Common Core: A Threat to Catholic Education

Cross in Catholic School

Editor’s note: The following letter by Eagle Forum president, Phyllis Schlafly, was mailed this month to key members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States concerning the implementation of the Common Core education standards in public and private schools, including Catholic schools. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

Your Excellency,

I write today to share with you our significant concerns about a troubling development in our Catholic schools and to seek your prayerful guidance about this issue.

Under the guise of reforming the nation’s failing public schools, President Obama’s Department of Education offered states $4.35 billion in stimulus funds in a grant competition called Race to the Top in 2010.  In order to compete for the funds, let alone receive them, states had to agree to adhere to the only set of national academic standards then under development by a private organization funded largely by Bill Gates.

Governors of cash-strapped states were only too eager for the opportunity to supplement their budgets regardless of the quality of the standards.  In fact, the standards were not even completed until after the grant applications were due.  As a further inducement to apply for the funds, states were offered waivers of the Bush era No Child Left Behind law and were also warned that failure to adopt the new standards could cost poor districts their Title 1 funds.  One must wonder why allegedly superior academic standards necessitated such underhanded tactics.

The new national standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts, called Common Core, were adopted by forty-five states giving an appearance of national unanimity.  This facade crumbles once you know the standards were approved not by the people of these 45 states or their elected representatives but by governors and state boards of education officials.  Neither the state legislatures nor the voters ever knew about this radical change in their children’s education until this spring (more than two years after they were adopted).

As the standards began to be implemented during the 2012-2013 school year parents noticed disturbing changes in homework, textbooks, and tests.  Suddenly, Euclidian geometry was displaced, children were instructed to add in columns from left to right, and “conceptual” math replaced fundamentals.  In language arts, “close reading” strategies forced students to read texts “in a vacuum” or without the encumbrance of what was deemed “privileged information.” Furthermore, classical literature was dramatically reduced in favor of reading “informational texts” like computer manuals.  The stated goal of the new standards, in both Math and English, is to make students “college and career ready” by focusing on “21st century skills.”

Although Common Core was designed specifically to address public school failings, the standards are impacting Catholic schools as well.  Many Catholic schools have decided to adopt the Common Core in a misguided attempt to remain “competitive.”  This rationale makes little sense as Catholic schools have long enjoyed a superior academic record to the public schools. This is due not only to a faith-filled learning environment and the dedication of good teachers but because they have had the freedom to employ time-honored teaching methods only sporadically seen in the public schools. With a tradition that includes Cardinal Newman, St. Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas why would we ever consider adopting the latest public school fad in education?

Catholic educators who propose to “adapt” the Common Core to the Catholic model forget the purpose of Catholic education.  The mission of the Catholic school is to prepare students for eternal life with God while its secondary goal is to prepare them for temporal work.  They accomplish this by pursuing Truth and by seeking to acquire Knowledge for its own sake.  In contrast, the goal of Common Core is the narrow training of students to become mere functionaries educated solely for earthly success.  Catholic educators should be leery of any standards that create automatons rather than humane individuals.

In the United States, Christians in general and the Catholic Church in particular have been under siege over the past five years.  In light of the HHS mandate, the IRS targeting of faith organizations, the active promotion of gay marriage, and other federal efforts designed to dismantle moral society we cannot remain complacent as this administration takes aim at our children.  Just a few weeks ago the president condemned Catholic education in Ireland calling it “divisive.”  Evil is dangerously palatable when hidden in the stew of “good intentions,” and the Church should be particularly cautious about accepting anything at face value from this federal government.  Clear Church teaching on the principle of subsidiarity demands that we guard jealously the local control of our children’s education.

Thus far, only math and language arts standards have been introduced.  We shudder to think of the challenges to the faith that will be posed when the standards for social studies, history, science, and health are released. Because it is impossible to totally remove personal bias and opinion from the development of any set of standards, and because we understand that standards drive curriculum, we must be especially vigilant in examining new standards before they are implemented by our schools.

In addition to a long list of academic worries with Common Core we have additional privacy concerns related to the onerous data collection requirements that are part of the system. The idea behind the federal data collection mandate is to track students from pre-school through their careers so as to determine whether the standards are succeeding in making students “career ready.” While the initial goal may be laudable, there are serious concerns about maintaining the privacy of minors. The federal government has proposed gathering over 400 personally identifiable data points on each student, and whereas that information could have previously been considered “safe,” the federal government’s changes to FERPA in January, 2012 now make it possible for school officials to share private data without parental consent. Once unscrupulous school officials realize they can sell private data to the highest bidder all privacy will be in jeopardy.

The threat posed by Common Core to the Catholic schools comes as they struggle to compete against public charter schools, home schooling, and other innovative models of education. Sadly, Catholic Schools can no longer count on welcoming the children of the parish as many parishioners no longer feel obligated to send their children to parochial schools. As our Catholic schools search for ways to attract new students, they would do well to reject the servile training model of the public schools rather than seeking to imitate it.

My humble request is that you investigate the dangers of Common Core to Catholic education.  Please consider the concerns of a growing number of parents around the country.  More than a dozen state legislatures have now taken some action to review, defund, or repeal Common Core now that parents and legislators have learned the details of this program.  In April, Indiana became the first state to suspend Common Core led by the efforts of two Catholic school mothers.  Your sheep ask for the protection of their shepherd. Your sheep are asking to be fed. The laity needs to hear from the bishops on this very important issue.

