Monday, December 22, 2014

The Right Tools Make a Difference

It has been almost 15 years since a group of Catholic educators and writers first met to launch the Catholic Textbook Project. They gathered to address an urgent need – a lack of Catholic textbooks.

Since the 1960's, no social studies/history series distinctively for Catholic schools had been published.  This meant that teachers in Catholic schools were forced either to use out-dated materials or secular textbooks that often (and increasingly) carried anti-Catholic bias and distortions.  

In addition, secular history textbooks were increasingly image-heavy, at the expense of text; and the text itself was characterized by ever simpler language and poor scholarship.  In a nutshell, secular textbooks have declined in quality. The result has been a dramatic decrease in historical literacy. Catholic schools lacked not only Catholic tools (such as an integration of the significant contributions of Catholics throughout more than 2,000 years of history), but also the high-quality materials that have historically made Catholic education superb.

The Catholic Textbook Project was formed to change that situation.

Since our founding, we have published five history textbooks (for grades 5 – 9) that bring history alive. Using a story-narrative format, our texts engage student interest. The graphic design, with custom maps and full-color reproductions of beautiful art, please the eye and inspire wonder.

But most importantly, our textbooks are Catholic; they proceed from the insight that mankind and history have been transformed irrevocably by Christ and his Church. Put simply, without the Church, history simply would not be the same.

Today, our textbooks are being used throughout the United States — in parochial schools in 51 dioceses, private schools, and home schools.

By next year, more than 60 schools in the archdiocese of Los Angeles alone will be using CTP books. Principals, teachers, and parents, as well as bishops and historians, have praised our books (along with their accompanying teacher's manuals).

However, most gratifying has been the response from students, who have found our books such a joy to read that they read farther than they "need to." Gratifying too, is the knowledge that we have done our part in helping introduce children to their religious and cultural patrimony, and to the fullness of history and reality, with all its possibilities.

All this is exciting news for Catholic education.  The problem is, so many are asking …"More! Faster!"  That is why we need your help. 

Unlike the behemoth textbook publishers, Catholic Textbook Project is a non-profit project of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and, as such, depends upon the generosity of donors to underwrite costs associated with the development, writing, editing, layout, promotion and distribution of our textbooks.

Currently, our greatest need is to underwrite the development of history textbooks for grades 1-4.

The estimated cost to develop and publish these books and their support materials is slightly less than $500,000. We look to individual donors and large foundations alike to make this happen.  In fact, just this month we received our first $25,000 grant from the Davies Foundation for this project.

But your help is vital to our mission.

Your generous gift today will help us get the right tools into the hands of Catholic educators. And you know that the right tools will make all the difference in forming Catholic children as future saints and leaders. 

Please donate today, AND send word of our work on to friends and foundations who may be able to help us produce more books for more grades, for the good of our Catholic school students – more, faster.” 

You can make your donation three ways:

  1. Use your credit card via PayPal HERE (then click on "Donate" button)
  2. Mail a donation check to: Catholic Textbook Project P.O. Box 4638, Ventura CA 93007
  3. You may also call CTP President Michael Van Hecke at 805-302-6716 to discuss any particular donation questions.
Catholic Textbook Project is a 501(c)3, and every donation is tax-deductible.

Thank you for any help you can give! Your generous gift today will enable us to satisfy sooner the demands of Catholic educators who are eager for the publication of our grades 1-4 textbooks. 

Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic SchoolsOur additional "thank you": For a donation of $50 we will send you Archbishop J. Michael Miller's The Holy See's Teaching on Catholic Schools. This booklet is a reprint of an conference address given by Archbishop Miller as Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. It is an excellent resource for anyone concerned with Catholic education.

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