NCEA took money from Gates Foundation to promote “Common Core” in Catholic schools

There has been a lot of talk about Common Core.

The Cardinal Newman Society has an interesting piece about this.

EXCLUSIVE: National Catholic Education Association Gets Gates Foundation Grant to Promote ‘Common Core’ in Catholic Schools

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paid the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) more than $100,000 to support teacher training and materials on implementing the Common Core school standards, The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered.
The $100,007 grant made in September will only fuel division over the NCEA’s public encouragement for Catholic schools to adopt the Common Core standards, despite serious concerns about the standards’ academic quality and impact on schools’ Catholic identity.
The revelation comes even as The Cardinal Newman Society and other Catholic groups and dioceses—led by the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS)—are co-sponsoring a meeting in New Jersey with Catholic school superintendents, principals and educators to discuss concerns about the Common Core, a controversial education reform movement funded largely by the Gates Foundation.
Yesterday the Newman Society released a survey of principals from the top-ranked Catholic high schools in the Society’s Catholic High School Honor Roll, that found that the principals oppose Catholic schools rushing to adopt Common Core without careful analysis.
Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, will appear on EWTN’s “The World Over with Raymond Arroyo” on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to discuss the survey and concerns about the Common Core. The show will be repeated Friday at 1 a.m.and 9 a.m. ET, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and Monday at 10 p.m. ET.
The NCEA recently launched a revised website for its Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII), which offers resources and advice to Catholic schools planning to adopt the controversial Common Core standards. In addition to the Gates Foundation grant, sponsors of the CCCII include William H. Sadlier, Inc., a leading Catholic textbook publisher, and Riverside Publishing, a national testing company—which potentially could reap large profits from the Common Core’s adoption by Catholic schools.
The Gates Foundation has also made grants to other Catholic entities to promote Common Core. This year it granted $248,343 to DePaul University for Leading with Algebra, described by the University as “a partnership between DePaul and the Chicago Public Schools to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in algebra for grades 6-8.” And in 2010, the Gates Foundation granted $556,006 to the Cristo Rey Network, in part to implement Common Core in the nationwide network of Catholic schools.
The Gates Foundation has come under fire from Catholic and pro-life organizations for its substantial “family planning” grant program to encourage the use of contraceptives in developing countries.


Read the rest there.

You can always find headlines from the Cardinal Newman Society on the right sidebar of this blog.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Dogs and Fleas, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Supertradmum says:

    When are Catholic parents going to grasp the fact that they are the first educators of their children, as many popes have pointed out? To expect schools which take money from the government to teach the real deal is just plain naive and irresponsible.

    Either find a NAPCIS school or home school, as God will judge parents on whether they passed the Faith on to their children.

  2. James C says:

    I wonder what the $7 was for. A month’s supply of birth-control pills courtesy of Melinda Gates?

  3. mamajen says:

    You’d think it would occur to them that it would be more profitable to provide an alternative for parents (and even teachers) who overwhelmingly hate Common Core.

  4. Marcus de Alameda says:

    The USCCB should weigh in and make a definitive statement about this. I assume they still consider the aim of Catholic schools is to be focused on the virtuous teaching of Catholic children ?
    At the very least, roll out Cardinal Dolan with some jovial PR assurance, “let’s have some good dialogue with our friends in the government.” (mea culpa)

  5. Bob B. says:

    The Gates Foundation has been giving money to Catholic schools/programs for years (e.g., Cristo Rey), but this time it has finally hit the streets. Loyola Chicago and the NCEA have been at this for a while now.
    Parents weren’t consulted, teachers were told that this was the way it is (don’t complain or you may leave) and diocesan educational offices make lofty pronouncements about how they’ve studied this and blah, blah. The bishops probably know little or nothing about it (except what their ed. office tells him).
    The only people who stand to gain from this are the testing companies and book-sellers (if you haven’t bought a textbook in a while, you’re in for a hear attack).

  6. Ryan says:

    I wish the Bishops would be Bishops and not bureaucrats. A DD should be sufficient education to make statements on just about anything in society, especially pedagogy.

  7. SKAY says:

    Common Core inserts politics into grade school classrooms.
    There was no way the left could stay out of using this for their own purposes–especially this administration.
    Read everything your child brings home from school.

