Some 100 US dioceses have adopted Common Core

From Breitbart:

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:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Elizabeth D says:

    Not my bishop!!!
    “Catholic schools in the Diocese of Madison will not adopt the Common Core State Standards. Rather, our parish elementary schools will continue to use our own, diocesan academic standards. Further reasons for this may be found on the accompanying document, “Frequently Asked Questions.” The Diocese of Madison stands firm, both behind our standards, and behind the mission and philosophy of Catholic education which far exceeds any other common standards.”

  2. wmeyer says:

    So we have at least 100 bishops (my own among them) who have failed to discern the evils of Common Core. Shame!

  3. Austin Catholics says:

    I ‘m waiting for the commenters to somehow blame this on Obama….

    Everybody thinks he or she is an expert at K-12 education. The criticism is all over the place: no accountability for the schools/teachers, too many tests, too few tests, not enough standardization of curriculum, too much standardization of curriculum, overbearing federal interference, not enough oversight of piddly little school districts.

    Educators jut can’t win…

  4. Lin says:

    Shameful! Mao’s Little Red Book. 100 bishops buy in? Is it any wonder how we ended up with this culture of death and this administration?!?

  5. Lin says:

    Schools should be run locally. Kick the federal government out and the unions!

  6. AA Cunningham says:

    The navel gazing buffoons in chanceries around the country strike again.

  7. Lin says:

    Diocese of Erie, Catholic Schools Office, Support of Common Core State Standards August 2013.
    Our bishop was also one to support CCSS. Not surprised based on recent experience.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    Well, my mantra on this blog and my blog has been that the only education a real Catholic parent can give is to be found in home schooling.

    This caving in of diocesan school systems is not new. Sex education was introduced in a diocesan system near me over 20 years ago by a liberal superintendent. The damage is obvious-contracepting Catholics are the rule here.

    That is merely one problem. The biggest problem is that people do not understand that Catholic thinking is to be found in all subjects not merely religion. Years ago, this idea that a history book or even science text could be neutral was shown to be false to me. I got a Master’s Teaching Certificate from NAPCIS and also helped some schools become NAPCIS affiliated in order to stop the rot. I home schooled.

    These NAPCIS schools are the few schools which actually have Catholic curricula and that have teachers trained to think like Catholics.

    These horrible decisions are made by dioceses for three reasons: one, those in charge are not thinking like Catholics, but like secularists; two, those in charge have lost the Faith; and three, those in charge make decisions based only on the god of mammon, that is, money.

    Parents, either use a NAPCIS school near you or home school. Otherwise, you will be neglectful on your duty as parents. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but we need to be raising saints, not conformists to the culture of death and depravity.

  9. Sword40 says:

    Wow, no wonder my two “teacher” kids won’t discuss CCSS with me. They know how I feel about this corrupt garbage being used.
    One teaches 5th grade and one does kindergarten. They are so involved with analyzing their students and evaluating them. They feel that they are really helping them. When I asked “helping to what”? they changed the subject.

    Makes me ashamed to claim them sometimes.

  10. As soon as I heard about “Common Core” my built-in balderdash detector started flashing red and sounding loud alarms. I’m not surprised to read that this fad is merely yet another threat to Catholicism among other things.

    One of the reasons I now oppose institutional education in general is that it is an invention of the Industrial Revolution, the purpose of which is to send children through an assembly line type of education to become — assembly line workers! The idea that overeducation is wasteful is the end result of this mentality. Besides, after all, we don’t want anyone questioning the dictates of say, government, or perhaps worse. If one is educated, he might develop his own balderdash detector. Keep the sheep dumb and they’ll go along with anything. If we have to have institutional schools, they should be more than just vocational training centers. If only I could have found a lady who agreed with me… sigh.

  11. tcreek says:

    Why should anyone be surprised. Remember this from 10 years ago?

    NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, DEC. 24, 2003 – Nearly two-thirds of high school catechetical materials used throughout the United States are not in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans, chair of the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee for the Implementation of the Catechism, reported the results of the committee’s evaluation of catechetical books at the episcopate’s conference last fall. …

  12. Imrahil says:

    Physicians have no use for the humanities.

    The sad think is that I can imagine an education theorist to think like that.

    Whom I cannot imagine to do so is a good physician.

    A physician told me once that he sometimes felt he never had imagined in his studies how much of the professional work is actually philosophy.

    Truck-drivers do not need to know Huck Finn.

    My first thought on this was: erm… the point of Huck Finn is not to know him because you need to. The point is to read him because it is fun.

    It is true that education makes you find out the fun (I found that out for myself).

    This is, in fact, one of its aims, and should perhaps (in a somewhat more elegant way) be added to this laudable list of the good aims of education. Bl. John Henry was quite clear on that: A whole chapter of the Idea of a University is titled: “Knowledge its own end”.