Phyllis Schlafly

By

Phyllis Schlafly is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington University, received her J.D. from Washington University Law School, and received her Master's in Political Science from Harvard University. She has been awarded honorary degrees by Washington University/St. Louis and Franciscan University of Steubenville. The author of more than 20 books, Mrs. Schlafly is America's best-known advocate of the dignity and honor that we as a society owe to the role of fulltime homemaker. She is the founder and president of Eagle Forum.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Quite a courageous woman; she sets an example for our bishops.

    I do take exception to one thing in this otherwise fine piece. Phyllis says, “The mission of the Catholic school is to prepare students for eternal life with God while its secondary goal is to prepare them for temporal work.” The third goal of all Catholic schools should be: “To catechize in the Catholic faith and prepare for a lifelong ministry of evangelizing the culture.” Why do we continue to neglect the very mission of the Church?

    • Dick Prudlo

      Phyllis has it completely right, and can not send a tome as a letter including all that schools must do. Further, and I know you noticed, the Church has for sometime now been practicing what can only be called indifference toward doctrine and evangelizing is something that was done in the bad old days. It is as dry as your grandfather’s scalp. When it is all said and done only a handful of bishops will take Mrs. Schlaffy’s suggestions.

      Your question of “why do we continue to neglect ………Church?” can be a simple answer. Look at the state of our church’s interior and note all the small traditions that are no longer there to remind us of the big traditions they were there to support. May God bless you, Deacon

    • scragsma

      I think that would be redundant. Doesn’t ‘preparing students for eternal life with God’ include ‘catechizing in the Catholic faith’, etc.?

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        You’ve missed the emphasis on evangelization. Catholics are notoriously poor on proclaiming the Gospel message.

        • TraditionalMom

          Pope Francis I seems to be reminding us of The Great Commission

        • Slainte

          Those who have not been properly catechized should not be held responsible for failing to teach what they themselves do not fully understand.

    • yais

      What eveidence you have that “prepare students for eternal life with God” and “catechize in the Catholic faith and prepare for a lifelong ministry of evangelizing the culture.” are mutually exclusive or that the author believes this?

  • poetcomic1

    I think Catholic schools who use Common Whore should remove the crucifix from the classroom and replace it with a smiling picture of Bill Gates.

    • lifeknight

      That is probably already happening.

      • Adam__Baum

        Is CC present at G-town, they covered up their Crucifixes in order to have a visit from mein fuh, er I mean dear leader.

        • Menschenrechte

          Actually it is “Führer” or “Fuehrer” if the umlaut (the two
          little dots) is not available. Otherwise, I think the comparison is apt. You might be interested in the canon law suit
          against Georgetown, which is further described here: http://www.gupetition.org/

    • Bonnie

      great thought

  • Bill

    Ms. Schlafly has made some good points. We should be careful about any wholesale change to the educational system. However, she has made several charges here without providing any proof. Before I would object to the Common Core, I would need some “meat to be put on the bones”

    • Ohioans Against CCSS
    • Kate

      You might do a bit of research. I shared a couple of articles with a friend this week regarding this concern and without the extensive footnotes, the articles were 58 pages, so the evidence is available with a bit of reading. Seems in the letter that she was identifying bullet points since the threats are multiple and take a few minutes to expand upon individually. I hope the links work, but search for the titles if they don’t and you want to understand this distressing attack on the children; tomorrows voters. To give you a perspective, Common Core caught the attention of parents at our Catholic School this spring and Kansas narrowly suspended implementation at the state level by two votes in the House in late spring (of course the issue will need to continue in the next session). The implementation of this curriculum has been years in the planning. Now marketing is heavy within the education system who must sell this product to parents. The marketing must justify and distract from the dark objectives denied by the well intentioned educations implementing it. It is not a new threat as seen in laws made 50 years ago to prevent federal control of schools, but diligence is necessary since the many attacks on religious freedom and our Constitution are blatant and unrepentant with this current administration. Hope you do a bit of research and most importantly in any discussion, seek understanding according to God’s Will.

      Controlling Education from the top, Why Common Core is bad for America by the Pioneer Institute by Emmett McGroarty

      http://pioneerinstitute.org/education/controlling-education-from-the-top-why-common-core-is-bad-for-america/

      Catholic Children in Grave Danger; a report on Common Core in Catholic Schools
      http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/6902/246995915/name/CCCS

    • Bill Alexy

      I agree, I’d like to know more about the math program for instance, however it’s not hard to find information on the reading lists offered by Common Core curricula, a quick Google search will turn that up. I find her criticism of the the literature to be well founded and fair.

      The privacy issues are real and the only real reason why the government would need that data in the first place is if parents subjugate their duty to make the best educational decisions for their children to the state. The state’s goals are often very different from parents’ therefore they would be using difference reference points to measure their child’s success, some not so easily collected in 400 data points. What the state deems as failure may be quite different from a parent’s perspective. How is the state measuring virtue and character? Are we raising career minded milquetoasts?

      Taking money from a large private donor comes at a high cost. Bill Gates wants to shape things according to his own prerogatives. Look at how his money is affecting social change in Africa. The money isn’t given to people for them to become a self-determined community, it’s given to them to change their behavior, for better or for worse.

