Controversy Intensifies Among Catholic Educators over Common Core
With approximately 100 out of 195 Catholic dioceses throughout the United States embracing the new Common Core State Standards, the controversy is intensifying among Catholic educators not only with regard to the merits of the new standards but also the way in which Catholic schools climbed aboard the Common Core bandwagon at the outset.
In mid-October, a letter from over 130 Catholic scholars, initiated by University of Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley, was sent to the United States Catholic bishops, requesting that they abandon any implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
The letter states that the new standards do “a grave disservice to Catholic education” in that they are “contrary to tradition and academic studies on reading and human formation.”
Bradley and his fellow scholars also accused proponents of the Common Core of seeking to “transform ‘literacy’ into a ‘critical’ skill set, at the expense of sustained and heartfelt encounters with great works of literature.”
“In fact, we are convinced that Common Core is so deeply flawed that it should not be adopted by Catholic schools which have yet to approve it,” the letter reads, “and that those schools which have already endorsed it should seek an orderly withdrawal now.”
Promoters of Common Core say that it is designed to make America’s children “college and career ready.” We instead judge Common Core to be a recipe for standardized workforce preparation. Common Core shortchanges the central goals of all sound education and surely those of Catholic education: to grow in the virtues necessary to know, love, and serve the Lord, to mature into a responsible, flourishing adult, and to contribute as a citizen to the process of responsible democratic self-government.
Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education. The heart of its philosophy is, as far as we can see, that it is a waste of resources to “over-educate” people. The basic goal of K-12 schools is to provide everyone with a modest skill set; after that, people can specialize in college – if they end up there. Truck-drivers do not need to know Huck Finn.Physicians have no use for the humanities. Only those destined to major in literature need to worry about Ulysses. [Horrific.]
The educators went on to articulate their concern that the Common Core standards will lower expectations for students in all subject areas as they are developed and will also take for granted materialist concepts that are incompatible with Catholic “spiritual realities,” such as the nature of God and the soul, religious values, and free choice.
This sounds dreadful.
A reader sent this: