Could New York learn a thing or two from Milwaukee? Definitely, if the newly-relocated Archbishop has anything to say about it. He's Timothy Dolan, who led the archdiocese of Milwaukee for seven years prior to his Big Apple appointment, and he believes that, when it comes to Catholic schools, Milwaukee's voucher program is "a genuine blessing." "The Catholic Church," he explains, "has always been an ardent advocate for parental rights in education." The problem, as he sees it, is that some Catholic leaders are ready to throw in the towel on their parochial schools. "What we have to ask ourselves is ‘Are they worth it?' And we say you bet they are. They're worth it because nobody does it better than the [Catholic] Church when it comes to education." To which we say, "Amen." There's no voucher law in New York, however, so Dolan has his work cut out for him. ("I know that the state of New York likes to consider itself kind of on the vanguard of enlightened progressive initiatives," he quips, "but in this regard Wisconsin is way ahead.") Still, he doesn't acknowledge any despair. That's because these "scrappy" parochial institutions have always fought for their survival. In fact, wrangling for every penny is part of the "pride and ownership among the people because, darn it, we fought for it...we do not take this for granted." But scrappiness alone isn't likely to save America's Catholic schools. Let's hope Dolan can turn fighting words into fighting actions.
"Archbishop Timothy Dolan: Proudly Pro-Choice on Education," by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2009