they set the standard for learning and EXPECT kids to meet that standard, unlike public schools that lower the standard so more kids can "succeed". What kind of success is that?! The principal at one elementary school I had worked at, copied an article from a magazine that said it very well...think the article was something like, "Why do Catholic Schools Succeed and Public Schools Struggle?". Something along those lines, anyway, he copied it and handed it out at a faculty meeting to all faculty. His point being that if Catholic Schools could do it so could we...unfortunately most teachers thought he was a nutcase and most copies ended up in the trash can. This was the same principal who came into a classroom where I was teaching sentence diagramming, and instead of going ballistic, was thrilled. His comment, "Diagramming is a lost art, I can't believe someone still knows how to do it". Then he told me to carry on! I let out the breath I had been holding because I was prepared to be "chewed out".
Said all of this to say(I guess) that kids will always amaze you and reach ever higher expectations if the expectations are only there to begin with. Catholic Schools seeem to do this very well.
Oh, and since this discussion began with the concern about History classses, I need to add one thing. Virginia's SOL's (Standards of Learning) now demand that students also pass a History and Geography section and schools whose students could not, run the risk of losing their accreditation. I am now two years "out of the loop", so don't know how that came out; but it was wreaking havoc while I was still there. Most students simply could not pass it!