History Podcasts

Parochial Schools - History

Parochial Schools - History

Determining what aid states and cities could provide schools has always been a difficult issue for the Supreme Court to determine. In the case of Everson vs Board of Education in 1947(otherwise known as the New Jersey School Bus Case), the Court upheld the right of the local government to pay for the busing of children, stating that such action benefits the students, and not the school. It also held, in the case of Board of Education v Allen in 1968, that the state may provide secular textbooks for parochial schools. The Court, however, ruled in 1971 that a Rhode Island law providing for the state to supplement the pay of parochial school students ... It has further ruled it admissible for the state to help cover a school's costs of administering standardized tests, while finding that the state may not reimburse states for the ... In its ruling, the Court stated that, by helping fund the payment of teachers, the state was becoming too involved. In more recent decisions, the Court has ruled that the state of Arizona could provide a deaf interpreter for a parochial school. In a New York decision, the court held that a special court district could not be set up for a group of Jewish Hasidim students who needed special education.


Catholic schools in the United States

Catholic schools in the United States constitute the largest number of non-public schools in the country. They are accredited by independent and/or state agencies, and teachers are generally certified. Catholic schools are supported primarily through tuition payments and fundraising, and typically enroll students regardless of religious background. [1]


Metro Lutheran

Parochial schools and "Lutheran ethnicity"

John Isch / August 19, 2011

Ole Oleson lived with his wife Bergit, two sons, and three daughters near Lake Johanna in Pope County in 1880. The three girls were enrolled in public school. Gottlib Schmidt lived with his wife Threasa and their six children in New Ulm in 1895. Their children were in school too, but probably in a parochial school.
Four-and-a-half million immigrants came from Germany or the countries that constituted Germany in the last half of the 19th century, and nearly one-and-a-half million immigrants came from the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland in the same time frame. The 392 Ole Olesons and the 6,432 Schmidts in Minnesota in the late 19th century had choices in where they sent their children. Those choices were there partly because of the cultural background they brought and partly because of the speed with which they integrated into their new country.
The Germans tended to include Lutheran elementary schools when they started a parish the Scandinavians were less likely to do so. The oldest Lutheran church in North America, St. Matthew in New York City, established a Lutheran school in 1752. In 2007-2008, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) had 1,200 schools with 138,000 students the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) had 344 schools with 30,000 students and, groups that became the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) had 180 schools with 14,000 students. Although it is somewhat of a generalization, LCMS and WELS grew out of the German immigration and ELCA grew out of the Scandinavian immigration. Although WELS and LCMS have less than half the membership of the ELCA, they have the great majority of elementary and secondary schools.

As Norman Madson noted in an anniversary booklet, both the Scandinavians and the Germans emigrated from countries in which the state provided a Lutheran education. When they came to the U.S., they were confronted with a public school which did not include religious instruction and where the teaching was in English. The Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes had less difficulty accepting public education at the elementary level and were less insistent on preserving their mother tongue. They also tended to come with skills and occupations which required a quick assimilation into the existing culture, including language and associations.
Georg Sverdrup (1848-1907), a Norwegian theologian, also contended that the state, not the church, was responsible for education and churches should not use their money to do the work of the state. The Scandinavians thus tended to establish colleges which would provide a Christian training for young people, both to move into the American society and to be Christian teachers in public schools. That became the basis for the great Lutheran colleges in the Midwest.
The Germans, on the other hand, for complex reasons, wanted to preserve the language that Luther used and they wanted to raise their children in a German culture. The early theologians of LCMS, WELS, and, later, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), such as Walther, Hoenecke, and Madson believed that Lutheran schools were essential, not merely for language and cultural preservation, but also so that the Bible could be read and studied and taught by teachers who were trained by the Lutheran church for Lutheran elementary schools. The battles at the beginning of the 20th century over the Bennett Law and in legal attempts to restrict or close parochial schools strengthened the resolve of WELS, LCMS, and ELS to preserve their schools so the next generation could also contend for the faith. These three church bodies thus established colleges to train teachers for their own schools.

The changing environment for parochial schools

Eventually culture and language became less relevant reasons for Lutheran parochial schools and Lutheran schools became “Americanized.” Public schools became more professional and had access to financial resources that private schools did not. The boom years after World War II dramatically increased enrollment in Lutheran educational institutions.

There is a growing interest in early childhood education which goes across all the Lutheran church bodies.

At present, Lutheran schools face declining enrollments which mirror declines in birth rates and in the number of church-going Lutherans. They also face the expense of maintaining buildings, keeping current with technology, and meeting the new emphasis on effectiveness and accountability. Other nonpublic schools, such as Catholic schools, face similar challenges.
On the positive side, there is a growing interest in early childhood education which goes across all the Lutheran church bodies. Early childhood education has become important in evangelism and in meeting a need for today’s families.
Today, 11 percent of all pre-Kindergarten-12 children in the United States attend a nonpublic school. Schools such as Lutheran ones offer a choice for parents and provide the means by which a church can assist them in the most important part of a child’s education.
John Isch is professor emeritus at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota. He also served as editor of The Lutheran Educator, the official publication of the WELS college.


Parochial Schools - History

The region&aposs first schools were established in the early 1830s, as the tiny settlement of Chicago began to expand. Eliza Chappell is often credited with being the city&aposs first public school teacher, but a number of private schools existed earlier. Whether public or private, however, life in these institutions was often chaotic. Early schools were makeshift and rudimentary. Funds earmarked for public education reached only a fraction of the school-age population. One teacher generally supervised classes numbering a hundred or more, with students ranging in age from 4 to 17. Schoolhouses were adapted from existing structures and often served multiple functions. Chappell&aposs school had originally been a store. “The schoolhouse opened, “ her daughter wrote, “in a little log house outside the military reservation” ( Fort Dearborn ), and was “divided by calico curtains into two apartments, one for a schoolroom and the other for lodging.”

When Chicago received its charter in 1837, volunteer examiners were appointed to oversee the schools, but funding remained meager. In 1845 an inspector reported schools housed in temporary quarters, crowded, poorly equipped, and foul-smelling, “well calculated to create in the minds of children a disgust for the school room and make the acquisition of knowledge an irksome as well as a difficult task.” Even when the city built its first school building that year, it was derisively dubbed “Miltimore&aposs Folly,” after a teacher who had suggested its necessity. By 1850 less than a fifth of eligible children were enrolled in public schools. Larger numbers attended private and parochial schools, but thousands did not enroll at all, particularly older children. Public school classes remained large, often conducted in poorly maintained rooms and with inadequate materials. Under such conditions, teachers could barely maintain order and listen to students read. One student recalled a typical lesson as consisting of reading “a chapter of the bible in mock unison,” and then shouting “at the top of our voices as rapidly as possible every word in 40 pages of coarse print in Kirkham&aposs grammar.” Only the most gifted and persistent students could advance beyond rudimentary literacy. Families that wanted and could afford better education usually hired private tutors.

This was the situation encountered in 1854 by John Dore, Chicago&aposs first superintendent of schools. Appointed by the city council, Dore and his better-known successor, William Wells (1856–1864), who were from Massachusetts, struggled to reform the schools. They worked diligently for better-trained teachers, a longer school year, improved facilities, and age-graded classes. Class sizes fell below 70, regular examinations were instituted, and the rudiments of age grading appeared in schools. Individual seats and desks gradually replaced benches and tables in many classes, to eliminate what Wells described as “one of the greatest of all school evils . or whispering.” To make instruction more appealing, Wells urged less emphasis on rote memorization and the use of “a variety of intellectual and physical recreations,” particularly for younger children. Wells also reached out to the city&aposs growing immigrant communities, particularly Roman Catholics, to expand the schools&apos clientele. He established the city&aposs first public high school and later added a normal school course for training teachers.

Wacker&aposs Manual
Chicago gradually developed a system of public education similar to those in large cities elsewhere in the country. Between 1860 and 1870 the public school population more than quadrupled, to more than 27,000, outpacing the city&aposs growth. In 1872 the state legislature established a Board of Education, with members appointed by the mayor, to oversee all aspects of public education in the city. Within this governance arrangement, leaders sought to develop a complex system to deliver education, with graded elementary schools, specialized courses of secondary education, and postsecondary courses for high-school graduates. At the same time, continued friction existed between the city&aposs different school systems. Private schools, particularly in Catholic parishes, remained a substantial presence in Chicago. German immigrants demanded instruction in their native language, and the Irish and other Catholics objected to Protestant Bible readings in public schools. These issues helped fuel private school enrollments, and by 1900 more than 50,000 students were enrolled in the Catholic schools alone.

Still, the public schools expanded rapidly, thanks both to the city&aposs rapid growth and improved attendance. Between 1870 and 1900, Chicago&aposs population expanded by a factor of six, and the public schools by a factor of eight—to about a quarter million. School leaders scrambled to find seats and teachers for these students. In the 1880s, for instance, children often shared desks because of crowding boys and girls were paired “for the sake of discipline.” An absent child lost the seat, returning to sit on a bench until another child&aposs absence created a vacancy. Basements often were used for classes, school supplies were limited, and many children continued to use old hard slates for writing lessons because expensive paper tablets were scarce.

The system struggled to improve instruction. Monthly records on attendance were collected, along with regular reports on topics ranging from discipline to academic performance. The Board of Education published curriculum guides and sponsored teacher institutes to improve instruction. A manual issued in 1879 urged the use of “slate work” as well as “oral work” in teaching arithmetic “to aid the teacher in securing variety ” in instruction (emphasis in original). Methods were suggested for teaching mathematics and other subjects at each grade level. In 1880 corporal punishment, the foundation of the old system of harsh discipline, was finally dropped as a board-sanctioned practice in the public schools. In a growing number of schools it was possible to find classes conducted in German, in response to political pressure from the city&aposs largest non-English-speaking ethnic group. Superintendent Albert G. Lane (1891–1898) was emblematic of leaders concerned both with improving the quality of instruction and the efficiency of district operations.

By 1900 there were more than five thousand teachers in the public schools. Thousands more taught in private and parochial schools. Over 80 percent of these teachers were women, most of them young, unmarried, and born in the United States. In 1897 the Chicago Teachers Federation (CTF) was formed to advocate a uniform pay scale, teacher pensions, and better working conditions in the public schools. It claimed thousands of members and became one of the most influential teachers&apos organizations in the United States. Led for more than 30 years by Margaret Haley, the CTF was an advocate for improved school funding and teachers&apos rights.

