Road Trip From California to Georgia!

mapI have been a public school teacher for 23 years. My first year of teaching in 1990 bears testimony to the fact that I was an enemy of the public schools from the very beginning, but without a tremendous depth of understanding why. In 2008 the good Lord called me out of darkness from a secular humanist to the Body of Christ. By the gifts of the Holy Spirit enhanced by the study of philosophy and theology, comprehension began to sanctify my mind and heart. Every year for the last five years saw the chasm increase between what I was able to do and what the schools wanted me to do. I have always taught as I saw fit and from the beginning it has always been a cat and mouse game to teach the children the myths, the fairy tales, the Great Conversation and even about the wisdom emanating from the eternal word of God. By the year 2013, the disparity between Christ’s call the mission of the public schools spanned a grand canyon.

ccs-i-am-here

The Common Core is the synthesis of all educational errors!

My conversion to Christ is of a radical nature and is seemingly matched by the free-falling condition of the public schools. As God continues to raise my mind to those things above, the public schools accelerate their descent to that which lies below. The new Common Core, the synthesis of all modern educational errors since the 70’s, is a real sea change, not because it is any different than what came before it, but because in its breadth, depth and reach into modern error, it is unprecedented.

So I continued to operate in the public schools, teaching Catholic truth in defiance of the great naked empress, thinking that the discomfort I was suffering was the lightest penance for a soul so recently gifted conversion. The thought of leaving the public schools was as foreign to me as the victim of Stockholm syndrome after 23 years of captivity. However, presaging providential events some months ago, Deacon Ed Pielter suggested I leave the public schools for a faithful Catholic school. He told me he thought I deserved it. I didn’t think I did. It seemed unthinkable to me at the time, but as it percolated, it became more and more a real evident next step. My wife Faith and I talked it over and we both resolved to leave the fetid public schools and head to the private Catholic schools.

We both applied to our local Catholic schools only to be utterly rejected. I even went to Dr. Seeley’s list of Catholic classical schools to inquire about new employment. We turned to embrace a drastic reduction in pay to propagate Catholic truth and found no opportunity. We had just wrapped up a pathetic year in 2014 that saw us both thrust into 24 days of intense training on the Common Core with the promise of the most dreadful year of our careers facing us in 2014-15. We were both fully prepared to embrace this appalling year of Common Core implementation when on June 11th, out of nowhere, my friend Michael Verlander sent me an email asking if I would like to move to Atlanta to teach theology at Holy Spirit Prep.

Though I had considered uprooting in months past, closed avenues allowed  apathy to grip my soul concerning my employment future and the hobbit in me wanted to stay put and avoid any unnecessary adventures. So I put out the impossible reply, “sure I will come on out from CA to GA to teach at Holy Spirit if you give my wife a job teaching second grade at the lower school and accept my two daughters at the upper school with me while allowing me to remain in possession of my arm and my leg.” One also ought to be careful of what he asks for.

Within a week the principals of these two fine schools conducted phone interviews that went better than we had a right to hope for. A week after that they invited us out to AtlantaHoly_Spirit_Preparatory_School_288903 for three days including face to face interviews. But as the surreal was approaching the real, we still didn’t begin to imagine that this could really happen even as we boarded a plane to fly out to our good neighbors in the South. We were taken in by the beauty of Holy Spirit and the hearty and faithful quality of the good souls in leadership who met us, interviewed us and gave us tours of the upper and lower schools. We drove around Atlanta for a few days, flew home and shortly after had to consider a very tempting offer whose promise included as many crosses as consolations.

My wife and I had to appeal to the “Took” in us and we threw caution to the wind, packed up quicker than is prudent and hit the road on a trip of a lifetime. We drove across the country leaving everything we had known for the last 4 decades behind including some precious relationships. From first contact on June 11th to July 17th, in less than six weeks, in a blink of an eye, we went from the public schools in California to a faithful Catholic school in the South. You can read a little more detail about our trip here.

There is nothing more sorely needed in our schools than the Truth. There is nothing more vital to a recovery of culture than a recovery of the properly ordered Catholic, Classical education. Here at When I Discovered Your Words I will frequently chronicle difficulties, epiphanies, insights, triumphs, failures and things funny that relate to the nature of an authentic education and expose the spirit of falsity that permeates academia and the public schools. I will always welcome questions, comments, and criticism in an attempt to build a community with a consensus about education that converges our minds with reality.  I will use this transition as a matrix to develop an understanding of what so terribly plagues the public schools and how those things have been encroaching on Catholic education for far too long now. It is my privilege and honor to enter into this important conversation at The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.

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About stevenjonathanrc

Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg is a Catholic convert, husband, father, Catholic writer and speaker on matters of Faith, culture, and education. He teaches, theology, philosophy and Church history at Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta. Steven is a member of the Teacher Advisory Board and writer of curriculum at the Sophia Institute for Teachers, a contributor to the Integrated Catholic Life, Crisis Magazine, The Civilized Reader, The Standard Bearers, The Imaginative Conservative and Catholic Exchange.
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6 Responses to Road Trip From California to Georgia!

  1. Linda Adams says:

    Bless you for your faith and your leap of faith. I wish you well. Hopefully, the cost of living difference will bless you.

  2. Rob Thomas says:

    Follow your heart Steve. My best wishes are with you and your family.

  3. yvette salkeld says:

    I am curious if the Archdiocese that governs your school has not adopted CCS? Ours here in New Orleans has the unfortunate situation that our Director has swallowed the “punch” and asked for another glass. Not sure what to do (we fight, but to a degree are met with padded stock answers) with lots of reference to our Principals and Administrations being in charge of it (yeah right:) Praying that they will see the forest through the trees soon. Ours is still a better option that the public schools surrounding us. God bless you!

  4. Yvette, Thanks be to God that my school, Holy Spirit Prep, is not an archdiocese school, it is independent. Unfortunately, I believe the Archdiocese of Atlanta Catholic schools have adopted the Common Core- I have to look further into it. Here is a not so encouraging report- http://www.archatl.com/education/ocs/newsletters/OCS_NLtr-fall-2013.pdf
    The NCEA and the folks at Loyola in Chicago have used jargon and silver spun lies to weave an invisible cloth to sell the common core to Catholic schools- I assure you they have woven the garment to clothe the spirit of falsity herself and it is a terrible deceit.
    I am sorry to hear about New Orleans- I believe parents need to unify and pull their kids out of these schools. One thing terribly difficult to achieve is to teach an old ideologue a new trick. The schools have been successful in convincing us that self-reference is the best way of knowing. Too many of us believe our own hype. Our best hope is to turn to prayer and to educate our own children as their first teachers, and in doing so to imitate the One True Teacher, Christ Himself.
    I think the parochial schools, no matter how quickly they are deteriorating are still much better options than the public schools. I do hope all of you in New Orleans begin to see brighter days concerning Catholic Education. God bless you all!

  5. Hello Steven, Our diocese here in Allentown, PA has adopted the Common Core and is implementing with gusto, unhindered until now. Many parents are finally realizing this and have become organized. Our schools are run by the diocese and follow a curriculum set by the office of education, which is aligned with the CCSS. Pretty much all of our text books are Common Core and one of the reasons we hear from our principals is that it’s almost impossible to source non common core text books. We believe this to be false but it sure would be helpful to have a resource list. You mention your school does not follow the common core therefore I’m assuming your text books are non common core? Would it be possible to share the list of text books your school uses for K-8 ? You can email directly at catholicIsOurCore@outlook.com
    Thanks and keep the faith!

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