Campus Watch

William Bennett on Home Schooling

NACHE, July 22 — William Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education, discussed home schooling and his own home schooling curriculum, K12, in an address to the National Association of Home Education conference in the Washington, D.C., area July 22.

Bennett noted, “All of the empirical and anecdotal evidence point in one direction: with a lot less money, much less government oversight and regulation, and much less specialized ‘learning theory’ and hours spent on teacher certification, homeschooled children are outperforming their peers. I only wish there were a bit more freedom throughout the American education system.”

He praised “talented and hardworking school teachers” and the “hundreds, indeed thousands, of schools that are doing a solid job.” But, he added, “The family is the first, best, and original Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.”

By next year, Bennett said, K12 will cover six subjects (language arts/phonics, math, history, science, art, and music) for kindergarten, first and second grade. He said that home schoolers have not done as well in mathematics as in other areas, and hoped that K12's curriculum would help bring home schoolers’ math skills up to speed.

Mandatum Debate Spreads Beyond Catholic Universities

CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, July 20 — A feature article in the Chronicle of Higher Education showed that the debate over the mandatum for Catholic theology professors has garnered keen interest outside the Catholic academic world.

The article quoted several professors with different stances on the mandatum, a statement signed by a bishop certifying that the professor teaches in communion with the Church. Although some professors feared that the mandatum would cause them to lose credibility in others’ eyes and create “a binding obligation to the church,” as the June 1, 2002, mandatum deadline approaches, the Chronicle found that some of these professors were reconsidering their opposition after meeting with church officials.

The bishops proved to be more open to the theologians’ concerns than some of them had expected.

Although Gaile Pohlhaus, professor at Villanova University, was unsure whether she would seek the mandatum, she noted that it's part of a professor's job to present Catholic teachings fully and fairly. And Dennis Doyle, professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, said he'd seek a mandatum because “Theology is a form of ministry, and it's something I do within the context of the church.”

Casino Cash Funds School Supplies

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, July 18 — The Joliet, Ill., City Council decided that the city's parochial schools can borrow educational supplies bought with riverboat gambling revenues, the Chicago daily reported.

Last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision Mitchell v. Helms allowed local governments to provide instructional materials for private and religious schools. The equipment can be used only for agsecular, neutral and non-ideological purposes.