Juarez High School Yearbook, 1981
The opening decades of the twentieth century were a tumultuous time in the history of Chicago&aposs public schools. The CTF resisted the efforts of Superintendent Edwin Cooley (1900–1909) to centralize the district&aposs administrative functions. The union also successfully fought legislation proposed by Cooley to create a separate vocational track for students outside of traditional high schools. The CTF was affiliated for a short time with organized labor before being attacked by the Board of Education under the leadership of Jacob Loeb. A two-year battle ensued over the right of teachers to organize, reflecting long-standing divisions in the city between labor and business interests. The arbitrary dismissal of CTF members led to passage in 1917 of the Otis Law, which included Illinois&apos first provisions for teacher tenure. The influence of the CTF declined thereafter, especially during the term of Superintendent William McAndrew (1924–1927), who established the city&aposs first junior high schools and further expanded vocational education programs.

In the early twentieth century, Chicago was a major center of educational reform. Francis Parker (principal of the Cook County Normal School), John Dewey (professor and director of the University of Chicago Laboratory School), and Ella Flagg Young (innovative teacher and superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools) were prominent national figures in progressive education, along with William Wirt in nearby Gary. Together with other reformers, they established new experiential curricula, community programs linked to the schools, and teachers&apos councils to provide a forum to discuss pedagogy and related issues. Superintendent Young (1909–1915) was an outspoken advocate of teachers and received strong support from the CTF during her term. She declared the centralization of administrative authority undemocratic and “un-American” and resisted board attempts to attack the CTF, twice threatening resignation.

At about the same time, reform influences gradually infused the schools. Following an exposé of lifeless drill in classrooms visited by Joseph Mayer Rice in the 1890s, teachers were encouraged to use object lessons and other progressive techniques. The district later established a Child Study Department to recommend ways of improving the welfare of students. Particular attention was given to exercise and children&aposs physical development, major concerns of public health reformers at the time.

As Chicago&aposs immigrant population expanded, the schools were called upon to aid in its assimilation into American life. In 1886, the year of the Haymarket Riot, the Chicago Tribune editorialized that “it ought to be the first function of the public schools to teach loyalty, love of country, and devotion to American principles and institutions.” The study of American history and “civics” had long been an integral part of the curriculum but received more attention as the numbers of foreign-born students grew. In 1897 school board president Daniel Cameron declared that the schools should impart “permanent admiration and loyalty” for the United States. Jane Addams, on the other hand, believed instruction should be less doctrinaire. “Give these children a chance to utilize the historic and industrial material which they see about them,” she wrote, “and they will begin to have a sense of ease in America, a first consciousness of being at home.” Addams helped provide for the education of thousands of immigrants at Hull House, and other settlement houses followed suit. Many classes were offered for adults on a wide range of topics, including American history and civics. In 1918, Frances Wetmore was appointed to direct “Americanization” instruction for the public schools, moving her classes from the University of Chicago settlement and eventually serving thousands of aliens seeking citizenship. These offerings, which continued through the following decade, were later provided by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

Following World War I, Chicago&aposs public schools entered a period of enrollment stability at about 400,000 students, and an era of corruption and controversy over issues ranging from the curriculum to school finance. Republican mayor William Hale Thompson attacked Superintendent McAndrew for allegedly anti-American textbooks used in the schools. Thompson and his political allies used provisions allowing city control of non-teaching personnel to make the schools a source of patronage appointments. This marked the beginning of a long period of graft in the school system, as the appointment of political operatives continued under Thompson&aposs Democratic successors, particularly Edward Kelly. The state provided little support for education, and by the late 1920s the board was borrowing to fund basic programs. This ongoing financial mismanagement contributed to a fiscal crisis during the Great Depression, when the jobs of politically connected custodians and clerks were protected before those of teachers. In turn, teachers conducted occasionally raucous demonstrations to protest drastic cuts imposed by the board. By the time financial recovery measures were instituted, with help from the state legislature, public confidence in the city&aposs schools had weakened significantly. Scandals over corruption and nepotism continued to plague the schools through the late 1940s.

DuSable High School Team, 1954
Life in schools often reflected this malaise. Standards became increasingly uniform and more students went to high school, but classroom experiences often were rather mundane. Evidence of reform influence was difficult to find. Inspectors from New York&aposs Columbia University in the early 1930s observed that most schools still practiced uniform drill exercises, even requiring children to read in unison. Although some teachers employed more imaginative and engaging teaching methods, traditional approaches apparently predominated. The district&aposs rules were partly to blame, requiring time allotments for subjects which “too often . serve to delimit worthwhile experiences.” In the high schools, investigators reported that the curriculum “seems to support too much the concept that education is something to be got, passed and recorded.”

As high schools grew, students were both sorted and urged to intermingle. “Homogeneous grouping” was introduced, a practice later known as ability grouping or tracking, utilizing standardized tests. A student handbook for Englewood High School explained that “those who can learn more quickly are not hindered by the slower pupils, while those that are slow are in classes by themselves.” Some secondary schools also practiced limited segregation of boys and girls, to support “improvement in the scholarship of the boys,” who were believed to lag behind girls developmentally. At the same time, spaces such as the lunchroom or cafeteria, where students could interact under supervision, were created to promote sociability. Student publications complemented schoolwide events such as dances and pep rallies, intended to encourage school spirit.

The region&aposs private and parochial schools also expanded between 1920 and 1950. Catholic school enrollments grew by nearly 30 percent in the city and nearly tripled in the suburbs. Under the leadership of George Cardinal Mundelein and Samuel Cardinal Stritch, parishes scrambled to build schools to meet the demand, particularly for high schools. By the early fifties, nearly 200,000 students attended Catholic schools, about 70 percent of them in the city.

Suburban communities grew steadily after the World War I, and their school systems began to gain public favor. No longer isolated rural districts, they sought a quality of education equivalent to the best urban schools. Affluent school systems to the north and west provided new facilities and innovative curricula for a largely middle- or upper-class clientele. In Winnetka, Superintendent Carleton Washburne became a celebrated champion of progressive education, and his schools featured imaginative courses of study and exemplary student support services. Other suburban districts adopted similar reforms, albeit to varying degrees. These educational systems did not have the politically charged atmosphere of city schools, and many saw them as havens of responsible innovation and community responsiveness.

Metro History Fair Awards, 2004
In the 1940s the ongoing crisis over mismanagement of the Chicago Public Schools finally came to a head. Following an investigation by the National Education Association, regional accreditors threatened sanctions. This, coupled with the election of Mayor Martin Kennelly and passage of state legislation expanding the power of system administrators, signaled a new era. Herold Hunt&aposs decision to move from Kansas City in 1947 to become superintendent marked an end to blatant political interference in the schools.

Hunt and his successor, Benjamin Willis, presided over a period of expansion in public education. In the wake of a postwar baby boom and a buoyant economy, they embarked on a building campaign that added significantly to the system&aposs capacity. Enrollments surged, peaking at nearly 600,000 in the late sixties. At the same time, class sizes dropped significantly for the first time in decades, from about 40 to 32. New programs were added, from specialized vocational training to arts education, and new services were offered, such as free summer programs, expanded guidance counseling, and rehabilitation services. Salaries for teachers increased in the wake of a national shortage. But budgets were sound, and the system was generally free of political interference.

Important developments affected the experiences of schoolchildren. Audio-visual technology enabled teachers to introduce a new component into everyday instruction. By the end of the 1950s the Chicago schools owned thousands of educational films on a wide variety of topics, and every building had projectors. New science materials encouraging more “hands-on” experimentation were obtained with help from the National Defense Education Act. These included human anatomy models, microscopes, incubators, and “computer kits.” In the 1960s new curricular models were adopted in a variety of subjects, ranging from the “new math” to “whole language” approaches to reading and writing instruction. By 1964 the system reportedly owned more than 75,000 “manipulative materials” and “visual aids” to assist education. These developments helped to reduce the emphasis on drill and memorization that characterized the schooling of earlier generations, even if older teachers often resisted new approaches.

At the same time, a new source of controversy came fully into view: racial inequality in education. Black Chicagoans had been aware of the disparities for decades, and in the mid-twentieth century the issues finally entered broader public discourse. By 1960 Chicago&aposs African American population had surpassed 800,000, almost a quarter of the city&aposs total—up from 14 percent just 10 years earlier. Vast areas of the South and West Sides became densely populated ghetto neighborhoods, and racial segregation was high. Schools in these areas were overcrowded, and some ran on double shifts, with children attending for just half a day. In poor inner-city areas the annual turnover of students exceeded 50 percent, and in some instances it approached 100 percent. Schools in these neighborhoods often fell into disrepair. “The broken windows were there,” wrote one young teacher at DuSable High School in the early seventies, “along with the torn window shades and broken desk tops, appendages to the badly lighted, worn central hallway.” These conditions, he reflected, “encouraged failure and a sense of depression.” Observations such as these led to calls for integration, and demands that inequities between black and white schools be resolved.

Professing belief in neighborhood schools, Superintendent Willis characterized the ferment over inequity as unwarranted interference in the province of professional educators. Public outcries intensified over his use of portable buildings, widely derided as “ Willis Wagons, ” to accommodate overcrowding at black schools. Demonstrations rocked the system in the early 1960s. External reports recommended dramatic steps to redress educational inequality but were ignored. After a somewhat histrionic resignation offer, Willis ended his superintendency in 1966 amidst growing acrimony.

James Redmond, Willis&aposs successor, and the superintendents who followed him attempted to develop integration plans that would send black students to predominantly white schools. Hostile demonstrations on the city&aposs Northwest and Southwest Sides erupted. The failure of board initiatives led to threatened federal intervention, resulting in a 1980 consent decree and school desegregation plan. Meanwhile, the movement of students out of the system accelerated. Between 1970 and 1980 the white portion of the schools&apos population fell by nearly 60 percent, and by the early 1990s it had almost been halved again. White Chicagoans were moving to the suburbs or enrolling their children in private or parochial schools.

Suburban communities grew rapidly in the postwar period, and their school systems became widely acclaimed, especially in the years following 1970. These school districts engaged in building campaigns to keep up with rising demand, funded by an expansive local economy and an electorate willing to invest substantially in education. Some schools gained national attention, such as Winnetka&aposs New Trier High School, frequently cited as an exemplary institution. Beginning in the early 1960s, studies noted the differences between schools in the city and the suburbs, arguing that their newer facilities, better funding and a largely middle- and upper-class clientele gave suburban districts a clear advantage. When the state launched the Illinois Goals Assessment Project (IGAP) to measure achievement levels in the early 1980s, suburban schools consistently outperformed most inner-city public schools.

