Catholic Schools Resist Public School Interference

Tags: Currents, Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Catholic schools are widely recognized as the best in New York City. Now, bureaucrats in Albany want to put them under the thumb of public-school authorities – and that would make a big difference for students at Xavier High School.

Student William Shelton said “Xavier has individuals in positions of authority that care that they want you to grow.”

“The religion aspect for me is usually the best part,” said Patrick Scariano, another student at the school.

Arthur Gange added “It’s always been my favorite subject but Xavier has done more than enough to make me love the subject even more.”

The New York State Education Department issued a new set of rules that would subject all nonpublic schools – including Catholic institutions – to so-called evaluation by public school officials.

Michael Livigni is Xavier’s Headmaster and he added, “Our schools are not the problem so I think instead of taking on the schools that are a problem, the education department is creating a blanket rule that doesn’t make much sense.”

The State is justifying public overseers in Catholic schools by saying the outsiders would be able to intervene if a complaint is made about a nonpublic school.

Xavier’s President Jack Raslowsky says that move is unwarranted, adding “There’s rules and regulations and law now to allow them to respond adequately to complaints. And this extra layer of call it what you will, interference, oversight, is just unnecessary.”

And at the same time, the city’s public school system is facing its own challenges.

A week ago, state Senators warned Mayor Bill De Blasio to get better control of discipline in the classroom if he wanted to retain his control of the city’s public schools.

Xavier is well-known for its academic excellence.

Last year, 99 percent of graduating students went on to 4-year colleges.

Right now, New York’s Catholic Conference of schools is supporting a court action to block the Education Department’s implementation of the new rules.

The regulations could impact 192 religious and private institutions statewide if put in place.

“The independence and the roots of our faith, have strengthened us and allowed us to do great work,” said Raslowsky.

Livigni adding, “We cover whatever New York State says and suggests we should, we just do it in a way that’s tried and true for almost 500 years.”

The next step in the court case will come at a hearing on March 29th.

For more about the Catholic Academies, parish schools and high schools in the Brooklyn Diocese visit catholicschoolbq.org. The website has information about admissions, financial aid, and a lot more.

We did reach out to the New York State Education Department for comment on this story, but, so far, they haven’t responded.