    Whence, Knowledge is capable of being its own end. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that any kind of knowledge, if it be really such, is its own reward. And if this is true of all knowledge, it is true also of that special Philosophy, which I have made to consist in a comprehensive view of truth in all its branches, of the relations of science to science, of their mutual bearings, and their respective values. What the worth of such an acquirement is, compared with other objects which we seek,—wealth or power or honour or the conveniences and comforts of life, I do not profess here to discuss; but I would maintain, and mean to show, that it is an object, in its own nature so really and undeniably good, as to be the compensation of a great deal of thought in the compassing, and a great deal of trouble in the attaining.

    Who does not feel, or feel he should feel, like this about knowledge is not qualified to set up an education program.

    Aaand… speaking of practical uses… how did Heisenberg come to be Heisenberg? His father was professor for byzantinistic; he was a boy scout; he went to a grammar school of the sort that specializes in Latin and Greek, and, then probably even to a less extent, the mother tongue*; and he played the piano. And he played the piano.

    Nuff said, if you forgive the spelling mistake for popcultural sake.

    [*. It also teaches “school mathematics” as it is called, and has some classes with lesser hours in religion, music, art, history and physical education; today also English and physics, but I do not know if that was even the case back then. This only for completeness’ sake; my point is that the sort of school Heisenberg went to specializes in Latin and Greek.]

    In addition, Chesterton wrote a chapter on “Wanted – an Unpractical Man” in “what’s wrong with the world”, and it’s a great read, and true. Just saying…

  13. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Andrew Saucci,

    and the rather strange thing is that, I mean, at the time of the Industrial Revolution such a view might have been at least consistent. (Only then they did not think so.)

    I don’t agree to it, as I made clear; but, in the first view, he who proposes just the precise amount of education needed to work in an assembly line (and that calculated without insights about the effect education may, I guess, even there have), in addition teach him a rather abbreviated Catechism and make sure he appears in the Confessional often enough so that he gets his religious duties fulfilled; and then he may after work and other duties just relax and enjoy his well-deserved after-work beer… in the first view that might sound discussable. After all, Hilaire Belloc never said that servitude could not be comfortable.

    Who holds that has got one thing wrong, though.

    Hm, knowledge its own end, personal freedom and dignity, the justified fear that the lords might abuse their position (including even in matters of salvation) and all that. Sure. But he has got another thing wrong.

    Where in all the world are, today, all those assembly-line jobs?

  14. I’m surprised it was only 100…Lowest common denominator education will not work. Subsidiarity needs to be applied to education.

  15. Cantor says:

    As is generally the human case, in the absence of leadership, people follow anything that somebody else does for them. So here’s the question:

    Where is the USCCB’s leadership in writing the Catholic Core State Standards program??

    People can weep, wail, gnash teeth, and bid fond adieu to Huck Finn and all his friends, but if they don’t DO something, that’s as far as they go. Have any of the letter writers sat down and written a lesson plan? (How about something creative, like how to READ opinionated fluff filled with emotional words?)

    Where could it begin? How about a standardized education program about Catholicism? There used to be one out there, it seems to me, from Baltimore! If we can figure how to get our own Catholic schools teaching that from the same page, perhaps we can demonstrate the capacity and ability to reintroduce Twain. If we can’t do that, the other stuff doesn’t really matter.

  16. OrthodoxChick says:

    Um, did anyone else read the article from the Cardinal Newman Society over on Fr. Z.’s sidebar; the one entitled: “Pope Francis Makes First Major Statements on Catholic Education”?

    The Pope Francis quoted in that article doesn’t sound like he’d be a big fan of Common Core. Too bad we can’t start a petition against Common Core and send it to the Holy Father with a letter explaining our concerns about common core. Maybe then he’d advise the U.S. bishops against accepting it and implementing it.

    Personally, I’d rather see the bishops give Mr. Gates his money back and let us keep our Catholic identity.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    The large majority of American schoolchildren will receive Common Core. It has been adopted by public schools by and large. Education is a constant cycle of trends. The trends get renamed and show up again sooner or later. It all originates at the upper echelon of educational elites, where theories are bred, and trickles down from there. Right now, it’s Common Core, with literacy as a huge focus. I work in a public school, and I see literacy as a huge deal, as do most educators. A child who can’t read well is going to struggle academically all the way through, if they make it. Many of the children are disadvantaged at home, in our school. They speak spanish only, as have their parents. They may hear no English until they come into preschool or kindergarten and have to start hearing English. It takes about three years to speak a new language for basic communication, up to seven years to gain enough language to deal with academics, and we expect children to learn it immediately. Imagine how hard that is. But the elites do not ever, cannot ever, acknowledge this as a factor. That fact is ignored. It is not politically correct. What has happened is teachers and principals are flogged over “test scores” for these children. There are definite repercussions which reverberate all the way through the school as the anxiety builds over test scores for children who cannot demonstrate proficient language skills. All will suffer, as there are more tests, more evaluations, more this and more that, in order to try to close the testing gap between children in a more privileged part of the state, whose parents are highly articulate English speakers and who provide an enriched environment of words, reading, and experiences for their children, and poor children whose parents do not speak English and may never speak English. Some of our children have learned to speak English by watching television only. Their scores are seen as deficient because they cannot match the other children’s test scores. This gap must close, and teachers must be flogged to get it. Common Core is no doubt the elite’s method of standardizing education so no one gets anything horrific, and nobody gets anything wonderful. In this way it is much like Obamacare, or socialized medicine, because it neutralizes the extremes, or tries to. What ends up happening is the have not’s may get something better and the have’s lost out. Equalizing that playing field however you have to do it. For some political leaders it’s a real goal, and political leaders and teachers unions are…um….cozy.
    So the dog chases the tail and then the tail chases the dog, in education. More money is invested, specialists are paid, trends come in and go out, and on and on it goes. Frankly, like many things, it’s a mess.

