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August 29, 2011


The Office of Catholic Education continues to bargain with representatives of the Association of Catholic Teachers. Sessions have been ongoing since March. The Archdiocese is committed to a contract agreement that respects the needs of not only our teachers but also our school families who sacrifice to provide a quality Catholic education for their children. The goal of the Archdiocese is to reach an agreement that will be fair and equitable to all parties.

In addition to negotiating with the Association, the Office of Catholic Education has been providing periodic updates to our teachers in order to explain our position on issues. We will continue to communicate so that teachers are presented with the fullest possible picture of matters being discussed. We have already highlighted system wide programmatic changes we must formalize in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing educational landscape of the 21st century.

If our schools are to grow and thrive, we must have the ability to continue and implement unique elective courses and innovative academic initiatives. Distance learning, Robotics, Pre-Engineering, and Mandarin Chinese are a few examples. To do so often requires that the Archdiocese have the ability to use part time teachers to augment and supplement courses and programs. It is also crucial that all parents have the ability to monitor their children's progress online and to schedule personal meetings with teachers at times convenient to working families' schedules. Our focus must be on what the families we serve rightly need and expect to be available.

We must embrace a certain degree of change in order to achieve such goals. We must be proactive in the delivery of our educational services if we expect to remain viable and competitive. Included within the teacher contract must be the ability to continue to grow our excellent, quality academic programs that will provide for the ever-changing needs of the twenty-first century learner. In this manner, our schools will continue to demonstrate excellence.

Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia must be affordable and accessible to remain sustainable. Like many school systems around the country we have been forced to thoroughly examine our available resources. This contract is being negotiated at a very difficult economic time.

The Office of Catholic Education is committed to achieving a contract that is fair and equitable for our valued teachers. We seek to provide a quality Catholic education infused with 21st century skills, technology, as well as a rigorous and relevant curriculum supported by the hard work and dedication of our teachers. It must also recognize the sacrifices made by our school families and the very real challenges posed by current demographic and economic factors. Addressing the well-being of all of these components is essential to ensuring the sustainability of our Secondary School System.

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Editor's Note: The contract currently under negotiation will affect 711 lay teachers. In the five-county Philadelphia region 16,502 students attend 17 Archdiocesan high schools (as of the 2010-2011 school year). For a complete list of schools in the Archdiocese, please visit

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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