The Corner

Notre Dame’s ACE & Today’s Inner-City Civil-Rights Movement

Since I gave Notre Dame some grief recently, here are a few words of praise for the part they’re playing in saving Catholic schools and inner-city children of all faiths. Here’s President Bush as a White House summit on inner-city schools last week:

Faith-based schools can continue to serve inner-city children and sometimes they can get a good boost from higher education. It seems like to me it’s — when I was governor of Texas I tried to get our higher education institutions to understand that rather than becoming a source of remediation, they ought to be a source of added value. And one way to do so is to help these schools early on, to make sure that children don’t slip behind in the basics.

I was impressed by Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, known as ACE, which prepares college graduates to work as teachers in under-served Catholic schools. It’s an interesting way to participate in making sure the Catholic schools and the faith-based schools stay strong, and that is to educate teachers — actually go in the classrooms to make sure that there’s adequate instruction available. The people at Notre Dame commit to teach for two years as they earn their master’s degree in education. And it turns out that when you get a taste for being a teacher, that you tend to stay. And so today there are about 650 ACE teachers and graduates who work at Catholic schools across the country.

And there’s a — I like the idea of these higher education institutions saying, okay, here’s what I can contribute to making sure that elementary school and junior high school and high school education has high standards and excellence. And one way to do it is to support our faith-based schools all across the country.

It’s a dire situation for a lot of schools out there, but “the Holy Spirit will not be thwarted” ACE’s Fr. Scully confidently asserted (with apologies to the White House for any wall-of-separation grief they might get as a result of impromptu Q&A comment).

More on the summit and advice for John McCain on how he can beat Obama here.

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