      There are many things we don’t know about Common Core and that’s part of the problem. Like many others I have grave concerns about making my children part of another sweeping social experiment especially since the it has gained so much momentum with little scrutiny.

    • Steven Jonathan

      Bill, might I suggest that you refer to people who know about Common Core? There are links provided here that prove far beyond a reasonable doubt that the CCS are dreadful- If you are not convinced by what is here, you may never be. From my experience and research, which is not terribly expansive, but puts me inside the line of those who might know, CCS from start to finish, from top to bottom, inside and out is corrupted beyond all repair. What happens now with standards based curriculums is an insult to humanity and a moral crime against our children for which there will be hell to pay. Most people are unaware of it, but I assure you, if you acquire an understanding of the Christological Anthropology, learn a little bit about pedagogy as the 2000 year western tradition would have it and compare those to the Common Core Standards, you would be running for the hills with your children in tow to keep them out of the grips of this horrid curriculum.

  • Ohioans Against CCSS

    The Catholic CHURCH, members true to the faith, must stand up to the destruction being levied upon Christian education through Common Core. Didn’t Obamacare teach us that the government cannot be trusted to protect our religious freedom? This is why the Church is shrinking, a watered down gospel and false belief in a benevolent government.

    http://ohioansagainstcommoncore.com/2013/08/catholic-school-parents-your-revolt-is-way-overdue/

  • hombre111

    Mmm… This article should have excited your curiosity about Common Core and what it is all about. You have some Google work to do. I spent a few moments online, looking at the larger picture and then at the way CC will be applied in my own state. If Phi Beta Kappa graduate Phyllis had received a real education, which teaches us how to think, she would invite her readers to put in the work and try to get some sort of grasp about the subject before you buy her opinion. If the bishops are not too busy dodging the next sex abuse discoveries, they should put intelligent people on their staff onto the same kind of study and then wait for a full report.

    • Adam__Baum

      And your credentials are?

      • mikehorn

        From his comment, I’m guessing better than Ms. Schlafly’s. She is one of the charlatans that a better understanding of statistics and modeling would keep people from being duped by some of her previous claims. She is one of the charlatans that get away with it because some don’t know as much math as they should.

      • hombre111

        Basically, intellectual curiosity. When somebody waxes eloquent on something, Google is handy to check things out, and I start from there.

        • Alecto

          Translation: When a woman puts forth any proposition with which I disagree, I find ways to diminish her because underneath all my false piety lies a misogynist.

          No one considers Google a reliable source!

          • IntellectGetOne

            Wow, playing the misogynist card? Let me guess, either a public education or a flaming liberal?

            I don’t agree with hombre111 either, but I would never support someones stooping so low as to brandish them a misogynist because he attacks an argument.

            That’s a very low blow and one I have always seen done by liberals (You don’t like how much Obama is spending! You are a racist!!!) or by a student of public education (I failed my test! My teacher hates (fill in the blank).

            • Alecto

              Far from a liberal, and I stand by my comment.

              • IntellectGetOne

                You cannot be far from a liberal when you call someone who is posting a counter-argument a name instead of directly addressing their argument.

                You sir/madam are using liberal tactics. Own it.

                • Alecto

                  No arguing with an intellectual deficient.

                  • IntellectGetOne

                    LOL, why am I not surprised that you resort to calling ME names now?

                    Really, how immature. I think the last time I had a debate with a TWO year old, they could hold their own better than you do.

                    You somehow feel that calling people names must make you a bigger person. Nothing could be more untrue. Your constant name calling is a sign of immaturity.

                    Grow up. Start addressing issues. Win arguments based on your points, not your derisive name-calling tactics.

                    I’m sure your spouse would appreciate it (so, probably would your children). I wonder what names you have called them in your past?

                    I find your name calling to be despicable. But, knowing you, you will not address my issue, just turn around and call me another name.

                    i really do feel bad for your spouse and children. I’ve seen people like you do that to their own family and it is shameful.

    • Alecto

      Phyllis spear-headed the effort which ultimately defeated the misnamed “Equal Rights” Amendment. Underestimate her abilities at your peril!

    • davend

      Yes, good idea to find out specifically what’s going on in your own state and your own school. Mrs. Schlafly has been involved in some pretty strange projects over time, including financing her son’s efforts to re-write parts of the Bible:

      http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2009/10/19/Conservative-to-reinterpret-the-Bible/UPI-87501255961095/

      …so I wouldn’t assume she necessarily knows what’s she talking about; but it’s certainly worth checking into.

      The best educational advice hasn’t changed: “do your homework.” No one is forcing the Catholic Church (or the states for that matter) to adopt these standards as far as I know.

    • RenoParent
      • hombre111

        I started my research by googling “common core.”

  • jerry

    On her comments that “Sadly, Catholic Schools can no longer count on welcoming the children of
    the parish as many parishioners no longer feel obligated to send their
    children to parochial schools,” should be changed to can’t afford to send their children to Catholic schools.

    Catholic education in the U.S. comes at a cost (in our diocese) of about $5000 plus an asessment of another $850 for the new high school per primary school student. Given these numbers, you have to be in the upper middle class to avail yourself of a Catholic education, as I know from past experience. Try carving out +/- $12,000 out of a dual income household or a single income. The days of a parish heavily subsidizing their Parish school are ancient history.
    As far as the “Common Core” is concerned, I don’t see the problem here other than it’s another example of Conservative Zealots runinng in circles viewing with alarm and noting with concern.