Teachers in the Chicago area began to organize in the postwar years, like their counterparts elsewhere. City teachers were dissatisfied with salary provisions and the unresponsiveness of the Willis administration. In 1966 they elected the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) as their bargaining agent and three years later conducted the first systemwide teachers&apos strike in Chicago&aposs history. Even though it was settled quickly, following Mayor Richard J. Daley&aposs intervention, it represented a new era in the relationship of teachers and the district. Strikes occurred frequently over the next two decades, as the union and administrators battled over such issues as salaries, job security, class sizes, and transfer policies. Similar conflicts occurred in suburban districts, albeit on a smaller scale, as teachers organized there also. An atmosphere of dissension became associated with the schools, particularly in the city, and it contributed to mounting public dissatisfaction with the state of public education.

In the 1980s public education in Chicago faced a variety of challenges. Declining enrollments and escalating costs led to a fiscal crisis in the late 1970s and the creation of the state-mandated Chicago School Finance Authority in 1980 to oversee the system&aposs budget. Continuing money problems, recurring conflicts with the CTU, poor performances on standardized tests, and continuing white flight from the system contributed to a perception of failure. In the fall of 1987, U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett declared Chicago&aposs public schools the “worst in the nation.”

Under the leadership of Mayor Harold Washington, a coalition of community groups, business leaders, and reformers helped to draft a series of proposals to transform the schools. Passed by the state legislature in 1988, the Chicago School Reform Act created aLocal School Council for each of the system&aposs schools. Consisting of parents, community members, and educators, these councils became a new source of energy for schools and communities across the city. Chicago&aposs school reform also helped to put the district back into the national limelight, as other urban school systems attempted similar reforms. Test scores in some schools improved, while others remained the same or even declined. But irrespective of test results, there was renewed public interest in the city&aposs schools.

In 1995 yet another Chicago school reform bill was passed in Springfield, this time under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Local school councils were retained, but the Board of Education was reconstituted and the superintendent was replaced by a chief executive officer. The system was relieved of oversight by the School Finance Authority and was given new powers to utilize resources. The result was a series of decisive moves to augment performance at poorly performing schools and to locate centers of excellence throughout the system. New contracts were negotiated. Public confidence in the system improved, although problems remained. Paul Vallas, a former city budget director, served as the system&aposs first CEO in 2001 he was replaced by Arne Duncan.

At the start of the twenty-first century, education in the Chicago area remains highly fragmented. The Chicago Public Schools have experienced radical changes in the last several decades, with profound demographic change followed by organizational modification and school reform. The suburban districts appear to enjoy substantial advantages, and the advent of new testing regimes and other means of comparing achievement levels make it difficult to ignore these differences. The region&aposs private schools serve a largely white and affluent clientele, while urban schools, Chicago&aposs in particular, are largely black and Hispanic. By 2000 more than three-quarters of Chicago&aposs public school students were from low-income or poor families. Schooling is highly unequal across the region overcoming these differences will be the great challenge of the future.


History of the Catholic Church in the United States

The Catholic faith in the United States first spread through the work of missionaries, such as Jesuits Isaac Jogues, Jacques Marquette and Eusebio Kino in the 1600s. In the 1770s, Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra led the establishment of the California mission system.

Catholic education in the United States goes back to at least 1606, when Franciscans opened a school in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. Further north and a bit later, Jesuits instructed such dedicated Native American students as Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680). By the latter 1600s, English colonists had set up their own public schools, often with a heavily Protestant, if not blatantly anti-Catholic cast. Even in Catholic-founded Maryland, Catholics were a minority, and in 1677, in Newtown, the Jesuits established a preparatory school. In New Orleans, the Franciscans opened a school for boys in 1718. Ursuline sisters arrived there from France in 1727 to open an orphanage, school for street girls and health facility. This was the first formal Catholic charity in the present United States. Catholics in Philadelphia in 1782 opened St. Mary’s School, considered the first parochial school in the United States.

Meanwhile the Catholic population continued to expand. By about 1776, it reached approximately 25,000 in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York State alone. Not long after the American Revolution, John Carroll, cousin of Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll, saw his dream of a Catholic college take root with the 1789 establishment of Georgetown. The Bill of Rights, with the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, helped Catholics further cement their place in post-Revolutionary America. John Carroll was appointed prefect of the United States of America in 1784 and bishop of Baltimore in 1789. Baltimore, the premier see, or first diocese in the country, was elevated to an archdiocese in 1808. Archbishop Carroll died in 1815. (There are now 195 Catholic dioceses and eparchies in the United States, with some 450 active and retired bishops.)

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, set up a school for poor children in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1809 and made the creation of parochial schools a lifetime cause. In 1812, in rural Kentucky, Mary Rhodes, Christina Stuart and Nancy Havern, aided by a Belgium immigrant, Father Charles Nerinckx, formed the Friends of Mary (later the Sisters of Loretto) and began to teach poor children.

The middle of the 19th Century saw increasing Catholic interest in education in tandem with increasing Catholic immigration. To serve their growing communities, American Catholics opened their own schools, aided by religious orders such as the Sisters of Mercy, who arrived from Ireland in 1843, and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, organized in 1845 to teach in Michigan. At the university level, Fordham University was founded in New York City in 1841. The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842 by the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Indiana. The Catholic University of America was founded in Washington in 1887.

Such successes sparked a bigoted backlash, fomented by groups such as the Know-Nothing Society. Mobs burnt a convent and murdered a nun in Massachusetts in 1834, destroyed two churches in New England in 1854, and, in that same year, tarred-and-feathered and nearly killed Father John Bapst, a Swiss-born Jesuit teaching in Maine and ministering to the Passamaquoddy Indians and Irish immigrants, among others.

The late 19th Century saw the continued development of religious orders, including the founding of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament by rich heiress Katharine Drexel to meet the educational needs of blacks and Native Americans. It also saw the naming of the first U.S. cardinals, John McCloskey in New York and James Gibbons in Baltimore.

In 1904 Catholic educators formed a new organization, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). In 1915, the Catholic Hospital Association, later the Catholic Health Association, was formed. Their first convention brought together 200 sisters, lay nurses and doctors. Today, the organization represents more than 600 Catholic hospitals and 1,200 continuum of care facilities across the country. Every day, one out of six hospitalized patients is cared for in a Catholic health care facility.

In 1910, the National Conference of Catholic Charities was founded on the campus of The Catholic University of America. The organization played a key role in developing the National Housing Act, supporting the creation of Social Security and founding the National Catholic School of Social Service. The NCCC would later be renamed Catholic Charities USA, a national network of Catholic social service providers with its more than 170 member agencies that together served over 8.5 million in need in 2014.

In 1917 the U.S. bishops formed the National Catholic War Council (NCWC) to enable American Catholics to support servicemen during World War I. In 1919, Pope Benedict XV urged the hierarchy to join him in working for peace and social justice. In response, the bishops organized the National Catholic Welfare Council that same year, headquartered in Washington with a general secretary with some staff. In 1922 the National Catholic Welfare Conference was created to address such concerns as education, immigration and social action.

Msgr. John A. Ryan, head of NCWC’s social action department, played a crucial role in developing the moral framework that would underpin the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. In 1970, the bishops launched the Campaign for Human Development, a domestic anti-poverty program, which continues to fund groups led by low-income people seeking to address the root causes of poverty in their communities.

In 1966, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) were established out of the NCWC. The NCCB attended to the church's own affairs in this country, fulfilling the Second Vatican Council's mandate that bishops “jointly exercise their pastoral office” (Decree on the Bishops' Pastoral Office in the Church, #38). In 2001, the NCCB and the USCC were combined to form the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Throughout the 20th Century, Catholic social justice teaching became deeply rooted, reflected in the founding of the Catholic Worker Movement by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933, Catholic labor activism and participation by the Maryknoll community and other religious orders in missionary work around the globe. The Church played an active role in the Civil Rights movement. In 1960, John F. Kennedy became the first and so far only Catholic to be elected President of the United States.

In 1900, an estimated 3,500 parochial schools existed in the United States. Within 20 years, the number of elementary schools had reached 6,551, enrolling 1,759,673 pupils taught by 41,581 teachers. Secondary education likewise boomed. In 1900, Catholics could boast of approximately 100 Catholic high schools, but by 1920 more than 1,500 existed. For more than two generations, enrollment continued to climb. By the mid-1960s, it had reached an all-time high of 4.5 million elementary school pupils, with about 1 million students in Catholic high schools. Four decades later, total elementary and secondary enrollment is 2.6 million. There are 8,000 Catholic schools across the United States today.

The United States received its first visits from popes in the years following the Second Vatican Council, including Paul VI (1965), several visits by John Paul II including the only World Youth Day in the United States hosted in Denver (1993), and Benedict XVI (2008). All three popes addressed the United Nations.


A uniform approach to documenting Catholic school education

Over the past few months, I have been cataloging a Catholic school uniform and related Catholic school material for the museum's education collection. With Easter fast approaching, this process had led me to reflect on the role parochial schools played in the history of American education.

The uniform in question is a navy blue jumper with matching bow tie, beanies, socks, and a white blouse. The donation also included a couple of schoolbooks used at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Washington, D.C., from 1962-1964 and a pencil box (depicted in a previous blog post). The jumper was manufactured by Bendinger Brothers, a Philadelphia firm established in 1953, when parochial schools were beginning to peak in popularity. Creating appropriate school attire had by then developed from a small cottage industry to a major business. This uniform is a typical example of early 1960s Catholic school student attire.

Catholic missionary schools, seminaries, and convent academies were among the earliest teaching institutions in the country. However, the American Catholic school system developed primarily as a response to violent anti-Catholic sentiments in the 1830s and a desire to reinforce Catholic teaching in a religiously diverse country. Nativist hostility was sparked by the rise of Irish immigration to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. When disagreements erupted over the Protestant-based public school curriculum and prohibited use of the Douay-Rheims Bible, American Catholics turned to their church to establish an alternative education system. By the time large numbers of Southern and Eastern European Catholics arrived in the 1880s, parochial schools were flourishing. The years that followed saw continued anti-Catholic sentiment centering on funding the schools. A power struggle involving funding new schools also ensued within the American Catholic church around English-speaking, diocese-controlled regional schools versus community based, often multilingual, parish-run schools.

Uniforms provided a method of masking obvious class and racial diversity in dress while providing a sense of security, modesty, and freedom of movement, particularly for females. Uniforms were worn in 19th-century convent schools for young ladies and Catholic missionary schools to provide standards of Euro-American dress for children. Catholic asylum schools and industrial schools required children be dressed in sturdy, functional clothing. According to Sally Dwyer-McNulty, author of Common Threads: A Cultural History of Clothing in American Catholicism, by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, boys were often wearing military-style clothing, while girls were wearing simple dresses in a style named after former naval tailor Peter Thompson. These looked like sailor suit dresses for girls, much like this Girl Scout uniform from around 1918 in our collection.

