On this episode, Chris is joined by Dr. Kevin Baxter, former superintendent of Catholic schools for the largest U.S. archdiocese, Chief Innovation Officer for the National Catholic Education Association, and current director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. They discuss Dr. Baxter’s recent book, Greatness in Smallness: A Vision for Catholic Microschools, published by the NCEA. As Dr. Baxter describes it, a “microschool” isn’t defined so much by total enrollment, but is rather an attitudinal posture that isn’t afraid to depart from historical paradigms. For example, he describes how multi-age instruction (multiple ages of kids in one classroom) couldn’t be further from a “desperate” measure, but rather is a model with many, many benefits for children, and which is being used in some premier, high-tuition schools. Looking to the future, he sees leadership and innovation as the two pillars on which Catholic schools can newly thrive (again, not defined in enrollment data) in the years ahead.
Michael Pauley welcomes Fr. Henry Stephan, O.P., of Notre Dame University to the program for a far-reaching conversation on how Catholics should engage with politics (the City of Man) without losing sight of the eternal home we are called to (the City of God). Michael and Fr. Henry discuss the thinking of Augustine and Aquinas on politics, examine three temptations that Catholics should avoid as they engage in political life, and review the current debate in Catholic intellectual circles on the subject of “integralism” and whether Catholic beliefs can be harmonized with the economic and political tenets of classical liberalism.