    • jen

      Amen about the rising price. With four kids we are barely scraping by to send them to Catholic school. $17K+ a year. We have six feeder churches and we still have to pay basically full price for each of our kids because the subsidies from the parishes are close to nil. No tiered tuition costs for multiple kids like they had when I was growing up.

      I disagree with you on the Common Core curriculum though. It is ludicrous.

    • Ham

      Cost is too high. But we should be leary of following a set of standards just because the govt says so. It is clear they are not out for protecting Catholic interests. Look at what is happening in Canada. It is foolish to think there will not be an attempt to indoctrinate our children.

    • LarryCicero

      How much does your public school spend per student? You can be sure it is more than $5000. I don’t understand why the bishops are afraid of a voucher. I pulled my kids out of the parish school because they hire teachers from low tier schools with no experience to keep costs down. In the last two years they have had around half of the teachers (17) leave. The schools are are closing because they are in the red. The more they raise tuition, the more families leave. The problem is not that parents don’t feel obligated to go to the parish school, but from my experience, it is that they don’t feel obligated to go to mass. The kids went to one mass per week, and I heard from some parents that since the kids went during the week, Sunday was not necessary.

    • skepticalways

      Jerry, you “don’t see the problem” because (1) you want the government creating little worker drones who report on their parents (2) you haven’t done your opposition research. EVERYONE who studies this sees the progressive flaws of “top-down” control with NO recourse if parents don’t approve of it!

  • Bonnie

    Why oh why have our Bishops adopted Common Core? Just as they support the Campaign for Human Development in spite of all the proof that it gives to organizations who work to undermine or dissent from Catholic teaching.
    A little investigation into the Common Core and its promoter Bill Gates should have raised red flags.The Gates Foundation is well known for opposition to the Catholic Faith and funding programs that are contrary to the faith.Children are the innocent victims to the values taught in Common Core. The Bishops are supposed to protect the most innocent not adapt to a society that would take that innocence away. Bishops wear red to remind them that they must shed their blood to defend the faith if called to do so.

    Just wait till Common Core develops standards for the LGBT curriculum- then what !

  • Alecto

    The purpose of Common Core provides the basis for rejecting it: to federalize education standards and thereby control all of it. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    • Nani

      Common Core is being tied to the SAT and ACT. If your child is home schooled or in a private school that is smart enough not to sign on to CC, s/he will be at a disadvantage when it comes time to take those tests for college because s/he will not have been brainwashed with the ‘progressive’ propaganda. Follow the money. It’s always about money. Look what happened to so many of our so-called catholic colleges and university. Washington dangles the green carrots and even Catholics will succumb to the temptation to sell out for the almighty green, bishops included.

      • RenoParent

        Sad but true

      • Lrogers

        I disagree to an extent about the tests. If you raise the standards then any child who has learned the facts can pass the tests because the tests will be so watered down. This whole process is meant to dumb down our kids. We have to make it easy for everyone to pass. This not only produces a false sense for your weaker student but it does not challenge your stronger student. This is all about government control, which is the goal of our current president. Our kids will not only not be ignorant of the catechism but just ignorant in general!!! This has to be stopped. We are America!! Our standards should rise above everyone’s!

    • JJR for the way

      Very good point I agree In neon- BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!!!!

  • Tony

    I have written about this brew of evil and stupidity at Front Porch Republic. It is even worse than Mrs. Schlafly has said, because in fact there is now a “history” component, called “Big History,” which is big on the big but not on the history. It’s an undisciplined mélange of cosmology, anthropology, and (some) history, told through a severely prejudiced point of view that excludes the Middle Ages and the Church (except when the Church does something bad). I know a lot of young people, faithful Catholics, who teeter between homeschooling and sending their kids to parochial schools. These are exactly the kinds of parents who would be the pillars of an excellent parish school — and if, my reverend bishops, you adopt these “standards,” you can bid them farewell. I cannot believe that you would be so foolish as to allow people who despise the Church and who dismiss the importance of the humanities (especially imaginative literature) to write standards for your schools. Bishops — why don’t you ever lead us? Why do faithful Catholics always have to be frustrated by your naivete or your inattention?

  • Pete

    We are in this sad state of affairs because our Bishops are out playing golf or sitting in chancery looking at sit-comes on TV.
    This is why Mass attendance is at an all-time low and along with Catholic school numbers. Obviously our Bishops, with very few, few exemptions are MIA, missing in action.
    The true Mass and the real sacraments have been replaced with Protestant look-a-likes and the catechism is not being taught. This has been going on for the past 40 years and this is where it has brought us to.

    • IntellectGetOne

      and where were you peter? out fishing I suppose?

    • brendankiwi

      When the parish and church tries its hardest to look protestant, it simplify becomes second rate. Why would you go to a catholic ‘protestant’ church when you can go to a protestant church and experience the ‘real’ thing.

      If you want to be there, at the foot of the cross, you want to shake off all the dust of the world. Away with ye vernacular tongue, modernist lyrics and pop tunes….it distracts you from God and takes you back immersed in the world which you tried to escape for a brief with the almighty.