In both the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, navy or dark cloth skirts or jumpers were paired with a white blouse as well as a tie and collar. While every faith-based school did not require a store-bought uniform, Catholic schools proudly encouraged a unified, neat appearance. By the 1950s, additional choices were available to those who could afford them, such as matching or complementary blazers and cardigans for girls and boys, vests, outerwear, shoes such as Mary Janes, book bags, and belts.

But uniforms changed throughout the 20th century. In the 1940s and 1950s, A-line jumpers in navy were common. Jumpers were also manufactured in burgundy and dark green. As parochial schools became more common, demand for uniforms resulted in brown jumpers paired with yellow-, tan-, and mint-colored blouses by the late 1950s, but the simple navy and white uniform remained the standard style. In the mid-1960s, plaid skirts and blazers replaced jumpers in popularity as Catholic schools appeared in film and television. Material also changed over time, from wools, linens, and cottons to polyester and synthetic blends. Today uniforms are permanent press, wrinkle free, and stain resistant.

Much has been written about the pros and cons of dress codes in maintaining discipline, and the role uniforms play in discouraging vanity, theft of personal property, and distraction from academics. Whether successful or not in promoting positive behavior, uniforms still are the most identifiable feature of American parochial school academic dress and as such are important in documenting an aspect of our nation's educational heritage.

Unfortunately for museums, everyday student attire usually gets recycled, destroyed, or lost in favor of preserving objects associated with special occasion memories.

If you have a uniform or school attire worn by a family member prior to World War II, particularly one associated with an immigrant community parish school, or a plaid uniform worn in the 1960s or 1970s that you would like to share with us, please send a picture of the uniform and your school story to [email protected] Please do not send any artifacts unless directly instructed to, as we are extremely limited on space. We would love to hear about your school experiences.

Debbie Schaefer-Jacobs is curator of the education collection which includes the Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection and the Harry T. Peters American on Stone Collection in the Division of Home and Community Life.


Anti-Catholicism and the History of Catholic School Funding

The debate over the use of public funds to assist in the education of Catholic schoolchildren has a long – and sometimes violent – history in the United States. While Catholics themselves have been divided on the necessity of such assistance and where it might lead, the issue itself has been a flash point for public, legislative and judicial anti-Catholicism for over 150 years.

While many assume prohibition of aid to Catholic schools or voucher programs to Catholic school parents to be a question of constitutional interpretation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause, the history of Catholic school funding questions is essentially rooted in America’s unhappy history of anti-Catholicism. Unfortunately, that anti-Catholic heritage has become entrenched in judicial interpretations and public policy. The point of this report is not to argue whether specific proposals for vouchers, tuition assistance, or direct aid to Catholic schools are good – or bad – public policy. However, it is the point that forbidding aid to Catholic school children or to the parents of Catholic school children is, no matter how such actions might be interpreted, a remnant of 19th century anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant prejudices.

Catholic schools began in the United States as a reaction against a growing publicly-funded school system that was essentially Protestant. In 1839, the American Bible Society announced its intention to make certain that the Bible was read in every classroom in America.1 There was no disagreement in a country that was essentially Protestant. It was widely – virtually universally – held that education without a religious foundation in the Bible was no education at all. As Horace Mann of Massachusetts, the so-called “father” of the public school system wrote, “Our system earnestly inculcates all Christian morals. It welcomes the religion of the Bible and in receiving the Bible, it allows it to do what is allowed by no other system – to speak for itself.𔄤

The Bible – specifically the King James Version – was seen in Protestant America as a universal document that stood above doctrinal divisions within Protestantism. Therefore, use of Scripture in public schools would be viewed as “non-sectarian,” meaning that interpretation of the Bible would not be prejudiced toward a specific Protestant denomination. The public schools would not be Presbyterian or Congregationalist. However, use of the King James translation of the Bible accepted by all Protestants – and with underlying Protestant assumptions – would be the foundation of the public school system.

This became a key understanding in establishing very early in the history of American public schools the definition of “sectarian.” Today, when the word “sectarian” is used in a political or judicial environment, the connotation is religion in general. “Sectarian” would not have that meaning in the 19th century and in the development of the public school system and the laws – as well as the judicial interpretation – that derived from it. In that development, the word sectarian did not refer to a general Protestant outlook. It would mean, in the beginning, sects within Protestantism. Very quickly, however, sectarian would be narrowed to take on a more specific definition as the debate over public school funding began: Catholic.

The New York City Common Schools3

The evolution of the debate over school funding into an anti-Catholic movement was established in the battle over the “common schools” in New York City that began in 1840. The New York City schools at that time were funded by the state through the Public School Society. The Public School Society was “a benevolent association formed in 1805 to care for the instruction of children unable to attend religious or private schools.” A primary goal of the Society was “to inculcate the sublime truths of religion and morality contained in Holy Scriptures” and to assure that Bible exercises were included in the schools it controlled.4

By 1840, the Public School Society dominated the New York City schools by controlling the allocation of the common school fund allocated from the state of New York. Ascribing to its definition of “sectarian,” the Public School Society funded schools that were generically “Christian.” These were “common” schools sharing in the “common” understanding of Protestant Christianity, rather than those operated by a specific Protestant congregation. The Public School Society would not fund schools sponsored by churches explaining, that “if religion be taught in a school, it strips it of one of the characteristics of a common school…no school can be common unless all the parents of all religious sects…can send their children to it…without doing violence to their religious beliefs.” Yet, the difficulty was that the schools they did fund were and had to be generically Protestant. It was accepted as a matter of fundamental pedagogy that a general Protestant understanding of Scripture and devotional life within the schools was central to the curriculum and to normal education. As such, the schools were subtle – and not very subtle – tools for evangelizing the growing Irish Catholic immigrant population to Protestantism.

Within the common schools in New York City – and elsewhere – daily scripture readings from the King James Version of the Bible were required. Prayers, songs and general religious instruction at odds with Catholic belief were the norm. Anti-Catholic sentiments extended throughout the curriculum with references to deceitful Catholics, murderous inquisitions, vile popery, Church corruption, conniving Jesuits and the pope as the anti-Christ of Revelation common place.5 In the face of such bigotry within the common schools, Catholic parishes had begun to develop their own Catholic schools in response. By 1840 in New York City, approximately 5,000 children attended eight Catholic schools. But at least 12,000 more Catholic children either attended no school, or were enrolled in the common schools where their faith was insulted daily.6

The firestorm began when William H. Seward, the newly elected governor of the state addressed the issue in a legislative message delivered in January, 1840. He recommended the “establishment of schools in which (immigrants) may be instructed by teachers speaking the same language with themselves and professing the same faith.𔄩 In response, Catholic schools in New York City petitioned the common council for a share of the state school fund distributed through the Public School Society. The Society answered with a message that resonates with today’s rhetoric. It argued that by funding Catholic schools, money would be dissipated and that “sectarian” Catholic education would replace the common schools. The common council agreed and the Catholic petition was denied.

It was then that Bishop John Hughes of New York stepped into the picture. “Dagger John” as he was aptly called had been named coadjutor bishop under the ailing John DuBois in 1838 and he would formally succeed to the See in 1842. But by 1840, Bishop Hughes was in command and would take a far more confrontational approach to the question of school funding than his predecessor.8 Blasting the Public School Society for corrupting Catholic children, Hughes submitted a renewed petition demanding Catholics be given a portion of the state funds for schooling. “The petition was answered by both the Public School Society and the Methodist churches of New York, the trustees of the society insisting once more that their teachings were non-sectarian and the Methodist clergy using the excuse to attack the Catholic version of Scripture as upholding the murder of heretics and an unqualified submission to papal authority.𔄫 In response, the Common Council scheduled a debate on the issue for late October, 1840. At the debate, Hughes represented the Catholic schools and spoke for three hours. The Protestant response covered two days and dealt primarily in anti-Catholic vitriol rather than the issues at hand. “Catholics were represented as irreligious idol worshippers, bent on the murder of all Protestants and the subjugation of all democracies. ‘I do say,’ one minister told the sympathetic galleries, ‘that if the fearful dilemma were forced upon me of becoming an infidel or a Roman catholic, according to the entire system of popery, with all its idolatry, superstition, and violent opposition to the Holy Bible, I would rather be an infidel than a papist.’󈭞

The parameters of the debate were set and would be adhered to virtually to our own day. On the one hand, Catholics had been forced to set up their own schools because of the overwhelmingly Protestant nature of the public school system. As a result, they wanted a share of the public funding set aside for the general education of children. On the other hand, the public school system viewed itself as the only educational instrument for the “common” culture of America, a culture in the 19th century that was decidedly Protestant. The tools of argument in either case would be to employ anti-Catholic rhetoric and to equate “sectarian” with the Catholic schools.

In January 1841, the Catholic position was rejected overwhelmingly by the common council. Catholics had been put into a difficult position. In the public mind, Catholics appeared to be opposed to reading the Bible, rather than reading the King James Version with its decidedly anti-Catholic slant. It was an incomprehensible position to the 19th century Protestant mind and reinforced two centuries of anti-Catholic prejudice. “They demand of Republicans to give them funds to train up their children to worship a ghostly monarch of vicars, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and Popes! They demand of us to take away our children’s funds and bestow them on subjects of Rome, the creatures of a foreign hierarchy!󈭟 This would echo the lament 150 years later in an Indiana daily newspaper over the voucher issue with an editor complaining that his taxes would be used “to teach papal infallibility.󈭠

Bishop Hughes continued to press the issue and with the support of Governor Seward (after a demonstration of Catholic strength at the voting booth) a bill was passed in the state legislature in 1842 which effectively ended the Public School Society’s monopoly on New York City public education. Riots ensued and the home of Bishop Hughes would be stoned. Yet it was a phyrric victory for Bishop Hughes. Even under the new legislation, control of the public schools effectively remained in Protestant hands through the school boards. When protests were made that reading of the Bible be prohibited as “sectarian,” a new board of education dominated by Protestants responded that the King James Bible was simply not a sectarian book. Reading of the King James Version of the Bible would continue in those schools where Catholics did not hold political power and Catholic schools would continue to be denied funding as sectarian institutions.

