A RESPONSE FROM A DISGRUNTLED READER
We have received a response to our April 26, 2006, article on “Carondelet Students Tackle Consumerism.” Our correspondent, Maureen O’Leary Wanket, was mentioned in that article as having been prominent in establishing a series of seminars on campus entitled the Fontbonne Forum.
It appears that she believes our article has done her an injustice. However, through her position as a “devout Catholic and educator” she appears willing to forgive us our trespasses while praying for our enlightenment. (See her letter at the end of this response).
Ms Wanket states that while she had nothing to do with the particular Fontbonne Forum topic on Consumerism, she was one of the founders of the Forum and is still in touch with those currently directing the Forum. So, one might say that she still has some influence and input into the ongoing agenda.
I might suggest that before reading any further one might want to go back and read the latest posted article on this web site about the secular as versus the Catholic media. I do believe much of what Archbishop Amato states in regard to the duties of the Catholic media also apply to the teaching profession within the contest of Catholic education.
If I may be permitted to very briefly generalize subject: he chided the Catholic media for, often times, providing open ended reports, rather than instructing in the Catholic faith, which could lead one to believe that they could accept whatever conclusion they wanted. He spoke, further, about the impropriety of providing pro and con debates on some very basic subjects as though everything was merely a difference of opinion and that every opinion was a “good” as long as one acted on the information.
That is what I see as so pernicious to Catholic education in general these days and to the Fontbonne Forum type of “whole child” development . Ms Wanket and by extension, Carondelet, apparently believes as do the public school educators, that it is the responsibility of the school to address and improve the physical, mental and social development of the child. Wonder where the parents and the church come in?
Ms Wanket says that she gave a talk about the importance of avoiding war in 2003, but was this just her own political special interests? Was this talk of hers based on the Catholic teaching of the “Just War” Theory? Was there anyone at the school, her department head, the Principal, someone, who could preview what she said to insure that it reflected Catholic teaching?
Was there anyone at that 2003 forum who could speak to the Just War Theory? Is Ms Wanket not only a superbly educated teacher, but a scholarly student of war as well? What were her credentials to address young, impressionable students with a one sided presentation on war? Was she given special insight into the ramifications of war by the President, the Speaker of the House, the head of the War Department?
I wanted to learn a little more about Ms Wanket and what her philosophy of teaching might be. I googled her name and found it associated with an education organization entitled Association for the Supervision of Curriculum and Development - ASCD. . I recommend doing an in-depth reading of this site to better understand what influences are affecting educational instruction these days.
For someone who sees herself as an “educated and observant Catholic” she appears to be more persuaded by the secular fads in education rather than the wisdom of the Bible and the encyclicals on social issues.
Ms Wanket may well have adopted as her own, the Mission Statement of this ASCD organization which is:
“Schools can not achieve their primary mission of education if students and staff are not healthy and fit physically, mentally and socially.”
The ASCD is funded, at least in part, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, so prominent in using the schools to develop health clinics and global and international models of education to create the internationally aware student trained to accept his/her place in the global world of the future.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation promotes a project entitled First Amendment Schools Project. It states that “The purpose of education is that the students become productive and valuable citizens of a democratic society." Sorry, Ms Wanket, but those are usually the code words for socialism. Pure democracy leads to socialism.
Projects like the Fontbonne Forum give youth the belief that they are as proficient in and capable of addressing the world’s economic and social agendas as those who are elected to office, In some cases perhaps they see themselves as more capable because they have been trained to be more compassionate than others.
Wanket and others like the current director of the Fontbonne Forum seem to delight in ripping away the veil of innocence protecting our youth before they have had a thorough grounding in adult understanding and training in moral values and basic human principles.
The object is to make the student dissatisfied with life in America under a Democracy within a Republic by taking them out of their familiar surroundings, filling their heads with mindless drivel about the unfortunate and immoral way in which capitalism and those who head up the political and business communities mistreat and prey on less fortunate people. They end up by turning these students toward the government as the sole provider of protection and justice for the oppressed demoralizing their Catholic faith and turning them into unbelievers.
Educators are not alone in this work of undermining our youth. Our Catholic Voice Newspaper is constantly filled with articles about the work done by groups such as the Contra Costa Interfaith Sponsoring Committee - CCISCO - and its parent organization PICO - Pacific Institute for Community Organizing. These groups take the children of low income or immigrant families, feed their disenchantment and bitterness, train them to believe that the government bureaucrat is their best hope for a bright future and turn them into community activists ready and willing to force more government interventions down our throats.
PS: It should be noted that the hosts of this web site have a background in Catholic education, in the fields of Teaching and Social Work with special emphasis on Counseling and Political Science.
Here is Ms Wanket's letter in full:
Hello there! You got your facts wrong, I'm afraid. My name is Maureen O'Leary Wanket and you mention my name in connection with the consumerism Fontbonne Forum at Carondelet High School. The truth is that I am currently a teacher at Loretto High School at Sacramento. I haven't taught at Carondelet since 2005, and I had nothing to do with the consumerism Fontbonne. I was one of the founders of the original Fontbonne Forum three years ago, though. I gave a talk about the importance of avoiding war in 2003. You might be interested in knowing that during that forum we gave equal time to opposing viewpoints who thought going to war against Iraq was a fine idea. I did not attend the latest Fontbonne Forum regarding consumerism, so I don't have any authority to speak on it. I do know the organizers of that activity personally, however, and I can assure you that they are not now, nor have ever been Communist. They (and I) do tend to rally in defense of the poor, and on behalf of peace, however, but what can you expect from a group of observant and educated Catholics? Also, thanks for reading my article in Teacher magazine. I like to make an effort to reach disaffected youth as well as those who are already as enthusiastic as I am about reading. As a devout Catholic and educator, I look to the Gospel of Christ for guidance on helping everyone, not just those who are already saved.
Thanks for calling me into the discussion. I'm adding you to my prayer list.
In Christ, Maureen O'Leary Wanket