Giulani Plays Politics With School Vouchers

THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 10—After some tense and public bickering between New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, both sides seem content to table Giuliani's plan for a limited school voucher program in the city's poorest neighborhoods.

A Times news analysis by Dan Barry questioned the seriousness of the mayor's proposal which, unlike many other voucher plans now in use or under study around the country, would probably not have passed constitutional muster and was designed to appeal to Republican voters in anticipation of a run for higher state or national office.

In a separate article, the Times featured New York Archdiocese Superintendent of Schools Dr. Catherine Hickey, who also happens to be a former New York public school teacher.

Dr. Hickey told the paper she can understand the opposition to vouchers but endorses them because they are the only means by which “the poorest of the poor” can experience any choice over their children's education.

As for the inevitable “bugs” that are bound to surface in any voucher program, Dr. Hickey is not worried. “It doesn't do kids any harm to learn about Catholicism, and it won't do Catholic kids any harm to learn about the other kids’ religions.” The paper quotes her adding, “Religion is a good thing.”

Notre Dame Honors Historian Gleason

NOTRE DAME UNIVERSITY, March 11—Notre Dame historian J. Philip Gleason will receive the University's 1999 Laetare Medal, the university reported in a press release.

Dr. Gleason will be honored for his service as “an interpreter of American ethnicity and immigration” and for his “insights into the assimilation of diverse peoples into a truly national community,” said Notre Dame President Father Edward Malloy in a statement.

Dr. Gleason is the author of a number of books on the history of American Catholicism, including Contending with Modernity: Catholic Higher Education in the 20th Century.