While rocks were thrown, violence was minimal in New York. Such was not the case in Philadelphia. In 1843, Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick of Philadelphia asked the local school committee to excuse Catholic students from reading the King James Version and from daily Protestant exercises. When the school committee allowed Catholic students in the common schools to be allowed to read their own translation of the Bible, nativists claimed that this was merely the first step to an outright ban on Bible reading in the schools. With a growing anti-Irish sentiment already strong in the city, the dispute erupted in a violent series of riots in 1844 that saw the bishop flee the city, 13 people killed and five Catholic churches burned to the ground.13

The Know Nothings and the Development of Blaine Amendments

“As the Catholic population in the United States grew, ‘sectarian’ took on an even more precise, and more pejorative, meaning. In response to the waves of Catholic immigration in the 19th century, Nativist groups such as the anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party grew in size and political power. These groups sought to insure the ascendancy of their view of the common religion of the United States in the common schools and keep out ‘sectarian’ competition, enacting measures such as requiring the reading of the King James Bible in public schools, and enacting measures barring any public funds to sectarian schools.󈭢

The popular appeal of the Know Nothing Party prior to the Civil War was based on a growing anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment, fueled in no small part by the public school question. Catholics were considered illiterate and ignorant Irish immigrants. They were viewed as bible-burners eager to rob the public till to pass on their superstitious beliefs to a new generation. The Know Nothing Party combined nativism, anti-Catholicism, temperance and anti-slavery into a potent political force that would dominate in Northern state houses in the late 1850s. The remnant of the movement after the Civil War would coalesce in the Republican party and promote legislative attacks on Catholic schools that remained in force for a long time.15

As the Know Nothings gained power, they took particular aim at Catholic schools. In the 1854 elections in Massachusetts, they secured complete dominance in both houses and won the governor’s office. “The Know Nothings adopted an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution barring any part of the common school fund to be ‘appropriated to any religious sect for the maintenance exclusively of its own school.’ The amendment’s proponents were open about their motives: ‘Sir, I want all our children of our Catholic and Protestant population, to be educated together in our public schools. And if gentlemen say that the resolution has a strong leaning towards Catholics, and is intended to have special reference to them, I am not disposed to deny that it admits of such interpretation. I am ready to say to our fellow Catholic citizens: You may come here and meet us on the broad principles of civil and religious liberty, but if you cannot meet us upon this common ground, we do not ask you to come.’󈭤

“As one might expect with an organization created to decrease the political influence of immigrants and Catholics, Know Nothing office holders devoted the bulk of their energies to the implementation of their nativist agenda. And because Know Nothings believed that the surest method for guaranteeing the supremacy of Protestant values in America lay in promoting Protestantism in the public schools, educational matters occupied a significant portion of their legislative agenda. Addressing Catholic attempts to end the use of the Protestant King James Bible in schools, Massachusetts Know Nothing lawmakers enacted a law requiring students to read that version of the Scripture every day. That legislature also approved an amendment to the state constitution that barred the use of state funds in sectarian schools. This, Know Nothings hoped, would make parochial schools financially unfeasible, forcing the children of Catholics to learn ‘American’ customs in the public schools.󈭥 One curious aspect of the Know Nothing legislation in Massachusetts was that it prohibited racial discrimination. Though laudable, “blacks were Protestant and native-born and posed no threat to the predominant Protestant curriculum that Know Nothings found so important.󈭦

In their anti-Catholic zeal, the Know Nothings of Massachusetts also passed a “nunnery inspection” law that included Catholic schools. Committees were to investigate certain unnamed “practices” allegedly taking place within these Catholic institutions, a common enough belief based on decades of popular anti-Catholic literature boldly proclaiming immoral activity and “white slavery” conditions in convents. “The so-called Nunnery Committee undertook three special investigations – one at Holy Cross College in Worcester, another in a school run by the Sisters of Notre Dame in Lowell, and a third at a school in Roxbury operated by nuns of the same order. The investigation at Roxbury was particularly offensive, as some two dozen men suddenly appeared at the school, announced they were on state business, and proceeded to tramp through the building. They poked into closets, searched cellars, intimidated nuns, frightened the children—and found nothing incriminating.󈭧 When newspapers protested, the Committee responded that surprise visits were necessary because “priests imprisoned young nuns in convents against their will.󈭨

In the era after the Civil War, anti-Catholic fervor over the school question coalesced in the movement to legislate so-called Blaine amendments into state constitutions. It would be these amendments that codified the nativist identification of “sectarian” with Catholic. These amendments would not be applied to Protestant religious activities in public schools.

President Ulysses S. Grant (1868-1876) was well known for his Know Nothing sympathies and had belonged to the party prior to the Civil War. His vice presidents, Schulyer Colfax and Henry Wilson, had been leading members of the Know Nothings.21 In 1875, President Grant called for a Constitutional amendment that would mandate free public schools and prohibit the use of public money for sectarian schools. (An interesting proposal in that it assumed that the Constitution as written would not ban the use of public funds for sectarian schools.) It was clear that Grant’s concern was rooted in his anti-Catholicism, fearing a future with “patriotism and intelligence on one side and superstition, ambition and greed on the other” which he identified with the Catholic Church. Grant called for public schools “unmixed with atheistic, pagan or sectarian teaching.󈭪 The assumption would be that these free public schools would be Protestant in nature and that no public funds would be used for sectarian – Catholic – schools.

Senator James G. Blaine of Maine had proposed such an amendment to the Constitution in 1874. It read, in part: “No money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public source, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect, nor shall any money so raised or land so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.󈭫

The amendment was defeated in 1875 but would be the model incorporated into 34 state constitutions over the next three decades. They have come down to us today. “Thirty-one states presently have Blaine amendments, or amendments derived from the Blaine formula, in their constitutions forbidding state aid to Catholic schools.󈭬 These “Blaine amendments” are clearly illegal under the Federal constitution. Drafted on the basis of anti-Catholic prejudice, they are aimed at a single class of citizens. The “protestant paranoia fueled by waves of Catholic immigration to the U.S. beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, cannot form the basis of a stable constitutional principle. And the stability of the principle has been undermined by the amelioration of those concerns. From the advent of publicly supported, compulsory education until very recently, aid to sectarian schools primarily meant aid to Catholic schools as an enterprise to rival publicly supported, essentially Protestant schools.󈭭

Historian David O’Brien concluded that with the Blaine amendments to state constitutions, “the outcome of the great Bible war, then, was forecast in the New York fight four decades earlier: the secularization of public education and the ban on aid to church-sponsored schools.󈭮 But the reality in the 19th century and virtually the first half of the twentieth century was far different. As noted above, the New York battle did not end Bible reading or Protestant services in public schools in New York City. Long after states adopted Blaine Amendments – well into the 20th century – public schools routinely conducted such services and identified themselves by a generically Christian environment. They would only begin to become secularized, and then only in urban America, in the 1930s with the influx of the new professional public educators inculcated with the teaching philosophy of John Dewey. Even at that point, the impetus for such secularization came from the teaching community and not through judicial or legislative mandate.

Blaine Amendments themselves were squarely aimed at Catholic schools and never interpreted to apply to public schools that were viewed as legitimately Protestant and reflecting that “Protestant hegemony.” “Court decisions of the late 19th and early 20th century demonstrate well the targets of Blaine Amendments. They routinely held that the prohibition on funding ‘sectarian’ schools did not prohibit funding public schools that were religious, only schools with religions that conflicted with the common Protestant hegemony. As one court observed, ‘It is said that the King James Bible is proscribed by Roman Catholic authority but proscription cannot make that sectarian which is not actually so.󈭯 That ruling was by a Colorado court in 1927. In a 1903 Nebraska court ruling it was stated that state constitutional prohibition against sectarian instruction “cannot, under any canon of construction which we are acquainted, be held to mean that neither the Bible, nor any part of it, from Genesis to Revelation, may be read in the educational institutions fostered by the state.󈭰

In general, the Courts paid little attention to Catholic schools themselves. As long as the Church was not attempting to secure the use of public funds, the schools were left alone by the judiciary. However, in 1922 the state of Oregon, under Ku Klux Klan pressure, passed a law requiring that all children between the ages of eight and sixteen attend the public schools. The law was challenged by the nuns who operated Catholic schools in Oregon. The case ultimately made it to the Supreme Court. It declared the law unconstitutional. If nothing else, it guaranteed that at least Catholic schools were allowed to exist as it affirmed “the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.󈭱 In 1949, Father William McManus appeared before the House Committee on Education and argued that “every school to which parents may send their children in compliance with the compulsory education laws of the State is entitled to a fair share of the tax funds.” He stated that in accordance with the 1925 decision in Oregon, parental rights of choice in education had to be both respected and protected.30

After World War II Catholics had once again begun to seek public aid for schools while, concurrently, the public schools themselves began the movement from essentially Protestant entities to secular institutions. The secularization of public schools in the second half of the 20th century is not germane to this report except to note that this was not simply a result of mandates from the courts. For well over a century, courts had routinely ruled in favor of the generally Protestant nature of the free public school system and assumed that the meaning of “sectarian” referred specifically to Catholic schools. The secularization of public schools was far more a result of new educational theories and the judicial activism of later courts.

In the post-war years, the Supreme Court began to move aggressively to apply the Establishment Clause to issues of school funding and to base their findings on the “sectarian” nature of the entities involved. In Everson v. Board of Education in 1947, the Court upheld the constitutionality of a New Jersey law allowing free school bus transportation for parochial school students. Yet the Everson decision was critical. “For the first time, the Supreme Court read into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment the First Amendment’s non-establishment clause.” While the busing statute was upheld because the primary beneficiary was the children, opinions “in the case set the direction for the future.󈭳 In applying the Establishment Clause, the Court moved quickly to complete the secularization of public schools so enamored by the new class of professional educators. At the same time, the “sectarian” – or Catholic – nature of a private institution was the determining factor in rejecting any public aid, even when such aid was directed to the children or the parents.