  18. TNCath says:

    As a public schoolteacher, I can solemnly assure you that Common Core is nothing more than educational Communism, the Obamacare of education. It has done nothing bur wreak havoc on our school system and is nothing more than a ploy by Bill and Melinda Gates, plutocratic agents of evil, to further control and denigrate Western civilization.

  19. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    I’m trained as a physicist, working as an engineer. I work with statistics all the time. There is a great old introduction-to-statistics book, a real classic, called “How to Lie with Statistics”. I love this book. Despite its name, it is not advocating lying, but rather telling you how you are lied to, using statistics.

    It seems obvious to me that these introductory rhetoric books are teaching kids how they are being manipulated by rhetoric. It’s hard for me to imagine a more effective motivator for learning rhetoric.

    I can certainly see many objections to common core, but teaching kids effective rhetoric is not one of them.

    For another conservative take on common core, you might want to consider the article that Rod Dreher discusses here:

  20. KingofCharity says:

    This is why my wife and I home school!!!! Catholic schools are no better and have been infiltrated by the same errors as public schools.
    As a public school teacher for ten years I can tell you that Common Core is secular humanism, Marxism, and philosophical materialism in disguise. Get your kids out while you can!!!
    What the Common Core doesn’t indoctrinate, the personal, leftist agenda of most teachers will. Most public school teachers are socialist, leftists whose main goal it is to drive a wedge between conservative kids and their parents. Many teachers actually seek out conservative Christian students and “challenge” their beliefs. By “challenge,” I mean degrade, attack, embarrass, etc. The social sciences, health, and English departments have a special hatred of Catholic students.
    By the way, “pluralism, tolerance, multi-culturalism, and diversity,” can all be good things if properly understood. But in public schools, those buzz words are “code” for Materialism, Marxism, radical feminism, secular humanism, philosophical naturalism, atheistic evolutionism, and moral relativism. We are in a war for the minds of our children. Minds are impressionable. He who controls the minds of the young, controls the moral, social, political, and economic future of a nation.
    Our young, impressionable minds having been “catching” socialist cooties from public schools for generations. That is why our country is producing lazy, apathetic, self-entitled, non-competitive, state-dependent citizens. More and more kids are leaving school with a distrust and hatred of “American government” and “American history.” More and more kids are becoming entitled and lazy. More and more kids can tell you all of the horrible things America has done and continues to do in the world, but they can’t tell you when we fought the Civil War, write an analytic paper, or do basic algebra.

    Public Education’s top 10 problems:
    1. The breakdown of the nuclear family (lacking a strong, supportive mom and dads) *Some say poverty, it is not poverty. Kids who come from poverty but still have strong families/parental guidance do very well academically
    2. Lack of parent involvement and lack of parental support of teachers and administration
    3. Union abuses (protecting the status quo and mediocrity and teachers’ jobs as opposed to promoting ingenuity in pedagogy, curriculum, and teacher development)
    4. Over dependency on technology as a “substitute” for authentic human guidance and relationships
    5. Eliminating logic, rhetoric, and grammar from schools and replacing them with moral relativism and nihilism disguised as “critical thinking”
    6. Infiltration of Marxist ideology. Marxist ideology produces Materialists, feminists, philosophical naturalists, methodological naturalists, nihilists, Statists, atheistic evolutionists, and ultimately . . . . . disgruntled, self-entitled, lazy hedonists.
    7. Poor teacher training and education (teacher colleges are pushing teachers through for the tuition and graduating rubbish)
    8. Improper funding that perpetuates socio-economic and racial segregation
    9. A disconnect between curriculum and standardized tests. The means of measurement and accountability do NOT match classroom pedagogy, curriculum, and best practices. Standardized tests are quantitative in nature, while teachers are trained to instruct kids using Bloom’s taxonomy and demonstrate higher order thinking skills, yet none of these higher order thinking skills can be “tested” on a traditional standardized test.
    10. Entertainment and the need for immediate gratification- The world is simply too much fun. The appeal of learning and academic success is not enough of an appeal to Kids have too many choices and too much going on in their minds. They can’t pull themselves away psychologically and emotionally and intellectually from Twitter, Facebook, pop culture, cell phones, texting, sexting, etc. The path of least resistance is always right in front of them and they can’t escape it. Schools lack the discipline or ability to remove tech gadgets from schools.
    Bottom line- public schools are antiquated institutions using a 20th century paradigm to address the modern world. Teachers are more concerned with promoting their personal political and ideological agendas than teaching objectively. It is all a sinking ship in way over its head. It does not have the tools and resources to properly educate kids and meet the demands of the modern world.
    In fact, between MTV and public schools, I believe this is where the war for traditional marriage is being lost. Teachers spend more time indoctrinating “marriage equality” than they do teaching.

