In “Public vs. Faith-Based Schools,” we looked at the differences between the two at the school level. Now, let’s take a bigger-picture look at their distinctive organizational structures.
Public schools are federal institutions with a standard hierarchy. Individual school principals report to the superintendent and the district office. On the next rungs of the ladder are the state Board of Education and then the United States Department of Education. Unfortunately, there is often disconnect between the various schools within the state, and even between the schools in the same district.
Similarly, Catholic schools have their own structure, with local schools reporting to the pastor, to the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, and/or to a School Board. On the other hand, Catholic schools are the largest non-governmental academic institution. They are not regulated by federal laws, but instead receive guidance from the Archdiocesan School Board, Archbishop, and ultimately the Church. Because of this direct line of authority, Catholic schools don’t run into the political red tape most academic institutions deal with. Instead, the organization runs with a cohesion that creates a high quality system for staff and students. After all, according to the Vatican, the school is at the heart of the Church.
In the public school system, the crucial decisions about curriculum are made at the state and federal level and handed down as directives to the public schools’ superintendent, principals, and staff. This means that the choices are being made by people who don’t actually work in the school and see students’ needs first-hand. Although the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford follow curriculum standards established at the Archdiocesan level, they, by contrast, are given more independence at the school level to develop programs that meet the needs of their specific students. In other words, the actual school staff has a say in what happens in the classroom and curriculum decisions are based on Archdiocesan student data and not on political agendas. This hands-on authority combined with teachings in the Catholic tradition not only create consistent academic excellence, but also well-rounded adults with a moral compass.
The schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford are committed to virtue and excellence throughout every part of our framework. Our freedom from governmental policy allows us to deliver a curriculum that truly meets the academic and spiritual needs of today’s young learners.
For more information on our policies and procedures, check out our handbook. From Archbishop Leonard P. Blair to Superintendent Dale R. Hoyt, Ed. D. to each and every member of our staff, we encourage our students to Believe, Learn, and Excel!