STR,--I/ would be interesting to know what your readers make of this : In Liverpool there is what is termed a schools controversy, the point being whether or not the Corporation will contribute 75 per cent. of the cost of Catholic Schools, the sum involved amounting to £562,000; on the 75 per cent. basis meaning Catholics have to provide £140,500.
Since Liverpool ratepayers are already overburdened with the cost of unemployment, all kinds of objections are raised to a 75 per cent. grant by the Corporation and Catholics naturally object to paying a further "conscience tax " than the agreed 25 per cent. The subject seems likely to become acute at the November Municipal elections.
In Liverpool there is a monthly review, the Liverpolitan which is very much concerned about the ratepayers' burden and in its August issue raised all manner of objections to " Protestant ratepayers' money being used for the building and furnishing of new senior schools to he owned, managed and staffed by Roman Catholics," etc. There was also some reference to these " institutions designed to win England back to Popery." From this it will be gathered the editor was so cross that he overlooked some obvious facts.
Now since I know the editor to be a plain, honest Yorkshireman and being thoroughly Lancashire myself, there was an interview ; views were exchanged in plain words and it was agreed I would let him have a letter for publication concerning payment of rates and taxes for education and then having a special tax to pay simply that Catholic children should be educated in Catholic surroundings, instead of by teachers who might hold Atheistic or other views.
Upon this point we did agree, that Liverpool ratepayers as a body are entitled to a special Government grant towards the education cost because there is no employment in prospect for the children in Liverpool upon leaving school, hundreds of them having been sent to other towns where there is a demand for juvenile labour. The towns which benefit by this cheap labour should meet the cost of educating the labour which is of economic value to them, the Government could easily adjust the grants as between the various towns.
Instead of the schools question becoming a heated controversy upon the justice of a 75 per cent. grant from the Corporation it would serve a more useful purpose for all Liverpool ratepayers to press the Government for a larger grant, for the reason stated. A further point which should be pressed is—why accept the position of having no employment in Liverpool for its juveniles instead of forming an efficient Development Organisation to gain new industries for them, and other unemployed? Liverpool is one of the few important towns which has no organisation to help itself.
To revert to the Liverpolitan the editor duly published my letter in the issue of the present month. In the letter I pointed out the Catholic attitude towards education, i.e., that its purpose is to create good character and which is only possible upon the basis of sound religion. The snag," however, is this, that in another part of the Liverpolitan details are given of crime among school-children in different schools, thus: General percentage in 80 Council schools, 2.64; in 42 Church of England schools, 3.73; and in 50 Catholic schools, 5.36. The total number of elementary schools being 172. The editorial comment is—" it would not be right, in our view, to put all or most of the blame on the schools and the teachers, bat the figures seem to indicate the failure from the civic point of view of dogmatic religious teaching in the schools. The main fault belongs to the parents and the home environment."
The editorial comment is fair and just but for the information of those who endeavour to maintain the Catholic attitude towards denominational schools against those of contrary view, what is the answer to percentage of crime in Catholic schools being 5.36 against 2.64 for Council schools?
A. G. BULLEN.
29, Newstead Road, Liverpool, 8.
[The figures presented in the last paragraph of the above letter have been investigated by the Cattwlic Herald, see page 3.1