Following the Everson precedent in 1971, the Supreme Court addressed the issue of aid to Catholic schools – or Catholic educators, parents and children – as a violation of the establishment clause. The Court used the notion of “sectarian” from legislation drafted in a period of virulent anti-Catholicism and applied it directly to the issue. In a series of rulings on the issue, the Supreme Court would go so far as to reference essentially nativist, anti-Catholic material in defining the pervasively sectarian nature of Catholic schools. In Lemon vs. Kurtzman , where the court struck down state legislation permitting supplementary salary payments to parochial school teachers, Justice William Douglas quoted Loraine Boettner’s Roman Catholicism, a virulently anti-Catholic book. (Among quotes in Boettner’s book: “The lesson of history is that Romanism means the loss of religious liberty and the arrest of national progress.”) Justice Douglas’ concurrence in Lemon vs. Kurtzman reads like a Know Nothing commentary: “In the parochial schools Roman Catholic indoctrination is included in every subject. History, literature, geography, civics and science are given a Roman Catholic slant. The whole education of the child is filled with propaganda. That, of course, is the very purpose of such schools…That purpose is not so much to educate, but to indoctrinate and train, not to teach Scripture truths (emphasis added) and Americanism, but to make loyal Roman Catholics.󈭳 Justice Douglas was essentially making the same arguments as the Public School Society of New York in the 19th century.32

Following these 1971 decisions, courts utilized the nearly farcical procedure of focusing questions of public aid through the prism of the visible sectarian nature of the Catholic institution in question. Crucifixes on walls, mission statements involving faith, even trophies from Catholic sports leagues publicly displayed became part of judicial evidence. In December, 1999, Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr. declared a four-year-old voucher test in Cleveland, Ohio unconstitutional. He called the program “government-supported religious indoctrination” because of the 56 schools involved in the program, many are Catholic. He cited in his ruling that a mission statement in one Catholic school involved the objective to “communicate the gospel message of Jesus.” Another school asked students to “contribute a nominal amount for membership in the Society for the Propagation of the faith.󈭵

As noted in the 1999 amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the “origins of the inquiry into a school’s ‘sectarian’ character are found not in the history of the establishment clause, but in a dark period in our history when bigotry against immigrants – particularly Catholic immigrants – was a powerful force in state legislatures. To policy-makers in the mid-19th century, ‘sectarian’ did not mean the same thing as ‘religious.’ It was instead an epithet applied to those who did not share the ‘common’ religion taught in the publicly funded common schools.” “Sectarian” meant Catholic and, as the amicus curiae brief concludes, “It is an unhelpful analytical category and an epithet with a reprehensible past.󈭶

  • The history of Catholic school funding questions is essentially rooted in America’s unhappy history of anti-Catholicism
  • Catholic schools began in the United States as a reaction against a growing publicly-funded school system that was essentially Protestant
  • The King James version of the Bible was viewed as a universal document that stood above doctrinal divisions within Protestantism and could not be considered “sectarian”
  • The term “sectarian” referred initially to sects within Protestantism
  • Sectarian would be narrowed to refer to Catholics
  • “Common schools,” the forerunner of the public schools, were meant to provide a “common” understanding shared by Protestant Christianity
  • A general Protestant understanding of Scripture and devotional life within the schools was central to the curriculum in the “common schools”
  • Anti-Catholic sentiments extended throughout the curriculum of the “common schools”
  • Catholic schools were refused funding because they were defined as “sectarian”
  • As Catholics had been forced to set up their own schools because of the overwhelmingly Protestant nature of the common school system, they requested a fair share of the public funding set aside for education
  • The public school system viewed itself as the only educational institution for the “common culture” which was defined as Protestant
  • Public funding of Catholic schools was attacked primarily through anti-Catholic rhetoric and by defining Catholic schools as “sectarian”
  • The Know Nothing Party enacted legislation that would guarantee the supremacy of Protestant values in the public schools and deny funding to Catholic schools in order to make them financially unfeasible
  • After the Civil War, anti-Catholic sentiment coalesced in the movement to legislate so-called Blaine amendments within the states. Within three decades, 34 states had passed Blaine amendments to their constitutions
  • Blaine amendments codified the nativist identification of “sectarian” with Catholic
  • Blaine amendments would not be applied to Protestant religious activities in public schools
  • Blaine amendments are clearly illegal under the Federal constitution as they were drafted on the basis of anti-Catholic prejudice and aimed at a specific class of citizens
  • Aid to sectarian schools primarily meant aid to Catholic schools as an enterprise to rival publicly-supported, essentially Protestant schools
  • Court decisions of the late 19th and early 20th century clearly demonstrate that Catholic schools were the target of Blaine amendments and public schools were expected to be part of the Protestant hegemony
  • When the Supreme Court began to apply the Establishment Clause to the issue of public aid to Catholic schools, it utilized the notion of sectarian derived from legislation drafted in a period of virulent anti-Catholicism
  • The origins of the inquiry into a school’s “sectarian” character are found not in the history of the Establishment Clause, but in a dark period in our history when bigotry against Catholic immigrants was a powerful force in state legislatures
  • “Sectarian” is an unhelpful analytical category and an epithet with a reprehensible past

1Ray Allen Billington, The Protestant Crusade 1800-1860, a study of the origins of American nativism (Quadrangle Books, 1964) p.143

2David O’Brien, Public Catholicism (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989). Cited on p. 44

3The most detailed discussion of the controversy over the New York City Common Schools is in Billington’s The Protestant Crusade . Direct quotes from primary sources in this discussion of the New York City controversy are from citations in The Protestant Crusade.

7 William H. Seward, Works . Cited in Billington.

8 Richard Shaw, John DuBois: Founding Father (U.S. Catholic Historical Society, 1983), pp. 165-173.

10 American Protestant Vindicator , November 11, 1840. Cited in Billington.

11 Ibid, August 5, 140. Cited in Billington.

12 The Journal Gazette , Fort Wayne, IN

14 Amicus Curiae brief in Guy Mitchell, et al v. Mary L. Helms in the Supreme Court of the United States (No. 98-1648). Brief of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty as amicus curiae in support of petitioners, p. 3. Citations following will be identified as Becket Fund.

15 Tyler Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery, The Northern Know Nothings & the Politics of the 1850s (Oxford University Press, 1992) pp. 246-278.

16 Cited in Becket Fund, p. 10

19 Thomas H. O’Connor, Boston Catholics, A History of a Church and Its People (Northeastern University Press, 1998) p. 96

24 Robert P. Lockwood (ed.) Anti-Catholicism in American Culture (Our Sunday Visitor, 2000) p. 35

25 Lupu, The Increasingly Anachronistic Case Against School Vouchers , 13 Notre Dame J. of Law, Ethics & Pub. Pol. 375, 386 (1999). Cited in Becket Fund.

29 See Documents of American Catholic History , John Tracy Ellis (Macmillan, 1956) pp. 635-638.

30James Hennesey, S.J., American Catholics, A History of the Roman Catholic Community in the United States (Oxford University Press, 1981) p. 297

31 Mark J. Hurley, The Unholy Ghost, Anti-Catholicism in the American Experience (Our Sunday Visitor, 1992) p 187.

32For an excellent analysis of the current state of school voucher and funding questions see Joseph P. Viteritti, Choosing Equality, School Choice, the Constitution and Civil Society (Brookings Institute Press, Washington D.C.)

33 Columbus Enquirer , “Vouchers unconstitutional, judge rules,” by Michael Hawthorne. December 21, 1999


Letter from Mary Fiala, Superintendent of Schools

Welcome to our Catholic Schools, a ministry of the Diocese of Youngstown in which we share in the evangelizing mission of the Church. We work to build the kingdom of God through nurturing faith, inspiring learning, fostering service, and forming leaders to serve the common good.

One of the ways in which our schools bring the church’s evangelizing mission to life is by integrating our faith within the education of the whole person. The success of Catholic schools in handing on the faith, generation after generation, is a bright light in the history of the Church in the United States. In our Catholic schools, a young person can foster a personal relationship with Jesus Christ on a daily basis. Our schools are unapologetically Catholic environments led by pastors, principals and teachers who bear witness to the Gospel every day. In our Catholic schools, we evangelize and we form disciples. Our schools have educated millions of young people through the years, partnering with families, whom the Church acknowledges are the primary educators of their children.

Our philosophy of care for the whole child nurtures and sustains the unique God-given gifts of every student to enable each one to pursue and strengthen the Kingdom of God. Our whole child approach integrates Catholic doctrine, prayer, sacraments, and moral decision-making with academic achievement and emotional and physical health. Catholic schools prepare students for success in further education, a productive career, community leadership, and eternal life with God.

I invite you to visit our schools and see the joyful communities of faith and learning for yourselves.

Office of Catholic School’s Mission Statement

As a mission of the Diocesan Church and the local parish communities, and in partnership with the family, Diocese of Youngstown Catholic Schools provide an education through which the rich tradition and truth of the Catholic Church are handed on, lived, and fostered. Children and young people are, in a unique way, prepared to participate in the life of the Church and society through a commitment to faith, self, lifelong learning, social justice, and service to the local and global church and community .

Vision of the Catholic Schools

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Youngstown are valued for their clear Catholic identity, academic excellence, safe environments, and ability to inspire passion for learning and service within every student. Our philosophy of care for the whole child (cura personalis) will nurture and sustain the unique God-given gifts of every student to enable each one to pursue and strengthen the Kingdom of God.

History of the Catholic Schools

The roots of Catholic School education in the Diocese of Youngstown can be traced back to the same location at which the First Sacred Liturgy was celebrated in 1812. The remote Community of St. Paul a mile or so from where the town of Dungannon developed was the site of Daniel McAllister’s cabin, the gathering place for the early Catholic immigrants to attend a mass offered by Father Edward Fenwick. Those same immigrants eventually constructed a small church on the site and named it for St. Paul. By the time Dungannon village had been plotted out and the cornerstone of St. Philip Neri had been laid (1846) the St. Paul congregation had already begun making bricks for the construction of a Catholic School. They were so committed to the idea of Catholic School Education that, as they ceased operation of the old St. Paul site and migrated up to Dungannon and St. Philip Neri, they hauled the bricks with them. Even though the bricks were deteriorated the hope of a Catholic School was not diminished.

As it happened, by persistence of the St. Paul/St. Philip Neri congregation, a Catholic School opened 1855. St. Philip Neri however is not listed as the first Catholic School in the Youngstown Diocese. That honor belongs to St. Joseph Randolph, established in 1832. St. John, Canton (1845) and St. Mary Massillon (1848) must also be recognized among the earliest of Diocesan Catholic Schools. This cluster of parish schools share a distinction of having been founded prior to the decrees of the 1852 Plenary Council at Baltimore. Flowing from Baltimore was the national wave of Catholic School establishments that came in conformity to the directions of Chapter 9 of those first decrees that declared that every parish should build a Catholic School.

The early parishes and pastoral leadership of the Diocese of Youngstown, especially the community in which the first liturgy was celebrated in that log cabin, deserve credit for their vision, diligence and dedication to the Idea of Catholic School Education. Nearly two centuries have passed since the Community of St. Paul started making bricks but their labor lives on in the children and families of the schools of the Diocese of Youngstown.

It is certain that Catholic School Education in the Youngstown Diocese will move into its third century keeping true to its theological, philosophical and professional foundations. Just as certain is that our Catholic Schools will embrace the challenges and opportunities of changing governance models, cooperative initiatives, technology and advancements in the art and science of instruction. The heritage, parental and pastoral of dedication, and perseverance in the name of Catholic School Education will continue to serve our Church in the Youngstown Diocese.