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  • homeschool mom of 11

    If the Catholic schools wish to attract more students, perhaps they should consider returning to truly authentic Catholicism. I sent my children to the local diocesan school and ran from it after the first semester. The Catholicism was terribly flawed and I could not bear my children being there. We returned to home schooling, not because I wanted to, but because it was the only way to give my children a truly Catholic education.

  • brendankiwi

    Thanks to a fine ‘new age’ of catholic education 12 of my class of 24 became atheists, 3 agnostics, 3 became Bhuddists. 4 became evangelical fundamentalists. and the rest offer no consolation. 2 committed suicide. 2 have died of cancer, but neither were practicing. That leaves me, a poor sinner, but well educated despite my ‘formal catholic education.’ If Catholic education were a business, it would be a model of what NOT to do, and surely the biggest disaster-business enterprise ever in all history of humanity. Its time to do what Pope Francis says and give it a BIG SHAKE UP!

    • IntellectGetOne

      I understand your frustration with your classmates, but let us not attribute a deeply personal decision to someone outside the person making the decision.

      Again, I understand you point, but there is no need to pass the buck from those student’s personal decisions and actions to their Catholic education.

      • brendankiwi

        No, I feel frustration at the ‘catechists’, supported by the parish and bishops. My classmates made decisions based on what was put in front of them. I had a clay mould and was told to shape my god… go check out the living light series from the 70s. Today nearly all catholic schools are taught the plurality of religions and equality of all belief system. They have rejected what they believe to be the catholic faith. Of course they have made the right choice, the dala lama offends less than an idiot trendy priest. A bhuddist exercise is more useful than a new age spiritual ‘catholic’ retreat. Many of the evangelicals are more true to catholicism (eg pro life) than liberal ‘catholics’ (ask the Brazillians). Many atheists are truer and less hypocritical to their creed than the catholic example served up at the schools.

        • IntellectGetOne

          Your points are accurate and I do not disagree with your supporting evidence. I only point out that your conclusion is inappropriate.

          Let me take apart the argument:

          1) Paraphrasing here, but something like: “My fellow classmates were all taught lousy catechism.” On this we agree.

          2) Those same fellow classmates turned away from the faith or made otherwise terrible decisions (suicide). Again, on this I take your word.

          3) Number one above, CAUSED number two above. Here is where your conclusion is wrong.

          It is wrong because each of us has freewill. Each of us have various inputs/experiences and foundations that we draw upon to make our own freewill decisions.

          When we attempt to place our decisions on others then we actually deny our freewill.

          Now, I know you are probably shaking your head saying I’m not getting it. But I would only point out that in your class, there were ALSO people like you. You did not turn away from the church. You did not make terrible decisions.

          If I ask you: “Why was it that YOU didn’t follow the same path as them?” the answer is exactly my point. I am betting you would say something like: “Because I chose to believe in God. I found other people or other sources of faith. I followed those.

          You see the point? You aren’t telling me that “the lousy catechism” you learned “turned you toward the faith”; but you are are saying “the lousy cathechism” they learned “turned them away from the faith.”

          This is not a minor point in your life. Nor is it a minor point in their lives.

          To be sure the catechism was lousy. I’m not disputing that. But God gave you freewill and you chose to use it for the good of your soul. God gave them freewill and they chose not to.

          You both were exposed to the same catechism. You can either claim the lousy catechism saved you and hurt them (totally illogical) or you can claim the lousy catechism was lousy catechism; but after that God still provides you with freewill to make your own choice.

          • brendankiwi

            How is it freewill ? They are groomed in the first place by “positive pyscho babble” “Crystal Gazing and new age paraphenalia” and Hanz Kung and Reiner hogwash. And when that doesn’t work, they pick up on another idea. The parents, ignorant and trusting, and often weak in the faith, empowered the school. My classmates never rejected the faith, and largely just reject what they believed what the catholic faith.

            Your idea of freewill presupposes that we all give perfect consent at any age. Nothing can be further from the truth. When I talk to them now, some of them are pleasantly surprised in my presentation of the catholic faith, a God almighty, unchanging and incarnate in Jesus. They just had no idea.

            We don’t draw on mere experience to make freewill decisions. I begin with the sold ground of principle. If you begin with experience… you will not be on solid ground. This kind of theology is part and parcel of the problem of 70s ‘catholic’ education.

            Imagine a car sales for Mercedes talking of his cars as though they were all cheap citreons. You want the best so you would walk away. They never rejected Mercedes, they just were led to believe that under that bonnet was a small clutterbox citreon engine.

            • IntellectGetOne

              Again, you are criticizing the catechism. I’m not arguing against or for that.

              You are stating that if you are exposed to that, you lose your freewill and are subjugated to the will of those who taught you lousy catechism.

              And then you point out that while YOU were taught the same thing, you didn’t abide by it (freewill at work!).

              You are angry about the catechism and I grant it to you. Yet, you continue to repeat that argument over and over. Even though I granted that part of your discussion in the very first reply.

              What I keep repeating, and what you keep ignoring, is that individuals have freewill to make their decisions. You seem to deny your very own act freewill to reject the catechism.

              That was my last attempt. Otherwise, I give up. You simply are not open to reason and have an axe to grind about catechism.

              • brendankiwi

                no, actually i was well educated despite my formal “catholic” education. My parents were very counter culture.

                I feel a sympathy towards the victims of abuse from modernist “catechists.” We were young then, and trusting. We depended on our counsel. Later on the false theology was found seriously wanting. I saw them confused, lost identity, wandering, searching for solid ground.

