Learning to Be Poor

I was shocked yesterday to read that students from my alma mater, St. Agnes, were going to New York this summer “to serve the city’s poor.” That might seem like the right thing to do at a Catholic school, but it shows the amount of social justice the Church has let in and let take over.

The students had participated in a “Holocaust and Human Behavior class,” something half the students end up taking. It has propelled three of them to participate in this event in which they will meet people who live in Spanish Harlem, the Lower East Side and Hell’s Kitchen. The CA says, “the students also will experience a simple life themselves – sleeping in sleeping bags, eating simple food, getting away from technology for the most part but producing a documentary video that will be shown to student leaders in the Facing History and Ourselves program and teachers undergoing training for it during the summer months.”

It gets better. Or worse. “They will be building relationships with each other, studying injustices that exist in New York, going to the Tenement Museum to learn what it was like for immigrants and engaging in service opportunities,” says their leader.

“The trip dovetails with the Facing History and Ourselves course at St. Agnes, which guides students through deep discussions about historical events in which nations mistreat their own citizens and others, the individual’s role in society, critical thinking and ethical decisions.”

That’s what the subject of history has now become in our schools. It’s not about great achievements by Americans. It’s not about liberating people in World War II, defending our freedoms, the Constitution or the presidents. It’s about America bashing. It’s about steering their beliefs in a way that makes them deride what we are and shape their decisions about who we will be as a country.

From what curricula I see in schools, literature is not about great ideas any more, but about reading environmental documents and government propaganda. Math is not about algebra and geometry; they want to push those out. Science is more about sustainability rather than improving our society through knowledge. No wonder we’re not producing anything great anymore.

What about the safety of these teenagers in questionable areas of New York? Don’t their parents have concerns about their welfare? Is it really necessary to show young girls the seamy side of life? And what about charity beginning at home? We have plenty of opportunities in Memphis to serve the poor and the immigrant.

The whole affair reeks of a school trying to get a thumbs up from liberal academia. Also, for the students to get a boost when they apply to these liberal institutions. Looks good on a resume. They don’t know much about current events or historical ones, but they know how it feels to live in a slum.

How is that going to help anyone get out of one? It doesn’t lift people up through opportunity. It does what the Democrats always do: makes themselves feel good.

I can’t imagine the St. Agnes of my day, run by the Dominican sisters, indulging in this fakery. School used to be about learning the basics so you could take them on in life and improve yourself. That’s not happening anymore.

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