Friday, February 02, 2007

Comedic Seriousness / Somber Parody

Can you tell which is which in the choices below?

1. From Third Battle, we learn about The Onion's take on the status of rebuilding in New Orleans ("FEMA Calls Rebuilding Complete As New Orleans Restored To Former Squalor").

My favorite paragraph:
As part of the citywide restoration efforts, downtown medical facilities that flooded during Katrina, such as Charity Hospital, were drained, repaired, and meticulously under-funded based on past financial records and other historical evidence. Hospital officials said the facility could be ill-prepared for overcrowding by uninsured and indigent patients as early as next week.

2. This letter seems serious, though perhaps the estimable Ms. Folse from Harvey is engaging in biting sarcasm or satire:

Parents and teachers choose Catholic schools because they want to avoid the unruly, uncooperative, undisciplined and sometimes violent children that comprise some of the public school students.

You put these students into the Catholic schools, and you will have many angry parents. Where will you find teachers who will tolerate misbehaving students at a Catholic school salary? Can you put a typical public student in the same grade at a Catholic school and expect him to succeed?

Catholic schools have limited resources for helping students outside the classroom. Normally, the parents tutor their children or pay for tutoring. Now maybe if you impose a screening procedure and require placement testing, Catholic schools could educate many public students. But to offer space for any student will ultimately destroy the Catholic school system.

The Rev. William Maestri should have spoken to Catholic school principals, teachers and parents before making a public offer to take in public school students, and he should establish minimum standards for accepting these students.

Lynn Folse

I'm not a fan of the Rev. William Maestri's work at the Archdiocese of New Orleans, but his announcement of open arms for the families who were wait-listed by the public schools was one of the best things he's done.

I am grateful that Ms. Folse is at least honest about why she and (no doubt) other families (though, thankfully, not all) choose Catholic schools: not because they want to enhance their children's faith lives or instill virtue, but because they're running away from the "unruly" kids. Lovely. Just lovely.


LatinTeacher said...

Mr. Clio, can you elaborate on why you are not a fan of Fr. Maestri? I agree that it was a good thing for him to offer to accept the "wait-listed" students, but I feel like he was using it to start the discussion about vouchers again. Not that I am opposed to that. I like that the person who wrote the letters does not view Catholic School education as a chance to create morally upright citizens. It is only to get away from the unruly and violent kids in the public schools. This, to me, is exactly why (at least one of the main reasons) the public schools are failing.
But I am interested in knowing the source of your opposition to Maestri.

Anonymous said...

He has open arms so he can increase the power of his religion by taking more taxpayer money than he already is.

You people are in comas if you think that Catholic schools create moral citizens.

LatinTeacher said...

I did not say that Catholic schools create morally upright citizens, btw. I said it was omitted in the letter to the editor as a reason for someone to send kids to Catholic schools. In most every other part of the country, public schools are good places for people to send their kids. In New Orleans, the affluent white folks tend to send their kids to Catholic or independent schools, and the public schools wallow. If I were to send my kids to a Catholic school (and I am the product of both Catholic and independent schools) it would be so that they hopefully learn how to act towards each other and because I, like most New Orleanians, regard the public schools, in general, as a failure. Both reasons. I certainly have less faith in the New Orleans public schools to create moral citizens than I do in Catholic education. In my experience, a large portion of education in Catholic school is spent learning to help those less fortunate (lucky for rich white folks, that's pretty much everyone else). If there is a lack of moral individuals coming out of Catholic schools, I think it may have more to do with parenting.