    Home school!!!
    Get them out while there is still time!!!

  21. tcreek says:

    No curriculum will be effective in promoting the Faith without CATHOLIC teachers.

    I do volunteer work at a Catholic k-12 NAPCIS school. Each year their teachers pledge that they will fully live and teach authentic Catholic morals and doctrine. This pledge is at Mass and in front of their students. Good luck in getting that implemented in diocesan schools.

  22. mamajen says:

    Robertus Pittsburghensis,

    Excellent link–thank you. Interesting that Dreher points out (via his friend) that liberals hate CC. When conservatives are joining forces with liberal, unionized public school teachers to fight something, you really have to wonder what on earth is going on. I, too, am wary of Common Core, but I’ve also personally witnessed conservatives bandwagon jumping and completely fabricating horror stories. Seems too many conservatives already aren’t thinking for themselves (and probably aren’t teaching their kids to), so what have we to lose?

  23. Lin says:

    “Effective rhetoric” which has been taught in our universities for over two generations is why we have this culture of death administration today. Now we are starting the dumbing down process even earlier. We have become a nation of sheep interested only in our own selfish pursuit of pleasure and the MSM’s talking points (manipulation of emotion and repetition) as is taught in our schools today. If Our Catholic bishops cannot see this, who will?

  24. Lin says:

    Unlike one of the bloggers above, I was taught how statistics could be misleading only AFTER I knew how to calculate them. The main purpose of the class was to teach how to calculate stats. It appears that the major contribution of CCSS is to teach students how to use emotion (rather than truth) to manipulate people. And then, the teacher evaluates the pupil not only on how well he learns his lesson (to manipulate), but also on how easily he (the pupil) is manipulated. The ultimate goal being a herd of sheep who can be manipulated into any behavior the ruling class deems acceptable.

  25. ChrisRawlings says:

    The Archdiocese of Denver chose not to implement Common Core, arguing that archdiocesen schools have “rigorous academic standards infused with Catholic identity” and that “there is nothing in Common Core that will get you to heaven.” The superintendent noted that a few parts may be implemented, but not much.

    Isn’t it great to hear an archdiocesan superintendent talk about the goal of educating kids in terms of getting people to.heaven? Denver, I should say, is actually building a new Catholic school when much of the rest if the country us closing them. Orthodoxy is good stuff and I suspect that the growth of the archdiocese can be linked to its positive embrace of Catholic identity and teachings.

  26. JamestheOlder says:

    I agree with Austin Catholics completely. “Everyone thinks they are an expert on education.”

    If you think CCSS is a problem and something terribly nefarious, you haven’t been paying attention to public school education for, oh, say, the last forty years. Why the uproar now? Do you think what we had was any prize? In my county we spent more on football stadiums than on math and other text books, not to mention a clear lack of classics in the high school “library (used as a study hall)” twenty years ago. If you really are that ignorant of public education, you might want to look at comparisons with other countries. Have you noted the import of qualified engineers and computer experts from other countries into the US to supply companies that depend on math and reading capabilities? First, go read John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of Public Education….You will be mesmerized by his conclusions……even in his shorter book about dumbing down public education. Unlike MANY who have published blogs and articles, Gatto is an experienced teacher…..and he has facts, not suppositions.

    Then, try your hardest to differentiate between CCSS and CCCII, which is the national Catholic approach to elementary and high school education. There is a difference, although the noted writers and reporters don’t seem to “get it”.

    ALL the Catholic school superintendents in Illinois have adopted the CCCII. We are paying for our great grandson to attend a Catholic elementary school in mid-state Illinois, and we are COMPLETELY satisfied that the Pastor, Principal, and their school teachers are currently providing a good CATHOLIC education to him. Of course, we are not newcomers to this “game”. We have been studying CCSS and CCCII for a long while, and I am backed by my wife’s 53 years of elementary school teaching experience in public, private and Catholic schools.

    So, let’s lower the volume and the hysterics and really study the needs for CCSS in public education (yes, there are crying needs…..asked for change recently at your local McDonald’s?) and the determined use of CCCII to protect REAL Catholic education. That is as opposed to the type of Catholic education offered by that revered football school, whose professors can’t even admit martyrdom in the Early Church, and honor abortionists.

    You think Cardinal George does not know what goes on in the Archdiocese of Chicago schools? Think again.

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  28. moon1234 says:

    All of western civilization is slowly being manipulated into two casts. The ruling and the servant class. This is not the monarchy of the past that usually answered to the Pope (Whether they wanted to or not). This is a godless elite that sees most people as a lower class of person. It is very much like they ideology of the rulers of Germany in the late 1930’s and ’40s. The only difference is that they are using the Chinese method of change over a LONG time vs. enforced quick change.

    In the future it will be DANGEROUS to be a Catholic. People that can think for themselves will be feared by those who don’t know how or are told to fear us.

