Monday, August 14, 2017

Why Is There No Free Online Catholic Education? - by Gary North

I created the Ron Paul Curriculum. It is up and running, K-12. It has enrolled a lot of families. What I am saying is not hypothetical.

Somewhere in the United States, there is a Roman Catholic bishop who is a conservative. He probably doesn't say it publicly, but he would prefer that the Latin mass were still in use. That world is gone.
He sees around him parishioners who share his beliefs. There may not be a lot of them, but in a church with 77 million members in the United States, there are several million of them.
The fact of the matter is this: there are a lot more than one bishop in the United States who match this description.

He knows that there are nuns available for service who are about to die. The average age of American nuns is at least 75 years old. These women are representatives of the older church. They taught school for years. They are still mentally alert, and they would like to provide something of value that will outlast them. They don't have much time, but they are ready to work. They would work for free.
An entire curriculum, K-12, could be produced in 24 months by 24 volunteers. It could be produced in a year by about 50 volunteers.

In a church with 77 million members in the United States, plus countless millions more in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, there is a market for a Catholic curriculum in English. It doesn't take a marketing genius to figure this out.
A single bishop who wanted to create a comprehensive curriculum like this could do it with resources within his own diocese. But if he went public with the proposal for such a plan, and he called for volunteers from anywhere in the English-speaking world, he would have 1,000 volunteers so fast he would have to hire someone to answer the emails. I am convinced of this. But even on the assumption that I am wildly exaggerating, he could easily have 50 people.

The video-based curriculum could be placed on YouTube free of charge, just as the Khan Academy is.
The curriculum could easily be produced by teachers with the following tools: (1) a $300 piece of software, Camtasia Studio, (2) a $30 lapel microphone, the Movo M1, (3) a copy of PowerPoint or the equivalent in the free software, Libre Office. I am confident that there would be donors within the diocese who would put up the money to supply the nuns with this equipment.

This does not count the college professors or full-time teachers in Catholic schools or even public schools who could do this over a summer vacation. They would do it for free.
This project is so obvious that it is inconceivable to me that some bishop has not figured it out. If a bishop has not figured it out, then some mother superior should have figured it out.

There are millions of immigrants from Latin America in the United States who have put their children into the American public school system. They would like to have a Catholic education for their children. They would like to keep their children at home because it is not safe in the inner city public schools. They know the public school programs are third rate and are steadily becoming fourth rate. They would like an alternative. The alternative could be online for free within 24 months.
Why is it that there is not a single bishop anywhere in the English-speaking world who does not understand this? How is it that there is not a single mother superior somewhere in the English-speaking world who has not figured this out?

Even without a mother superior or a bishop who has some vision of the potential here, there are Catholic layman teachers who are conservatives who would like to supply a comprehensive education tied to the classical Catholic educational tradition. Yet nobody steps forth and volunteers to do it.
What about the Southern Baptists? If they thought the Catholics were going to do this, there would be a bunch of Southern Baptists who would give it a shot. It would appall them that the Catholics would do it without a challenge from Southern Baptists.

October 31 is the 500th anniversary of Luther's nailing of the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church. If Missouri Synod Lutherans thought the Catholics were about to offer a free online K-12 curriculum, they would organize to match them, course for course.

Presbyterians are the scholars of the Protestant world. If conservative Presbyterians thought that the Catholics were going to do this, they would form a study committee in each Presbyterian splinter denomination. Within five years, there would be a decision to start a curriculum by reach group. Within less than a decade from this decision -- though not much less -- there would be at least five Presbyterian curriculums online.
Then the Dutch would match them. The Dutch would not tolerate American Presbyterians horning in on 

Calvinist private schools run by school boards dominated by parents.

Then "word of faith" cable-TV Pentecostal pastors would see a profit opportunity: Holy Ghost-directed education. They would organize online programs. Their ministries would own the programs.
What we need is interdenominational competition. We need denominationally committed Christians who will not tolerate any of those other denominations getting away with this. Obviously, they're not willing to fight the public schools. They are all perfectly willing to let the public schools steal their kids' minds. This has been true in the United States ever since the 1840's. But the thought that the Roman Catholics were going to do this would outrage Protestants.

Therefore, I call on some mother superior to leave a legacy behind. I call on some Catholic bishop to get his act together, educationally speaking. Get that free online curriculum up and running! Show those Protestants a thing or two!

If 20 million families then pulled their kids out of tax-funded schools, maybe a majority of voters would start voting "no" on school bond ballot propositions. Would that be so bad?