catholics both lack and need guidance. This is perfectly true, and until the Catholic public is enlightened, there can be no co-ordinated action. To educate the Catholic public on the problem, Mr. A. C. F. Beales proposes to lead discussion groups where parish priests will let him. Good so far as it goes, but what does he propose where Parish priests will not let him, for I can envisage parish priests who are quite content with the status quo. May I, through your columns, propose some aspects which Mr. Beams might deal with, and thus enlighten no only the Catholic laity, but, might I add, also some of the clergy. In this way, through the medium of Inn. CATHOLIC HERALD, he will thereby reach a wide Catholic public long before he has time to form discussion group's, good as they would be.
(1) Why is it so constantly reiterated that the Scottish solution cannot be applied here, and yet the reasons why are not stated? Mr. Beales himself exemplifies this position, for he would not commit himself entirely to a settlement on Scottish lines, as be realised the difficulties. Perhaps Mr. Beales will make known the difficulties that he realises exist, but which he does not state for our enlightenment. If the " last-ditchers " made known their objections, the Catholic public would be in a better position to judge if the difficulties are insuperable. By the way, who are really the " last-ditchers " on this question?
(2) I quote: " It was generally agreed at the meeting (Sword of the Spirit) that our Catholic teachers in seriplar -matters are ' pretty poor,' and as one speaker said ' a crop of poor teachers.' " I would like to ask Mr. Beales for elucidation on this wide statement
(a) In what specific way are Callers lie teachers " pretty poor " in secular matters?
(b) What is implied by the term " secular matters "?
(c) If there is a crop of poor teachers, who is to blame, seeing that they are appointed by their own managers? I know that in many cases this means the Correspondent Manager, viz,, the parish priest. It might be relevant to enquire what considerations govern the appointments of teachers in .so many cases.
(3) Is it not a fact that teaching conditions (buildings, amenities, equipment) its " non-provided " schools are generally very much inferior to those in the " provided " schools?
(a) Why is this the case?
(b) Does it affect adversely the education given in the non-provided schools?
(4) Why is it that so many Catholic managers of schools show so little interest in and considetation for the very difficult teaching conditions and lack of amenities existing in the schools under their control?
(5) In the question of educating the Catholic public as to parents' rights and duties, what efforts will be made to point out the educational handicaps suffered by their children in cases enumerated above, and how they are to be remedied so that Catholic parents obtain fair treatment as ratepayers?
Joule B. FINNIGAN, Headmaster,
St. Mary's R.C. School, Eccles.
9, Cavendish Roes!, Eccles, ' Near Manchester.
Juvenile Delinquency Sis,-1111 THE CATHOLIC HERALD of August 2, your Educational Correspondent asks the following question: "I wonder how we are going to account for the' established fact that there is a greater incidence of juvenile delinquency among ' voluntary ' (religious) 'schools." The answer to that question is poverty, the type of poverty which has moduced the slums. If your Educational Correspondent wishes to pursue the subject further, I would recommend to him the article on Catholic delinquent boys, in the Sower of sonic few years back, by a writer who signs himself Bro. Finn Barr. One quotation in these days of
paper shortage will suffice. Brother Finn Barr says; " Without exception, the Catholic boy whom the police call delinquent ' comes from the big cities. He is reared on a long narrow street or alley of back-to-back houses, in the "centre of acres of other long narrow Streets of back-to-back houses where the sky almost, certainly every green thing, is shut out." To blame the schools for delinquency under those' conditions is grossly unfair.
W. I.. EAsTore.
Ivy Cottage, Tewin Road,' Welwyn, Herts.
Catholic Teachers SIR.—Your Educational Correspondent has just written us an article entitled " Is the Dual System the stumbling block to all our education plans?" I. for one turned to read it hoping that perchance we should hear what our plans really were. But no! We were given instead a summary of W.E.A. educational policy. Then, with the preface, " Let us bear in mind that critics allege that . ." your correspondent has drifted into a most biased and unreliable attack on the education given in Catholic echools. Just to show how " broadminded " he could be, he has not only let the critics go unanswered, but has added his view that what we want is " up-to-date realistic staffs, able to do their jobs in everyone's opinion."
More blatant nonsense than this could hardly be imagined. First, therefore, let me assure your perplexed readers, who may be debating whether or not to send their children, to a Catholic school, that in spite of his mischievous suggestion to the contrary, we have had for may a long year " supervised secular training as good as everyone else's." Secondly, no qualms of false modcsty need keep me from assuring them further that there are in Catholic schools " up-to-date realistic staffs, able to do their jobs "—not in everyone's opinion (no, sir!)'—but in the opinion of His Majesty's Inspectors of the Board of Education.
It is high time that the Catholic public was informed that the teaching staffs in non-provided Catholic elementary schools (I speak 'for no other) have professional qualifications as good as those in corresponding State schools; and that they are at least as equally conscientious in the discharge of their duties.
St, Augustine's School, Cranbrook Road, Ilford,
Set,—I read with very great interest that the Sword of the Spirit is getting down to a real job of work in the matter of Catholic education, But may I suggest that it is as important, if not more important, that they educate the teachers as well as the parents? My experience is limited, but I remember three Catholic schoolmasters in Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire who urgently need educating. One of them, evacuated to my village from London, confessed that before coming to us he had never been to Mass on Good Friday, and thought it a very curious performance; another who at a K.S.C. meeting said he was sure the Pope was wrong in his condemnation of birth control, " if the Pope had consulted the doctors they wpuld have put him wise"; and another who chose three 'hymns to Our Lady as accompaniment to Mass on Passion Sunday.
S. 0. J. Aurote S/Lt., [We are only able to publish a viry small selection of letters on this subject from a record correspondence. The original articles published, whatever their meritS or demerits, seem to have provoked precisely the attention that should at present be focused on this all-important etratter.—Eprrott, C.H.1