Parochial and Private Schools

Catholic Influx. In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the number of Catholics in the United States barely exceeded 100, 000, a negligible percentage of the total population. This changed with the mass immigration of Irish Catholics into the cities of the Northeast that began in the 1830s and accelerated greatly after 1845. By 1850 the estimated American Catholic population was 1, 606, 000. In New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, Irish immigrants formed distinct communities within the larger population, complete with their own taverns, clubs, newspapers, and churches. Many nativeborn Protestants saw in the growing numbers of Catholics an economic threat and a cultural danger and looked with deep suspicion on the Pope and his followers. Such fears led to nativist and anti-Catholic sentiment that manifested itself in the burning of Catholic churches, the formation of an anti-Catholic political party (the Native American Party, or Know-Nothing Party), and hostile literature. One of the most dramatic points of confrontation, not surprisingly, involved schooling.

Catholic Protest. Most Americans regarded public schools as the main conduit for the transmission of the national ethos. They counted on the public school to develop a unified national character as well as to inculcate a single set of moral and spiritual values among all the nation ’ s children. But within a universal public school system open to all children, not all subscribed to the Protestant values that characterized common schools of the period. As immigration swelled the ranks of American Catholics, an increasing number of them objected to the Protestant teachings and derogatory references to things Catholic that dripped from the pages of textbooks in the publicly funded school systems. Such anti-Catholicism led individuals such as Bishop John Hughes of New York to seek state funds for separate Catholic schools. He argued that Catholics could not in good conscience attend the public schools, but the state denied Hughes any funding. Out of frustration Catholics felt compelled to organize their own separate (parochial) school systems.

Parochial Schools. Catholics felt it necessary to establish separate schools to preserve the faith of their children, even at the cost of asking Catholic parents to pay twice, once to support the public schools and once to support the private schools they had created. Nor were Catholics alone in their determination to develop alternative systems of schools. The Presbyterian Church, for example, expressing concern over the general secularization of the public schools and the aggressive determination of the Roman Catholics to build up their own parochial school system, also established a substantial system of parochial schooling during the 1840s. The place of religion in public schools remained a controversial issue through the first half of the nineteenth century in 1842 a heated debate over Bible reading and religious exercises in the public schools of Philadelphia captured headlines. Such controversies and their legacies, both in terms of the secularization of public schools and the funding of private institutions, continued long into the next century. The experience of Catholics, Presbyterians, and other religious groups led to sharper distinctions between public and private education and pointed to the many problems of creating a school system common to all children in a country becoming increasingly more diverse by the decade.


History of Cawthorne/The Parochial School

The Schools of the Parish are at present a Boys', a Girls', and an Infants' School, in three Departments, and separated from each other by a considerable distance. The history of the original Endowed School may best be given by a Decree of the Court of the Duchy of Lancaster, dated June 25th, 1639. The case is given as between "Robert Smith and John Shirt, plaintiffs, and Arthur Bromley, "defendant," the latter being the master at that time of the Free Grammar School at Pontefract, and receiving the emoluments originally intended for the Master of the Endowed School at Cawthorne.

The Decree is as follows: "Whereas the said Robert Smith and "John Shirt for themselves and the rest of the Inhabitants of the "Parish of Cawthorne have exhibited their Bill in this Court thereby "setting forth, that, by the bounty of King Edward the sixth or some "other predecessor of His now Majesty, and upon a Commission for "that purpose directed to Sir Walter Mildmay and Robert Keldway, "Esq., secundo Edward sext., divers ftee schools were appointed in "sundry places in England, and sundry stipends were allotted to be "paid by His Majesty and his successors for the schoolmaster of the "said Schools and that among these his said Majesty appointed a "Free Grammer Schoole should be maintained at Cawthorne afore "said within the Honor of Pontefract and that one Richard Wigfall "should be first schoolmaster, and that he and his successors should "have the yearly stipend of one hundred and four shillings paid by the Auditor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as by a Declaration of the "said Commissioners shewing what schools were assigned within that "Honor, on return of the said Commission, and remaining on record "in this Court, may more fully appear and that accordingly the "said Richard Wigfall was schoolmaster there, and received the said "Stipend from the said Auditor divers years, and died, and after him page 149 "divers other Schoolmasters there received the said Stipend, until the "20th year of Queen Elizabeth, that, the said school being vacant by "the death of the last Master, an order was made in this Court "reciting the said declaration concerning the erection among others "of the said School at Cawthorne, and that amongst the rest the "schoolmaster at Cawthorne had received the Stipend of five pounds "four shillings out of the Duchy revenues, and that the schoolmaster "at Pontefract, being one of the said schools so erected, had only "fifty nine shillings and twopence, which was not sufficient for an "able schoolmaster: and for that some other towns, particularly Cawthorne, had neglected to have a schoolmaster, it pleased the "Court to direct that the Stipend should be paid to the schoolmaster "at Pontefract, yet not with intention to deprive the other towns of "Schoolmasters and Stipends, but, when a convenient schoolhouse "and able schoolmaster should be provided, then the stipend to be "continued and further setting forth, that of late the Inhabitants of "Cawthorne aforesaid have at their great charge builded and decently "furnished a spacious schoolhouse with other necessary rooms for a "schoolmaster, and are willing, so the King's stipend be continued, "to make up at their own charge a convenient stipend for a school-"master to instruct their youth there, the rather for that Cawthorne "is twenty miles from Pontefract, and not within eight miles, as the "order suggests and for that, since the said order, they have not "had any benefit by the school at Pontefract, nor hath any care been "had by the Master and his Brethren at Pontefract for providing able "and fit schoolmasters, nor was the then schoolmaster so careful as "he ought to be, nor have the Master and Brethren appointed an "usher as they ought to have done by the said order and for that Cawthorne is so,populous as Pontefract, and therefore bath as much "need of a School: and for that this Court bath since the said order, "upon the like reasons, restored the pension formerly allotted to "Rowston school, and by the said order transferred to Pontefract "for the restoring of which pension of five pounds four shillings to "the Schoolmaster of Cawthorne aforesaid the Bill was exhibited, to which Bill the defendant, being served with processes of this "Court, appeared and answered and in his answer set forth that he "hath heard of the Commission mentioned in the said Bill for setting page 150 "out of Schools, and allotting stipends, but knew not how many or "what Schools or stipends were set out, other than the free Grammar "School at Pontefract of which the defendant is schoolmaster and "for that he answered, that he was heretofore Chaplain in Ordinary "to Sir Humphrey May, late Chancellor of this Court, to whom, as "to every Chancellor for the time being, it belonged in the vacancy of the said school to nominate a Schoolmaster there, and he, "knowing the defendant to be a scholar bred for divers years at "Cambridge, and able both for learning and good deportment to "undergo the charge, did put in the defendant to be the schoolmaster "there, which place he hath hitherto duly executed without scandal "of life or defect of learning, and hath received a stipend of twenty "pounds due to the said schoolmaster, And traverseth the rest of the "Bill: to which Answer the plaintiffs replied and, thereupon issue "being joined, a Commission was awarded for the examination of "witnesses in the Cause, which being executed, and returned into "this Court, and of the depositions thereby taken publication being "duly granted, the said Cause was by an order of the xxvii th day "of May last past set down to be heard this day now the Cause did "accordingly come this day to hearing, and upon full debating there-"of by Counsels learned on both side before the Right Hon ourable "the Chancellor and Counsell of this Court, being assisted with "Mr. Baron Henden, one of the Judges Assistant of this Court, and "upon Consideration had of the said decree of this Court, whereby "it appeared that the distance of the said Town of Cawthorne from "the Town of Pontefract was then informed to be but eight miles, "and that the principal cabse of translating the said stipend was the "want of a Schoolhouse at Cawthorne aforesaid, and also that the "Court nevertheless reserved power to sever the said stipend so "united to Pontefract, if there should be Cause as by a proviso "contained in the said decree doth fully appear And for that it doth "not appear that the inhabitants of Cawthorne aforesaid were parties "to any suit depending in this Court at the time of making the said "decree, or that they had any notice thereof, and upon consideration "of the depositions of several witnesses in this cause now read, "whereby it appeareth that the Inhabitants of Cawthorne aforesaid "have at their own charge now built a commodious schoolhouse and page 151 "a room for a schoolmaster of stone, within the said Town, and that "the said Town of Cawthorne is populous and consisteth of many "poor families who have many children teachable and fit to learn, and "are not able to set them elsewhere to school and that the said "towne of Cawthorne is distant from Pontefract aforesaid fourteen miles, and upon reading of an order of the Court made in the six and twentieth year of Queen Elizabeth of famous memory, whereby the said decree was then dispensed withal by returning to the Town of Rawston the stipend assigned by the said Commissioners for the School at Rawston aforesaid (being by the said decree transferred to Pontefract aforesaid), the said decree notwithstanding and for "that the Court considered it fit, that, as the stipend of five pounds "four shillings was at first by command from the late King Edward "the sixth assigned to be employed for a charitable use in the "education of youth and maintaining a school at Cawthorne afore said, so the intention of the first donor ought to be in substance "continued and maintained, according to the several statutes in that "behalf made, as well concerning the dissolution of Chantries, as "concerning such charitable guts and uses: And for that it is now "offered in Court by the Plaintiffs for themselves and the rest of the "Inhabitants of Cawthorne aforesaid, that they will add to the said stipend of five pounds four shillings the sum of eight pounds two shillings and eight pence per annum, for the better maintenance of the schoolmaster there for the time being, whose willingness and offer in that behalf did farther appear unto the Court by the depositions no'v read, with this condition only, that the said Inhabitants might be at liberty from time to time to elect such schoolmaster by the approbation of the right honourable the Chancellor of the Court for the time being It is therefore finally ordered, adjudged, and decreed by the said Right Hon. the Chancellor and Counsell of this Court and the advice of Mr. Baron Henden aforesaid, that a free Grammar School be settled and from time to time continued within the said Town of Cawthorne, and that the said stipend of five pounds four shillings assigned by the said Commissioners to the said school and schoolmaster of the "Town of Cawthorne aforesaid be yearly translated and severed "from the said School and Schoolmaster of the said Town of page 152 Pontefract, and that the same be settled and established with the "School and schoolmaster of the Town of Cawthorne aforesaid for "the time being, and to be from time to time yearly and every year "paid by the particular Receiver of the House of Pontefract for the "time being at two usual terms in the year, that is to say, at the "Feasts of St. Michael the Archangel and the Annunciation of the "Blessed Virgin Mary, by even and equal portions * * * and the "said schoolmaster shall be from time to time nominated, elected, "and chosen by the Kight Hon the Chancellor of this Court and "that, according to the consent declared as aforesaid, the Inhabitants "of the Town of Cawthorne shall from time to time well and truly satisfy and pay to the schoolmaster the sum of eight pounds two "shillings eight pence per annum, for the better maintenance and "encouragement of the said schoolmaster, the same to be paid "quarterly, viz., at the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the "Nativity of Christ, the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "and the Feast of St. John the Baptist and that the said Inhabitants "shall from time to time at their own cost and charges keep and "maintain a commodious schoolhouse within the said Town, with all needful and convenient reparation And it is further decreed, "that, forasmuch as there appeareth proved by the depositions now "read the learning, honesty, and ability of Peter Deane, the present "schoolmaster at Cawthorne, the said Mr. Deane shall continue "schoolmaster of the said School, and shall receive the several stipends "so long as the said Mr. Deane shall demean himself well in the "execution of the said place. (signed) Thomas Bedingfield."

