The Role of Parents and the Church in Education

The idea of Catholic education being counter-culture has a long history in the United States.  The rise of the parochial school system was a direct result of the public school system, which “arose in an effort to safely homogenize foreigners into (Protestant) American society… Not only did these proposed common schools threaten to alienate Catholic children from their religious, cultural, and familial heritage, they also started from the assumption that the task of education should belong to the state.”(1) While the Catholic Church does respect and honor the legitimate authority of the state, it recognizes that the fundamental responsibility of education belongs to the parents as the primary educators of their children and to the Church to help provide support and guidance.

At The Atonement Academy, we maintain an unwavering commitment to provide an education that upholds the religious and cultural heritage of the Catholic Church and the enduring principles of Western civilization. This commitment to the classical, Catholic principles set forth in our heritage is increasingly important in today’s secularized world, where the principles of our faith are constantly under attack.  With the advent of the Common Core, gender choice, and same-sex marriage being taught in the public school system, the state is pushing an agenda which has nothing to do with teaching children how to think and everything to do with teaching them what to think. At The Atonement Academy, students read classic literature, study the history of the world from the viewpoint of Western Christian culture, receive the fullness of the Church’s moral teaching without modification or embellishment, and are challenged to think for themselves and to write and defend what they think.

Pope Leo XIII recognized the duty of parents and the Church in 1890 in his encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, where He sums up the rights and duties of parents: "By nature parents have a right to the training of their children, but with this added duty that the education and instruction of the child be in accord with the end for which by God's blessing it was begotten. Therefore it is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights in this matter, and to make absolutely sure that the education of their children remain under their own control in keeping with their Christian duty, and above all to refuse to send them to those schools in which there is danger of imbibing the deadly poison of impiety.”(2) With the designation of The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll, we are confident that The Atonement Academy provides a school that is committed to a strong Catholic identity and avoids the “deadly poison of impiety