                Children do have free will within their capacity.There is another important point that I think you miss. Man, by nature, has free will, granted. It is also the case that man, by nature, takes some time to get to the point where his will is truly free and informed, and thus is capable of sin. And there are obvious deficiencies in which a man may never be able to exercise free will,

                The teaching faculty who were decidedly anti-catholic knew this on some level and took advantage to employ strategies that undermine their capacity to be free. Brain washing new age ideas were employed. They also used group manipulation, brain numbing music.

                Some of these methods have fallen away. I know this as a teacher in numerous catholic schools. Now they use the civil law and education department (OFSTED, ERA) , the philosophy behind the pluralistic religious study programme, anti family groups (like Marie Stope Abortion counsellors) or Stone Wall. And when the boys don’t know that their purpose for life is to be a father, a loving husband, a leader within society because it was never taught to them, who can be blamed?

                • IntellectGetOne

                  Thank you for discussing freewill.

                  I appreciate that you feel a child’s freewill is not developed.

                  However, your classmate who committed suicide? Did he do it as a child? Or as an adult?

                  The argument you are making is clear: As a child, if your education is corrupted, your freewill is impaired as an adult.

                  This is a very disturbing thought, but also a very popular one.

                  I have yet to meet an adult who believes that applies to themselves. I ask adults all the time: “What is the foundation of your belief?” And I have never had an adult tell me it was drilled into them as a child. Every adult tells me their faith (whatever it is, including aethiesm) is something they readily make as their own decision.

                  Now, having said that, every single adult cites specific inputs to their decision: Parents, priests, books, movies, experiences, etc. But not one has ever, and I mean ever, told me that their decision was made by someone else.

                  You, sir/madam, are the first one to ever claim that you did not willingly decide to be faithful. That it was not your decision, but your parents and you have never, and it appears, will never make the decision for yourself.

                  Am I wrong? Have you made your own decision? Can you specifically state that you, based on your inputs of your own life, have made your decision?

                  Then, if that is the case — and as I mentioned, it ALWAYS is — how can you tell me that someone else never really made their decision?

                  Freewill is free. God gave it to us. To deny it, is a sin against God.

                  Sorry, there is no other way to say it.

                  • Lrogers

                    The ultimate problem is with all Catholics. We as Catholics each individually need to do better. Everyone should read Matthew Kelly’s book rediscover Catholicism. We are each responsible for the fate of the church.

                    • IntellectGetOne

                      We are also each responsible for our own fate.

                      We have no disagreement — Catholics (like every other human) have obligations toward knowledge and truth.

            • ME

              Because they never took any action to dig deeper into what they did learn, you cannot blame it entirely on the teaching. Yes, a bad foundation, makes it harder, but that none took any initiative to see if there was anymore to it is not an excuse

    • Barbaracvm

      My older daughter went to Catholic schools 1 thru 12 grade. She and a large number of her classmates have fallen away from the church; actually more like RUN.
      They did not have religion class. If they ran short of time for special events religion class was cut. In high school there was NO Catholic religion class during the four years.

      YET it was mandatory they take competitive religion class. $4,000 a year and no religion class during the regular class schedule and there was no study hall class time.

      It was expected they attend the parish religion class in the evening.
      Evening religion class was a joke. My younger daughter attended these classes. She went to the public school. She was disgusted because the seminarian would not answer her questions about GOD and the saints. She told me what her questions were and they were good questions; they were not gotcha questions.

      • Clare Krishan

        Q: did you perhaps mean “comparative” religion, the study of how the religious sense is expressed in other cultures and traditions? Here’s what Christopher Dawson has to say on that topic

        http://catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0097.html

        [IMHO a perfectly orthodox approach for a Catholic teenager to take to intellectually explore full human 'development' theologically-speaking. Assumes of course familiarity with one's own tradition, but nevertheless sympathetic comparisons -- as opposed to antagonistic 'comnpetition' -- permit us to humbly acknowledge the workings of the Divine Mysteries in every human heart especially those never blessed with the gift of sanctifying grace, no? What some of those cultures attained with so little should put our own -- who were given so much and squandered it -- to shame! To scoff at them is to scoff at their Creator... ]

  • John Ritter

    She was not the 1992 Illinois Mother of the Year, my Mom was. ;-)

  • Lowen_Lowen

    In Hawaii the Catholic Schools have fully embraced Common Core compelling us to remove our children from the Catholic school system.
    The thing that bothers me most about CC is the relativist morality that they will be teaching. It guts our God given sense of right and wrong. Here’s an example:
    Do you have a house?
    Yes.
    How big is your house?
    3,000 sq.ft.
    Are you using all of it?
    No.
    We don’t have a house. We need one. We should be entitled to a house.
    Oh really?
    We are entitled to use the part of the house that you are not using. Its only fair.
    (now substitute clothing, healthcare, food, school, for “house”) and you have a complete breakdown of civil society.

    I don’t remember any announcement about the curriculum change to CC. I confirmed it by searching Google for articles about the school and common core. The Catholic school officials and a high ranking Catholic official were pictured showing the Big Island of Hawaii schools how to implement their computer based Common Core curriculum. I decided to remove my children from that school immediately.

    My children learned to red without being taught what vowels and consonants are. I had to teach them myself.