It has been already noticed in speaking of the Endowments, that this sum of £5 4s. is exactly the amount at which the Bosvile Chantry was valued at its suppression, being a yearly stipend of one hundred shillings and the Chantry priest's residence, valued at other four shillings. The Richard Wigfall who is here mentioned as the first schoolmaster is given in the King's Book-Henry VIII.'s "Valor Ecclesiasticus "-as the Incumbent of the Chantry, whose income and residence would therefore be continued to him in his different capacity after the Chantry was suppressed. The Parish- page 153 ioners, it will be seen, oblige themselves to add £8-2-8 to this £5-4s, and "to keep and maintain a commodious Schoolhouse," having already "of late at their great charge built and decently "furnished a spacious schoolhouse, with other necessary rooms for a "Schoolmaster." The endowment is still paid by the Duchy of Lancaster "at the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel," the Master until within the last four or five years having a yearly notice to attend personally at Pontefract to receive it. The Chancellor of the Duchy -still excercises his right of appointing the Master, or, practically has confirmed the nomination sent to him from the Parish, with a request that he "will be pleased to appoint the master so nominated."

The amount by which the Parishioners here promised to increase the stipend must he regarded as part of its endowment, making the total income from that source £13 6s. 8d. As in the case of the sums mentioned in the Endowments of the Benefice, this sum would represent a very much larger money value when it was given than it does at the present time.

Within the present century, John Lisles, when master, is remembered to have lived in the "loft" over the school, which has since been removed. Other masters since his day to the present have been Mr. John Hayton, Mr. Backhouse, Mr. Hoyle, Mr. Steane, Mr. William Moxon, Mr. Joshua Barraclough, Mr. Butterworth, and the present master, Mr. George McWhan, appointed in 1872. There is a memorandum now before me stating that "it was resolved at a "town's meeting, that, Mr. John Hayton having given notice of his "intention to resign, Mr. George Backhouse of Thurgoland be "appointed, and the Parish agree to make up the stipend due from "the Duchy of Lancaster to £10 per annum, and allow him to live "rent-free in the Town's house now inhabited by the Rev. John "Goodair, so long as he shall continue his office, and no longer. "(Signed) W Spencer Stanhope James Wigglesworth."

The School was united to the National Society Jan.30, 1862.

The old Endowed School has, since 1872, been used, under the care of Miss Ashton, as an Infants' School, a convenient playground having been added to it.

The Education Act of 1870 required the Township to firt

r enlarge its school accommodation, the "sufficient amount of accom"modation in public elementary schools available for all the children" being interpreted by the Department to mean "room for one-sixth of "the whole population, with 80 cubic feet for each child, and 8 square "feet in the main room and class-rooms."

A public meeting was accordingly called for Oct. 25th, 1870, to consider what arrangements will be required for the Parish under "the new Education Act, in order to supply sufficient school accommodation, and to prevent the expenses of the Schools being added "to the Rates." The meeting was very largely attended, and all the principal ratepayers were present. Mr. Walker, of Kexborough, proposed and Mr. Henry Child, of Holling Royd, seconded a resolution, which was carried unanimously, "That a new Elementary Boys' "School for one hundred and forty boys be built in Cawthorne, and "that application be at once made to the Education Department for "a grant in aid of the building." Mr. Terry, of Norcroft, proposed and Mr. Thomas Armitage, of Deakin Brook, seconded a further resolution, which was also carried unanimously, "That a rate of five-"pence in the pound be made towards the cost of the building, to "be collected along with the next Poor Rate, and that this meeting "pledge themselves to pay this rate when levied." On the motion of Mr. Sidney Silverwood, of Raw Royd, seconded by Mr. John Stones, of Barnby Hall, Mr. W. S. Stanhope and Mr. Benjamin Swift were entrusted with the building of the said School. A large number of ratepayers offered so many days' carting of materials. The site, containing 1860 square yards, was given by Mr. John Spencer Stanhope, and was conveyed "unto the Minister and "Churchwardens of the Parish, to hold the same upon Trust for a "School for the education of children and adults, or children only, "of the labouring, manufacturing, and other classes in the Parish of "Cawthorne, and for no other purpose, such School always to be in union with and conducted according to the principles of the "'National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the "'Principles of the Established Church,' the principal officiating "Minister for the time being having the superintendence of the page 155 "moral and religious instruction of the scholars, with power to use "the schod for a Sunday School under his exclusive control and "management."

The first committee of management was to consist of "the principal officiating Minister and his curate, if he appointed him," the two churchwardens, being communicants of the said Church, "and six "other persons, of whom the following shall be the first appointed the said John Spencer Stanhope, Walter T. W. S. Stanhope, John Roddam Stanhope of Hill-House. the Rev. Charles Hudson of Trowell Rectory in the County of Nottingham, Clerk, [Trustee of the Bosvile estate] Joshua Kaye of Dean Hill in Cawthorne, farmer, and Thomas William Stones of Barnby Green, such other persons continuing to be contributors in every year to the amount of twenty "shillings each at the least to the Funds of the said School and to "be communicants of the Church of England, and either to have a "beneficial interest to the extent of a life estate at the least in real "property situated in the Parish or to be resident therein."

The Deed of Conveyance is dated June 1st, 1872, and is signed by John Spencer Stanhope, Charles Spencer Stanhope, Incumbent of Cawthorne, Walter T. W. Spencer Stanhope, Churchwarden, George Swift, Churchwarden. It was enrolled in H. M. High Court of Chancery July 19th, 1872.

The Grant of £187 17s. 9d., received from the Education Department, was with the reserved power of at any time returning the Grant so given, and making the School and school premises entirely independent of any Government interference or right of control of any kind whatever, if legislation or any other cause seemed to the Trustees to make such a course desirable.

The School was first used on Feb.12, 1872, being opened with a short Service of Prayers and Hymns.

The Girls' School is the private property of Mr. Stanhope, having been built by Mr. and Lady Elizabeth Stanhope, and entirely supported by members of that family, until it was put under Government Inspection, and in union with the National Society, after the Education Act of 1870. It took the place of a former school of which page 156 many of the older inhabitants still have a very kindly remembrance, both in connection with the "Charity" of the Mrs. Stanhope of those days and with its mistress, Mrs. Long.

The present Girls' School was opened on Tuesday, Oct.19, 1858. The following is a copy of the public notice given: "Harvest Thanks-giving and Opening of New School-Room, Cawthorne. The "Parishioners of Cawthorne are invited to set apart the afternoon "of Tuesday, October 19th, 1858, to the above-named purposes. "Thanksgiving Service and Sermon in the Parish Church at 3 p.m. "Tea in the New School-Room at 5 p.m. After Tea, Addresses will "be delivered. The Church Choir and other musical friends will "attend. Tickets for the Tea, at 6d. each, may be had until Oct.14th from the Churchwardens, Mr. Charles Turner (Cawthorne), Mr. Midgley (Jowit House), and Mr. Longthorne, Basin."

This notice shows that our first annual Harvest Thanksgiving Day, which has ever since been such an interesting and happy parochial institution, dates back to the year 1858, when a week-day Thanksgiving Service was first held, on the suggestion of Miss Frances Stanhope to the present Archdeacon Badnall, who was then Curate of the Parish. The first mistress of the Girls' School after it was placed under Government Inspection was Miss A. E. Steele, the former mistress, Miss Mary Ashton, who had been there since 1856, then taking charge of the Infants' department removed from the Tivydale to the old Boys' School near the Church.

At the end of the last century, a Sunday School was built by subscription in the South Lanes, and seems from the accounts to have at least been rich in teachers and generously supported as giving secular as well as religious instruction. The half-yearly receipts signed by William Gill, B. Hinchliffe, or B. Armitage, show the number of teachers to have been eight or nine "at 8s. per year." In the "Cawthorne Sunday School Accounts," the "upper school," as the above is called, is united with the one in the village, the subscriptions in 1800 amounting to nearly £24. Books, "sets of copies," pen-knives, quills, paper, are items which occur along with "Liquor, page 157 eating, &c., for the Sunday School Feast, £13 3s. 4d. Cheese "£2 0s. 0 1/2d. ale £2 12s. 11d. and cheese (again) £1 1s. Joseph Shaw's bill for 240 lbs. of mutton in the next year's accounts is £8 while in 1802 T. Shirt's bill for five bushels of malt is £2 5s. Dame Moxon, for ale, &c, 13s. 11d. Judah Hinchliffe, for 44 lbs. of lamb, £1 9s. 4d. J. Shaw, 47 lbs. of beef £1 11s. 4d. Judah Hinchhffe, 240 lbs. of mutton at 8d., £8. The meat "for Sunday "Schoolmasters" in 1803 comes to £14 5s. 4d. Judah Hinchliffe for meat, Mr. West, or some one else, for malt, are yearly items for a long period. These matters have only any interest at the present time as showing what the system of the Cawthorne Sunday School was eighty years ago, and as also showing that the price of beef mutton, and lamb at Cawthorne in 1801-2 was no less than 8d. a lb., at a time of great national distress, when the Report of a Parliamentary Committee on the price of provisions "strongly recommended all "individuals to use every means in their po'ver to reduce the consumption of wheaten flour in their families, and to encourage by "their example and influence every possible economy in this article, "advising that charitable relief should be given in anything else "rather than bread and flour," and when a law was actually passed, prohibiting bakers from exposing any bread for sale which had not been baked twenty-four hours, "as it appeared that the consumption of bread baked for some hours was much less considerable than if "eaten new."


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