The Case for Catholic Education is a short but eye-opening book by Dr. Ryan N.S. Topping, the author a book from 2013 that I still remember today - Rebuilding Catholic Culture. His current book looks objectively at Catholic schools, Catholic education and exposes the weaknesses. His reason for doing so is because "there is potential for greater strength."
The first chapter sets the stage by explaining why there is a crisis in Catholic education. Dr. Topping believes the root cause to be a "lack of confidence in truth." He goes on to explain what is lacking and Common Core and discusses a different curriculum briefly. He also speaks of Christopher Dawson and Dorothy Sayers and how they could see this crisis coming before it happened. The second chapter is the most depressing to me. In it, we are presented with numerous statistics and graphs that compared secular students, Protestant students, and Catholic students. Not all the numbers were bad, but with a lot of the moral and social issues you could see the degree of subjectivity Catholic students have adopted. Where is the objective moral truth that our children are supposed to be learning? But we cannot blame this solely on the schools, Catholic parents have failed as well. The remaining four chapters in this book discuss the purpose of education, the methods of the teacher, a curriculum of seven liberal arts (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music), and a hopeful chapter on the future of Catholic education.
It is hard to pick out a chapter as one that spoke to me the most, because each chapter built upon the previous one. I found myself nodding along the further and further I progressed in the book. After the chapters is a set of discussion questions, which can be used solo or in a small group setting. As for my opinion of the book, I found it to be succinct, but important enough that all Catholics should read it, not just parents and teachers. Catholic education is in need of a change, and we must stand up and do something about it, because it is not just our children's minds that are at stake but their souls as well.
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