Philanthropy

A Conversation with Archdiocese of Boston Schools Superintendent Thomas W. Carroll (Part 2 of 2)


The educational administrator talks to Daniel P. Schmidt and Michael E. Hartmann about Catholic education, the importance of remaining faithful to its core mission of eternal salvation, and the educational and societal benefits of school choice.

 

Thomas W. Carroll joined the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston’s Catholic Schools Office as superintendent in 2019, before which he held several positions at several various education-related nonprofits—including ones that ran schools and others that engaged in public-policy research and advocacy. He was also New York Gov. George Pataki’s deputy director for regulatory reform and played a leading role in the adoption of New York’s charter-school law.

The engaging Carroll is steadfastly principled and effective promoter and defender of school choice in general and, in his role as Boston Catholic schools’ superintendent, of Catholic education in particular. He believes their mission, properly understood and implemented, helps create community and academic outcomes. They also help students achieve eternal salvation, about which he is even more passionate.

Carroll was kind enough to join us for a conversation last week. The just less than 14-minute video below is the second of two parts of our discussion; the first is here. In the first part, we discuss Catholic education and identity, creating a community of learners and believers, and the challenge of raising money for its mission in the current culture.

In the second part, we talk more about Catholic education, the importance of remaining faithful to its core mission of eternal salvation, and the educational and societal benefits of school choice.

Schmidt and Hartmann (top row) and Carroll (bottom)

“Our number-one mission is drawing children close to God and setting them on the path to eternal salvation. That is our job and there’s nothing we do that’s more important than that,” Carroll tells us. “If we prepare somebody to get into Harvard, but they don’t get into heaven, then we failed at our job.

“I think every child should have the opportunity for a great education, regardless of where they happen to live,” he later says. “I think most people agree with that and I think the main obstacle has just been an institutional adversary to that idea, and that’s the teachers unions.”

More generally addressing Catholic schools’ position and ability to compete with public schools for selection by parents, “If you’re going to act like a public school, why would anybody pay tuition? They can go to the better funded public school for free. So it’s got to be more than that.” And moving forward, parents “have concerns with some of the more-crazy stuff that’s being taught in public schools right now and they know they’re not going to find that in the parochial schools in the Archdiocese.”

 

This article originally appeared in the Giving Review on November August 15, 2022.

Daniel P. Schmidt

Daniel P. Schmidt retired as the vice president for program of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee in 2017.
+ More by Daniel P. Schmidt

Michael E. Hartmann

Michael E. Hartmann is CRC’s senior fellow and director of the Center for Strategic Giving, providing analysis of and commentary about philanthropy and giving. He…
+ More by Michael E. Hartmann