    I watch their reading assignments very carefully because they are peppered with a leftist bias which is repugnant to our western civilization and clearly designed to destroy it. I read selections for the High School literature program stating that Christianity is bad, Allah is good. For this, search Texas Common Core.

    Questions:
    1. Why do Catholic voters vote for liberal candidates
    2. Why does the Catholic Church allow itself to be infiltrated with liberal priests and nuns; and liberal appearing staff all the way to the top.
    ACTION: When will you weed out these individuals that are repugnant to all the Catholic values?
    it might hurt at first, but out moral values have been developed over centuries of anarchy and have blossumed into the culture and mores that we enjoy today.
    The leftist “religion” is the CC and the associated breakdown of our western civilization for whatever reason and they need to be stopped. Stopping this attack within the Catholic Church is a good start.

    • brendankiwi

      Good news. There are many large catholic families dropping seeds all over the place. One of them with God’s grace
      can undo the damage wrought by 100 enemy ‘catechists’

      …and it is happening.

  • mikehorn

    After doing some studying on Common Core, in the mathematics section, I have to dispute that there is anything fundamentally wrong with it. They still have a fairly standard track that leads to calculus and higher level math applicable to science and engineering degrees after high school. But they also added in modeling and statistics, both sorely lacking in my education 20+ years ago except as after-finals add ins by some great public school teachers. Modeling and statistics are vital in our modern world to understand the policy disputes of the day, as well as some of the groundbreaking work being done across all scientific and engineering disciplines. I can only thank Bill Gates for adding those two in. A basic introduction to statistics and how the math works there can prove vital to anyone wishing to avoid bogus claims by companies trying to sell you something and charlatans begging you to give them money.
    .
    I’ll keep reading up on it. It looks promising. Hopefully they added in some basic economics, like how credit scores work and hammer home the concept of compound interest.

  • Jon82

    I thought this crazy woman died! Eternal rest–soon. Education reform is healthy, even for Catholic Schools. How’s your gay son Phyllis?

  • Daniel Vanderheyden UK

    How can you talk about morality when the world is aware of the monstruosity of the catholic church.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      I am wondering why important people like you who hate the Catholic Church would spend their valuable time on a blog concerning the Catholic Church.

    • John200

      Dear Daniel,

      Thank you for inviting me to give you some truth. It is necessary to talk about morality in order to make the world aware of the monstrous dangers of paganism, and of the good of the Catholic Church.

      Men are forgetful. If we had better memories, and if we taught the truth to our own children, this would not be necessary.

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  • http://22Catholic.com/ Matthew P. Schneider, LC

    I think one of the aspects that is missing in this and many education programs is adapting to the individual student. I was bored stiff in many school classes while others struggled to keep up. My family is smart but I grew up in a lower-middle class area.
    I think Alberta (a Canadian province) and Finland offer a model. They have been #1 & 2 in PISA testing. Yet look at them and you will find some of the most diverse systems of education ever. Alberta has set tests at grades 3, 6, 9, and 12 but offers parents more schooling options than just about anywhere: public funding for public, Catholic, Charter (be it Montesori, back to basics, protestant or anything that meets criteria), virtual, and home schooling). Finland gives each individual teacher great freedom and values the role of teachers very highly.

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  • JJR for the way

    Common Core is rotten to the Core. Children are innocent victims, but the effects ripple out to affect everyone in the community. Please put on your armor and fight very hard against this massive evil in every way possible.

  • RenoParent

    7)Education experts oppose CC

    8)Numerous problems with the high stakes testing

    9)Private schools and home schooled students cannot “escape”
    CC

    10)Numerous states are trying to withdraw from CC

    11)CC may be illegal

    12)Republican National Convention, Spring 2013 – Adopt
    resolution Rejecting CC

    13)There may be a political Agenda

    14)Collection, storage, and sharing of student data

    15)Political – left and right find common ground opposing CC

    As people (including elected officials) become educated opposition to CC is growing.

    Full article with supporting links:

    http://myinclinevillage.com/2013/04/18/why-i-am-against-the-common-core-state-standards.aspx

  • RenoParent

    Why I Oppose the Common Core State Standards

    Common Core State Standards are the biggest proposed change to education in the United States in our lifetime, yet most people have never heard of them!
    The standards are a “one size fits none” way to deal with problems in education.

    1)The Math standards are a downgrade (they put us two years behind high achieving countries)

    2)English language arts – the reading standards are mediocre at best; the writing standards are an “intellectual impossibility” for the average middle grade student.
    There is less literature and no cursive

    3)Incredible cost to implement

    4)The flawed process used to create Common Core (CC), combined with the fact that five of the 29 people on the validation committee would not sign off on the standards

    5)Most states signed onto Common Core before seeing the final standards. The reasons federal funds, and No Child Left Behind waivers

    6)Common Core has never been tested

    • skepticalways

      The diminished literature requirements are to make room for “technical reading,” which you can interpret: GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA

    • LArmbruster

      Where are you getting your information? Where are you finding that standards are a downgrade? How do you know 2-years behind? How behind are we currently?

      Define “Incredible Cost.”

  • WRBaker

    I suspect the regional Catholic accrediting organizations (e.g., WCEA) won’t say a word about the lack of Catholicism as CC begins to enter the classrooms. As they don’t do much today in safeguarding the Church’s teaching, they will probably rubberstamp CC tomorrow.

