John Staud, ed.
Alliance for Catholic Education Press
Catholic schools may be closing right and left but it's not for lack of recent attention to the situation. 2008 has already brought Fordham's report and a White House summit and report on the topic. Now joining the conversation are the University of Notre Dame and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which in 2007 led a group of academics, philanthropists, religious leaders, and scholars in discussing a renewed effort to sustain and build Catholic education. This product of their gathering showcases remarks from panel presentations and offers reaction from Catholic-school scholars and administrators. In his keynote address to the conference, Carnegie's Lee Shulman argued that Catholic education must "become a robust field of scholarship--including scholarship of teaching and learning, of discovery and invention, of integration, connectedness and meaning, and of application and translations." The volume translates this charge into four primary areas of said field-building: a sustained human capital pipeline, enhanced study of religious education, the role of philanthropy, and models for renewing Catholic schools. Authors discuss tactics, such as university-diocesan partnerships to cultivate teachers and school leaders; reformed leadership curricula that meld Catholic values with standard management and instructional tactics; creation of academic "special interest groups" and scholarly journals for idea exchange; and thoughtful direction and management of philanthropic dollars. Yes, it's pretty wonky, the sort of stuff that academics usually propose, but one theme runs throughout the volume: collecting and analyzing data on best practices in Catholic education. Surely not a bad thing to do. The volume is available for purchase here; to check out presentations from the actual conference, click here.