    The same attitude is pervading the military too. Many young soldiers know very little of the constitution or the oath they took to defend it. When they do things that are clear violations of the constitution and that is pointed out to them, they appear dumfounded. They parrot the Nuremberg response of “I was just following orders”. That is what common core seeks. Those who follow orders, whether it be from a politician on TV or some unknown person writing educational texts.

  29. JARay says:

    Some of you may think that my comment is way off the subject. If you do, then just ignore my comment. I am a retired teacher. My speciality is the subject Mathematics. Mathematicians come in all sorts of sub-disciplines. I see that Statistics has been mentioned. That is one of those sub-disciplines. The Mathematics which I began to teach when I first took up teaching, was divided into two sub-disciplines which are Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and there were, at that time, two different public examinations in each branch. The Pure Mathematicians used to have a toast, when taking drinks. It was:- “To Pure Mathematics, may it never be of any use to anyone!”
    Then the wretched Applied Mathematicians would go and find uses for Pure Mathematics!
    To sum up what is behind my post. Knowledge and learning are means in themselves. They have value just in being. The human mind is a wonderful gift of God and God is honoured and praised in exercising those gifts which He has given us. All advances which have benefited mankind have come about simply because someone, somewhere has used the gift which God has given him, to think of things which others have not thought of before. The Applied Mathematicians thought of excellent uses which the discoveries of the Pure Mathematicians had made, simply because they went and applied them.

  30. Phil_NL says:

    It all depends on the alternatives.

    Frankly, both as a citizen and (were God to grant that someday) a parent, I’d very much prefer that schools would do nothing more than “make pupils “college and career ready.” ”
    Firstly, they cannot be trusted with anything even tangential to moral issues, and certainly not with character formation. On occasion it may go well, but that’s the luck of the draw. On the whole, teachers at any level and any school type (individual institutions excepted) cannot be trusted to have a half decent set of moral bearings to begin with, so what they impart to the students will be more likely to lead them astray than anything else.
    Moreover, I don’t see how this can be remedied by the type of education presumably proposed by prof Bradley. Emphasis on “great works of literature” for example, requires that works are chosen that do help with formation. Well, think again. Modern defintions of ‘great works of literature’ are more likely than not to include massive amounts of filth, especially those written in the last 50-60 years. (Though you can emphasize plenty of filth in the old Greek mythology as well, should one chose to do so).
    As for the humanities, best steer clear of them completely, for pretty much the same reason and the inherent danger of indoctrination at an age pupils are too young to see that for what it is. Never forget than the teaching profession does have a surplus of leftist people in it.

    So in all, why trust school with forming your children? Moreover, shouldn’t that be the job of a parent to begin with? And shouldn’t that be done long before the little ones start reading literature? Really, when they get into their teens, it’s getting to late already.

    And all this is assuming the staff have the capability to impart anything to begin with, as in terms of knowledge transfer schools fall woefully short as well. That’s why “college and career ready.” would be a blessing, as currently, they’re not. Learn them to read, write, do math, plenty of science (the ‘liberal arts’ track is a poor choice for most), tuck in a foreign language or two, and it would already be a lot better than the status quo.

  31. SKAY says:

    ” 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;”

    The phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” being expanded to all education in the US keeps going through my mind as I read this. The concept sounded great but the reality is becoming quite different.
    The more parents look into who and what is truly behind Common Core now–the more upset they are. In fact many teachers are retiring much earlier than they planned because of it. It is not just Catholics who have a problem with it. Apparently there are connections and financial gains for many who are pushing it within our state — on the education boards overseeing recommendations for our schools. Will the students best interests be served under those circumstances? There will need to be a lot of new computers and software for testing. What company will be involved in that? The involvement of the Gates Foundation becomes interesting. According to these parents looking in to all of this, the Us Department of Education has promised “Race to the Top” money for two years for the testing for states implementing Common Core. Federal money is never without strings.
    I recently saw that President Obama and his wife would like their children to stay in the very expensive private school that they are attending until each graduates because he wants to be sure they receive the very best education –so because of this they may stay in DC even after his term is over. I wonder if Common Core will be implemented in this school where many wealthy politicians send their children if they live and work in Washington. I do remember the voucher program that let some lower income students attend this school came to an end when Obama and his administration first came in. The teacher’s union had a problem with vouchers in DC.

    I am sure the parents of these children wanted them to continue their education there just like the Obama’s. As we all know-things are quite different when the best interests of your own children are involved.

  32. Bob B. says:

    The Jesuits and the NCEA have been involved in Common Core for some time now: “According to Dr. Lorraine Ozar (Loyola Chicago) in a July 2012 presentation, “Catholic schools need to pay attention to the fact that the common core standards are here and it is important to get on board”. And Sr. Dale McDonald (NCEA) said in an April 2012 video, “even though these are called ‘secular’ standards, there are ways in which we can make them personal to the Catholic School”.” The Jesuits’ Cristo Rey network of schools has received multi-millions of dollars since 2003 from the Gates Foundation, as well. So much for impartiality.

    In SoCal, at least, the Jesuits have been active at LMU with the “Common Core Math and Science Teaching System (CMAST) for at least a few years. (Guess where many teachers and principals went to college at?)

    There is concern that schools will lose what little Catholicity there is now. The Western Catholic Educational Association is also responsible for this in California, et al (there are other associations in other parts of the country) when it certifies and recertifies schools as Catholic. Wonder why they haven’t said anything about Common Core?

    Having taught high school math in a Catholic school, this CC method was REQUIRED to be taught consisting of: showing a video; explaining the problem and working a few problems; working a few more problems with the class; give the homework (with answers!); quiz the next day after going over homework; and you had better stay on-schedule! The quiz consisted of a three questions in which the student picks ONLY ONE (basically, easy, medium and hard). Grading was “different” – try a little and you get 50%; try a little bit more, 60%; more than one error, 70%; one calculation error (but still wrong answer), 85%. (Math is so passé, isn’t it? It’s not that most people working in the factories really need it, right?)

    As math is part of a STEM program, as well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that: the students are getting short-changed because there is NO depth of knowledge; that colleges will get a big surprise after they look at students grades, accept them and then find out that it’s even worse than before the CC nonsense was imposed; and that bringing this to the attention of the powers that be may be a career changer (even in Catholic schools).

    The bishops don’t know what’s going on because they rely on their education departments to tell them what to do. This won’t change given the fact that bishops haven’t done anything about the CINO colleges in their own areas, so why would they do anything about their high schools (with pro-abortion staffs and politicians on their boards, where Religion only means social justice) and K-8 schools, where many of the teachers and staff also don’t believe in the Magisterium?

    “Parents are the prime educators of their children” is a usual Catholic school refrain, but few schools/dioceses asked the parents because they know better.

  33. mpolo says:

    Beyond all problems with the content remains the constitutional question. Education is not a power granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution, but reserved to the states. Why is the Federal Government pushing a program written by a private group onto the state governments. I guess this all started with the “No Child Left Behind” and such, which makes it hard to insist on this now, because the interference has already been happening for years, but Catholic teaching on subsidiarity would suggest that we should be fighting this fight to return education to the smallest unit that can competently administer it.

  34. LarryPGH says:

    To be fair, though, I think it’s important to mention two things: first, the assertions about who needs or doesn’t need literature aren’t assertions that the Common Core folks are making; rather, it’s the hyperbole that the Catholic educators are making in their plea. (In that context, there’s a certain irony: the YouTube clip shows a first grade textbook that teaches children to make emotional arguments, and the narrators lament that students aren’t being taught to make logical arguments, but rather, arguments designed to elicit a listener’s emotional response ‘at the expense of the truth’. Isn’t that exactly what this characterization by the Catholic educators is doing?)

    Secondly, the YouTube clip attempts to impugn Common Core by evaluating a particular textbook. However, the approach and techniques in the text are neither required nor recommended by the Common Core standards. (Look at the video and see the Common Core references: they look like “CCSS x.x.x”. Go ahead and Google these acronyms; you’ll see that the Common Core standards aren’t requiring these things at all.) Rather, these approaches are the invention of the textbook publisher. To blame these things on Common Core, rather than on the textbook publisher, is hardly fair: it’s like blaming a vendor for the way in which his customers use the products that he sells them!

  35. Ryan says:

    Is there anywhere published a list of the dioceses that have signed on to Common Core?

  36. Rachel K says:

    The old adage comes to mind “He who pays the piper calls the tune”.
    I was appalled by the video- nothing less than brainwashing really, especially bad was the ‘dissing’ of parents (” my Mum nags me…”). Isn’t that a communist tactic, setting family members against one another? Destroying the fourth commandment, respect and honour for parents?
    I think it is a bit naive to say that this is just that particular text, not the overall aim of the programme (even that word has communist connotations, why do our children need a “programme”?) For many years I have followed the sex-ed debacle here in the UK and one of the usual tricks is to always speak in the language of emotion- what you feel is the way to decide how to act. Also, pressing the children in the classroom situation to reveal private details of family life, such as personal hygiene of other family members etc. This weakens the bonds of family, children are softened up to talking of intimate things with strangers (see the danger there!) and less inclined to go to Mum or Dad for counsel or guidance (teacher knows best).
    Supertradmum, “Well, my mantra on this blog and my blog has been that the only education a real Catholic parent can give is to be found in home schooling.”
    To quote Evelyn Waugh, I agree, up to a point. As a home educator myself I can see all the advantages of teaching the children at home, but it really is the truth that not every family can do this, for a whole gamut of reasons. We need to support the school system too, even when our children are not in it. I think this is what you are pointing out regarding NAPCIS ( which I looked up, not knowing what it is!) But isn’t this for private schools, does this mean one pays for a place there? Many families can’t afford to pay for a school for their children. I get confused because of course in England ‘public’ schools are private! My husband went to a public school and it cost a fortune! That always makes me laugh!
    Joking aside, our approach to educating children in the faith and with an authentic education overall has to involve both home education and a robust defence of Catholic education and schools in general.
    How do we do this? Parents have to keep the pressure up on schools to deliver the goods. And those of us who are better formed in the faith need to support those parents who are not. The majority of parents want the best things for their children, especially morally, even those with weak or no faith.

  37. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Everybody thinks he or she is an expert at K-12 education. The criticism is all over the place: no accountability for the schools/teachers, too many tests, too few tests, not enough standardization of curriculum, too much standardization of curriculum, overbearing federal interference, not enough oversight of piddly little school districts.”

    The real problem is that nobody is an expert in K-12 education. If they were, there would be an established, reproducible body of empirical data forming the backbone of further development. That such a body of data does not exist puts the lie to there being something like an expert in the field. On the other hand, there is such a database of historical data. We know from having educated millions of people throughout history that there are certain methodologies that are time-tested and well-adapted to the education of young. In fact, one of the graces given to parents in a sacramental marriage is for the education of their children (from the CCC):

    2201 The conjugal community is established upon the consent of the spouses. Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. The love of the spouses and the begetting of children create among members of the same family personal relationships and primordial responsibilities.

    2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.”31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:

    2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

    Obviously, in such a screwed-up society that thinks contraception and homosexuality are natural expressions within a marriage, the basic historical backbone of authentic education is also expected to be screwed-up. The tendency in society is towards the increase in social entropy – a commonalization of all human experience. Common Core is just one more silly manifestation of this. It homogenizes humanity instead of personalizing it. Each person is unique. Common Core says that each person is common.

    Since the time of Socrates and later the Triviuum and the Quadriviuum, we have known how to educate the young. Who was the most perfect moral teachers who ever lived? Obviously, the Holy Family. St. Joseph was a hand-on kinda guy and Mary was his best supporter. Exactly the same way that St. Joseph taught carpentry to his son is all we really need to know about education: you take people where they are, you use great patience, you criticize slowly and praise quickly, you speak carefully, justly, and clearly, you accept failure for a certain time, but most of all, you impart your questions to them, for it is they who will be pushed to find their answers.

    Really, where are the revolts in the streets? Parents have abdicated their responsibilities.

    You want a good common core? Do you, really??

    Then, let men and women marry in the state of grace. There is where your common core is needed. Everything else is just rationalization for its absence.

    Don’t people understand that the marriage of man and woman is like unto the marriage of two minds? If society doesn’t remember how to marry the minds of spouses into a harmonious, living, growing, developing whole, how can they ever expect to pull off the marriage of mind and knowledge in the young?

    Oh, by the way, for all of those people who think they are training kids for college by Common Core, why is it that there is virtually no support (at least none I know of – as if that means anything) for Common Core among the people who will be receiving the product – namely, college professors. We’ve already spoken about the mess in schools and it ain’t pretty:

    I, too recommend John Taylor Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyt (some of whose books can be downloaded for free by googling their names) for a look behind the education machine.

    The Chicken

  38. C N says:

    A couple friends of mine (whose children go to public school and are not Catholic) have complained to me about how their kids’ homework takes twice or three times as long with the new common core curriculum.

    One friend, whose son had a hard time with math already, said his son spends hours drawing pictures of number groups for his CC math, which is required by the teacher and apparently a big teaching method with math common core, and he has even harder of a time understanding the information as before but now it takes longer because he’s focusing on drawing the pictures instead of figuring out the problems. He said he really can’t understand why his son needs to draw pictures for a multiplication problem when the math could be learned with less time wasting the way it was already being taught.
    So, at least us Catholics are not alone in our opposition to Common Core…the secular world is learning that it isn’t benefiting their children either.

  39. Jim R says:

    I’m not surprised at all. I’ve known lawyers who have never read any Shakespeare. I’ve heard businessmen and children for years lament that schools teach things they don’t need. I’ve even heard teachers make the same complaint. Frankly, the society as a whole – not just liberals or conservatives – have not valued education per se for years.

    On poster, above, says we read Huck Finn because it is “fun.” Sounds like an explanation to a disgruntled 9th grade child – who has no thought about it since. No my friend, we read Huck Finn because it is great literature. All modern American literature owes a bit to Huck Finn. Sure it’s a fun read, but so is the comics page. The use of language, the black/white relationship, the descriptions of Mississippi life and the antics of the Duke and Dauphin, and nod to Shakespeare all go to make it great.

    The fact of the matter is, that education for the sake of being educated has been degraded and derided for many many years. Schools teach what society believes is best for society. Society neither wants nor values educated people – who are anything more than technicians. As we all know even the Catholic Church avoids Latin as too hard to learn and too elitist. You are blaming the symptom and not the disease.

    Add all that to the fact that too many teachers are themselves no longer educated and you naturally get Common Cause. For a few years I served on an IRB at a local university. The IRB reviews all human research protocols. Invariably the worst, most useless and ill-conceived studies were from the “School of Education.” Sorry, it’s not a liberal Democratic, Obama-esque plan – it comes from all of us, left, right, GOP, Democrats, Catholics and atheists.

    If you really want to stop it, you need to fight the culture war – not this useless and losing battle.

  40. Jim R says:

    Another symptom – I should have proofed the post above.

  41. Bea says:

    My question, too.

    “Is there anywhere published a list of the dioceses that have signed on to Common Core?”

    Can anybody here direct us to where we can find this list?

  42. wmeyer says:

    Common Core is the current implementation of the theories of John Dewey, which he directed at the goal of producing worker drones. Intelligence is sufficient when it meets the needs of industry, and produces obedient citizens. If you look carefully at the changes in education in the 20th century, you will find Dewey’s fingerprints everywhere. The idiocy of Dick, Jane, and Spot, which I suffered in grade school replaced the excellent McGuffey’s Readers. (The latter are in reprint, and I submit that many college grads will find volume 6 a challenge, though the readers were the foundation of reading instruction in one-room schools.)

    I have a niece who received her entire pre-college education in Catholic schools, yet believes that it is a matter of conscience which teachings she will practice. Common Core is the current illness, but it is far from being the first.

  43. mamajen says:

    I think this (found by way of the link that Robertus Pittsburghensis posted) is worth a read:

    But then, I’m a little biased. As someone who is neglecting her parenting duties by sending her 5-year-old to public school so she can take care of his infant brother and help provide for the needs of her family, I will say that I have no problem with our actual experience of Common Core so far. In fact, I like it (as it is done at our school). Your mileage may vary.

    I am not here to “sell” Common Core, I just hope that other parents in a similar situation to my own don’t beat themselves up or worry excessively–that will only impede your ability to do the best you can under the circumstances you have to deal with.

  44. The Masked Chicken says:

    Nice new avatar, mamajen.

    Why do we need the public schools, anyway, to tell us how to educate our children? The federal government (and state, for that matter) has appropriated a right to itself it does not have. Who cares what the Fed thinks your child should be learning. Their right (not their power, mind you) does not reside in Natural Law. We have let them take it. I mean, if you want to teach your kid n-dimensional differential forms in Hilbert space, what right do they have to stop you? If you want to teach your kid hylomorphism in regards to the Esse question, will they arrest you and send you to jail? Suppose I could teach your kid math better than his public school teacher. Should not the marketplace dictate that I get your money? What’s so special about cramming 30 kids together in a room to learn the same things? Really, teach them to read and then send them into a library (with snacks) for a week. When they come out, they will know what they want to do in life.

    These and other subversive suggestions may be found in my new book, How Many Apples are in a Common Core, by Galliform Press.

    The Chicken

  45. Rachel K says:

    Dear Chicken,
    Great comments! The first is very moving and the second profound but humourous!
    Now I am off to find some Charlotte Iserbyt to read, thanks for sharing that name.

  46. mamajen says:

    Thank you, Chicken.

    Parents can’t participate in the marketplace if they don’t have money. That’s where federal, state and local governments exert their control. There are certainly too many parents who think their work is done once they get their kid on the school bus in the morning, but I think most would jump at the opportunity to take advantage of a better educational environment if they had the means. Taxation and policies that increase cost of living are disabling.

    That said, there are people who do have the money, and it’s just stunning to me that private schools would so quickly jump on board with something that is almost universally hated, when they could be marketing themselves as an alternative.

    Yes, every parent has a right (and a duty) to educate at home, whether they use public school, a diocesan school, a NAPCIS school, ready-made homeschool curriculum, whatever. None of us can cede all our responsibility to another person and assume our work is done.

  47. Austin Catholic: “I ‘m waiting for the commenters to somehow blame this on Obama….”

    As a matter of historical record, the official adoption of the Common Core standards by states, at least in mine, is indeed due in large part to insistence by the Obama administration. As a local high school student recently put it in a 5-minuteYoutube-viral statement to our school board,

    “The president essentially bribed states into implementation via ‘Race to the Top,’ offering $4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, $500 million of which went to Tennessee,” Young said. “And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked really well the first time.”

    TN Student Speaks Out About Common Core

  48. Johnno says:

    Communist Core Education is just a few steps removed from the inevitable outcome where BS Genetic testing of your children will determine what they will be for the rest of their lives. All for the good of the efficient working State. The government is going to make your career choices for you based on your predisposed aptitudes and that will determine your ‘class.’ Since they can decide how many of you will get to live or die (to better redistribute the planet’s wealth, land area and food of course), you can be certain that the State who is now the de facto legal parent will raise the future generation to obey and be whatever they tell them to be. Anyone here who’s in the mood for a good film, I recommend renting one called ‘Gattaca.’

  49. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    Hi Lin,

    You said, “Effective rhetoric … has been taught in our universities for over two generations is why we have this culture of death administration today.” If only effective rhetoric were taught to college students, then they would not be such dupes. They would recognize that what sold them the culture of death is mere emotionalism, and not logic and reason.

    I was blessed by a father who taught me rhetoric at a young age (though not so young as the readers of the books described in the video above). It empowered me to become a curmudgeon when I was still in my teens. I received no other exposure to rhetoric until I reached college and took an elective course. There were 20 of us in that course, the only such course at my big state university of 40,000 students.

    Will teaching rhetoric to first and second graders be effective? I don’t know. It strikes me as a bit ambitious. I’m very surprised, and a bit skeptical, to see it being attempted. But if it works, then I will be delighted!

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