  8. OrthodoxChick says:

    I had parent-teacher conferences just this afternoon at my children’s Diocesan Catholic school. I asked about the common core because I read this Newman article on Fr. Z.’s sidebar yesterday. I was relieved to hear that the school is not going to be receiving more $$ to purchase new textbooks. Since they’re hanging on by a thread as it is, they’re going to have to stick with the oldie-but-goodie texts (from the 1990’s), so no common core in the text for the foreseeable future – thank God. And my children’s math teacher informed me that common core is not new this year – it’s just newly being covered in the media this year. She told me that our diocese started implementing common core 3 years ago. She said the only way that she implements it into the math curriculum is to allow for more than one method of arriving at the correct answer – but she still only accepts the actual correct answer to a problem. I’m grateful to also be escaping this 4 + 4 = 9 nonsense I’m hearing about in common core. And because the textbooks at my kids’ school are so old (by public school standards anyway) we also avoid the nonsense that started about a decade and a half ago in the history texts when they ditched measuring ancient history using B.C. and A.D. and switched it to B.C.E. and C.E. (Before the Common Era and Common Era). Common Era/Common Core – couldn’t possibly be a connection there. None of this is new. The media is finally covering it, so some people are finally waking up to it.

    I really wish that the U.S. bishops would collectively decide to stop taking money from both the government and the wealthy elites aligned with a political ideology that directly opposes the Magisterium. We’d be a much poorer church financially, but so much richer spiritually.

  9. NBW says:

    Should Catholic schools be implementing Common Core?

  10. OrthodoxChick says:


    I’m sorry. I truly do value the insights you offer here, but I have to disagree with you when you say, “To expect schools which take money from the government to teach the real deal is just plain naive and irresponsible.”

    I fully expect my bishop and his superintendant of Catholic schools to put the spiritual welfare of the students in his Diocesan-run schools first, over and above whatever amount of funding he receives from government and/or private foundations that are opposed to the Magisterium.

    As it stands now, there’s little difference between most Catholic schools and public schools. Both are run entirely or predominantly by lay people. Both accept federal funding and must therefore fall in line with the state and federal regulations imposed on them. The only difference is that in a Catholic school, religion can be taught as a subject, students can pray during the school day and have a crucifix in their classroom, as well as a statue of Our Lady and the saints. Students can also attend Mass as part of their school day. How much of this actually takes place is absolutely the bishop’s responsibility. It is on the bishop, superintendant, and school administration to see to it that frequent Mass attendance is provided, traditional prayer (not Kumbaya versions of it) is an integral part of the school day, and religious instruction does not predominantly consist of teachings regarding social justice to the exclusion of full, thorough, and doctrinally sound catechesis. If this is not the case, then parents who cannot homeschool due to both parents needing to work, other family circumstances (personal, financial, or otherwise) have no school choice in this matter. Their choices presently are to scrape together the tutition for Catholic school in hopes that some amount of God in their child’s school day is better than nothing, or if they cannot scrape together the tutition money, they have no choice other than to resort to public schooling.

    Where are all of these great NAPCIS schools? I checked the NAPCIS website because I would desperately like to place my children in exactly such a school. The nearest one to me (and there is only 1 even remotely in my geographical area) is over an hour’s drive (one way) away. AND, when I looked at their website, I was surprised to learn that even though they are NAPCIS accredited, they are also pushing a green/environmental curriculum. So exactly how orthodox is this school?

    Of course I agree with you that parents are the primary educators of their children, but I do expect the bishops to present us parents with schools that do not compromise our role. Not all of us are in a position to be able to homeschool. Homeschool costs money too, but more importantly (since usually, if one can afford the tuition at a Diocesan Catholic school, one can afford the tuition for homeschool) the issue for parents is the availability of one parent to stay home and teach. It would be helpful if there was an organization that could host a portal of some sort where hard-identity Catholic parents living in close proximity could connect with each other to either establish homeschool co-ops in their area, or better yet, organize to found and run more NAPCIS schools (that will hopefully NOT be so eager to push any pet agenda of the left). At least this sort of arrangement could serve students from families that cannot spare a parent’s income to teach. If such a family could afford it, their tuition could be used to help offset at least a small bit of the operating expenses for teaching materials and (hopefully) provide some small stipend for the parents who can and do teach.

    If the bishops aren’t going to support us, then we need to start making some serious plans to help each other. But no, I do not think it either naive, nor irresponsible to expect my bishop and those under his employ, to provide the umbrella under which I am able to exercise my God-Given role as primary educator of my children – at least at a minimum – by ensuring that supposedly Catholic schools truly ARE Catholic.

  11. LA says:

    I am VERY disappointed with Bishop Finn in Kansas City for promoting this in his diocese:

    A knowledgeable friend of mine wrote this:

    “The purposes of CC include:

    “The shift of control over K-12 education to the feds through the bribery of state governments and the coercion of citizens. It is an end-around the Constitution and stands the Principle of Subsidiarity on its head. State and local school boards will be but puppets to federal puppet-masters.

    “Training worker-bees for industry and making a profit for the companies involved in developing the standards and supporting the associated testing. Education of children is not a purpose.

    “Gathering longitudinal data about each and every child from K thru college (and maybe even pre-K thru college) and merge that data with other data from government data bases so that each child can be tracked and pigeon holed as not only education achievements but also personal traits and beliefs. The data collected incident to CC includes health-care history, family income, religious affiliation, voting status, and who knows what else – and the data is not protected by privacy laws. [For more information on the data collection: and

    “Preparing students for nonselective two-year community colleges, not four-year universities.

    “The standards being developed are in fact “progressive” educational ideas that progressives/socialists/tyrants have been trying to implement for a century or so – they relegate a classical education, and any parent input, to the trash bin.

    “As CC gets implemented, if parents expect their children to have the math and English skills necessary for a future in any technical/professional discipline, they are going to have to devote the time/effort/dollars to provide extra help – both the math and English standards through the grade levels are deficient, do not provide the level of knowledge that up to now has been expected of a high school graduate in preparation for life/for an advanced degree.”

  12. robtbrown says:

    Ryan says:
    I wish the Bishops would be Bishops and not bureaucrats. A DD should be sufficient education to make statements on just about anything in society, especially pedagogy.

    It’s not an indication of education but an honorific given to bishops without graduate degrees.

  13. Pingback: Weddings on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation? -

  14. Bob B. says:

    Personal knowledge from two different schools (one a high school and the other K-8):
    In reply to an honest question concerning why math was being presented in a manner that can only be described as a rough scan of concepts (along with a grading scale where no attempt was worth 50% and the scale progressed incrementally upward until the final result was a correct answer) was that a lot of money was spent on the program and that’s the way it was.
    In the other school, learning times tables and basic Catholic prayers was unnecessary because they are available on-line.
    In both cases, the teachers were told, without discussion, that if they didn’t like it, they could take a hike. Welcome to Common Core for Catholics.

  15. mamajen says:

    Agree with you completely, OrthodoxChick.

    My son is in public school for a variety of reasons. We do have a Catholic school, but it is not better than our public school, and in some ways is worse. I try to make up for it by homeschooling him in religion daily, which so far is working very well. We also made the move to a much more orthodox parish, so we can give our children the best possible foundation that is within our means.

    Some people cannot believe that homeschooling isn’t feasible for every Catholic family, but that is the truth. I know some families have made tremendous sacrifices to be able to homeschool, and I am not making light of that. But everyone’s situation is different. We cannot all give up on schools, because some families really do need them. We most definitely should expect our bishops to do their jobs. Whether or not they actually do is another story. Maybe I am a bit hypocritical because I am not involved with our Catholic school, but in the 25 years since I was there, it hasn’t really changed a bit. My perspective is that I’d rather have a clean slate to work with than try to correct somebody else’s FALSE teaching that I am paying extra for.

    I’m not sure if it’s the same in every state, but in NY schools are able to decide whether to adopt state Common Core curriculum, or develop their own lessons that meet the requirements. So, even if Catholic schools do adopt Common Core for whatever reason, they needn’t teach things that are contrary to the faith. It sounds like your school gets that.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    Common Core is nothing but educational socialism, it seems to me. It is an agenda being put forth by the rich elite (Bill Gates), who, by-and-large don’t know how to teach, but love control of persons. It is not being put forth by the educational elites, by which term I mean gifted educators, not people in authority or at think-tanks. Different people have different gifts. The idea of a common core makes sense until you ask embarrassing questions like, “according to whom,” and, “for what purpose.”

    I’ve written before about my distrust and misgivings about the entire idea, before. I wish to heck people with money would stay the heck out of sticking their noses into education. Public education in this country has always been subject to fadism and social engineering. This is just another example. I could teach math to seventh-graders better with chalk and string that cost next-to-nothing, than using glossy books and computer displays (I have done it). Education, until you get into very technical sciences or something involving instrumentation, does not have to be expensive. I have no sympathy for any of this nonsense. Both quantum mechanics and relativity, the two greatest scientific discoveries of the last century, as well as the first moon launch, was done using slide rules and computers with 4k of memory. That’s because these guys knew how to think. This is, exactly, what we are not teaching students in school, today – how to be students. We are teaching them how to be good little brainwashed foot soldiers for the progressive agenda. They never teach the students to ask the question, “Progressing to where.” I suppose, by that definition, even lemmings are progressives.

    There is no wonder in the world of modern education and that goes along with the fact that there is little humility. Gates has no expertise in education. What he has is money and a big mouth, neither one of which gives him the right to be making any sort of splash. This is nothing but money talking, disguised as concern. It is disgusting.

    Sorry, but I wish Gates were stripped of worldly possessions and forced to debate education on stage from experience and the merit of ideas. It would quickly become apparent that before he talks about educating people, he should first have had some experience doing it (or have a very good substitute for experience, like inspired intuition – which he doesn’t have). Gates is a charlatan with a bank account. The states didn’t come up with this on their own. They are being pushed. Do you think we would listen to Gates for more that 5 minutes if his name were Fred Smooe who had an ulcer and a mortgage in Debuque?

    The Chicken

Comments are closed.