  • Nellie

    Thank you Phyllis! I too have been deeply concerned and telling all who will listen!

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  • Peter S. Chamberlain

    Even in public, or government, schools, to which most students are consigned by economics, if not law (and California law required all school-age children to be enrolled in “a public school,” u8ntil that was enforced and discovered even by the governor), and assuming Bill Gates’ good intentions given the poor quality of far too many public schools, this is an outrage and I am glad that Texas, where I live, is one of the few states that have not, yet, fallen prey to this. Someone should challenge this under the same Constitutional standards that Ch. Justice Roberts and a five-Justice majority (4 liberals) found the coercion of the states to enlarge Medicaid unconstitutional. CC requires 85% of instruction to be from the test-based mandatory material, and textbooks designed solely to comply with that and “teach to the test,” and much of what I, as holder of a J.D., find valuable in my twelve years of public school, traditional and progressive, was when the teachers set aside their canned “lesson plans” and imparted their knowledge, experience, and wisdom, or challenged us to think about the subject matter. An awful lot of what we learned in school turned out to be flat out false, too. The author is right on target here.

  • James Stagg

    Dear Mrs Schlafy,

    I contacted the school at which my great grandson attends, St. Mary’s in Paris, IL. They returned two documents to me which I have referenced below:

    https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=9d9096b093&view=att&th=140bc7e038a41d9e&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=971bcad17e11f983_0.1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_VNxaBkBCfRVhFljskL8Pu&sadet=1377579524916&sads=27snVKBdoZGvTm2nUv74jhqpB9M

    and

    http://www.ncea.org/sites/default/files/documents/ncea_commoncorestatestandards_053113.pdf

    I attempted to contact you directly, but have found no email address, so I am left with this awkward approach. Please consider what is said in these documents, including original work begun on Common Core in 2007, two years before the present administration was in office.

    I would appreciate an answer by whatever means you can deliver it. Perhaps a follow-up article in Crisis Magazine would be appropriate.

    Thank you!

    Deacon James Stagg
    Newnan, GA
    email: jastaggsr@gmail.com

  • Barbaracvm

    If I get this right we have a bunch of educated idiots. People who can not think for themselves, which is what the communist government wants.

  • RW

    As a public school teacher who sends their child to Catholic School…PLEASE do not accept Common Core into Catholic Schools. We want Catholic School identity. Common Core is Cookie Cutter Education that does not focus on individual talent.

  • jenny

    I thought that we send our children to school to be in good hands, but it seems that we have to protect them from getting brainwashed there…..

  • Catholic parent in Derry, NH

    Our Catholic school is adopting Common Core quietly. We have asked, as parents (and paying customers!!), to be notified and have our chance to ask questions and be kept in the loop. So far… dead silence.
    So my question is going to be… if Catholic schools adopt CC and become clones of the public schools… why should I pay Catholic school tuition? Seems to be a stupid, self-inflicted threat to the very business model. “Come here and pay us to get the same as you could get for ‘free’”.
    We have 5 grade-school kids at our Catholic school and if they sneak in Common Core… we’re done, that fast. Think we’re the only ones? We’ll see what our choices are then (in fact we’re looking now) but we’re anything but thrilled with how our school has been run.

    • Slainte

      A petition to the local bishop for a meeting to discuss the merits of this parochial school’s decision might be in order. If you succeed in getting the meeting, research and provide written data on Common Core to all parents and the Bishop well in advance of the meeting. Be proactive and don’t assume that liberal bureaucrats operating within the Catholic school system have your childrens’ best interests at heart; they don’t. Be brave and Good Luck.

      • Catholic parent in Derry, NH

        We have been told this is being driven from the diocese to the schools and that all the school principals are looking at “those parts of Common Core that it makes sense to bring in”. We and other parents have made appointments and calmly voiced our concerns; now it is up to the diocese and school(s) to show whether they care what parents/customers say. If not… I will take my kids and my money elsewhere. We have a cross on the wall at home too; I’ll opt for the best education possible before defaulting to the cross on the wall and ignore all other concerns.
        Catholic Common Core is no better than public school Common Core, and our public school has more tracks, options, etc. than the Catholic school so again… all other things equal, the Catholic schools stand (I believe) to lose a lot of parents/customers if they just default to public + cross.

  • Mary DeFalco

    Thank you, Dr. Phyllis Schlafly!

    I researched the Common Core and found it problematic on many fronts: philosophically, psychologically, sociologically, pedagogically, politically, and economically. I devoted three pages of my reading web site to exposing the problems of the Common Core and its aligned standardized testing, TFA teachers, Charter Schools, InBloom and the psychological harm of retention. I was so stunned to learn that the Boston diocese along with other dioceses, including our own, were adopting CC! I wrote to the our diocesan education department voicing my concerns but I feel it fell on deaf ears. Catholic schools should provide a haven for our children; there is no escape except in home schooling.

    I read in detail the ELA and realized it is fundamentally flawed and can cause disabilities. If Common Core continues we will have developed a generation of children with a poor self-image, defeatist attitude who will eventually drop out of school. Once a child’s self-image is destroyed it can’t be regained. We will have rote learners who never developed thinking skills beyond analyzing and comparing.

    I am sooo happy that someone of your stature and background has taken the time to speak out and inform our bishops of the danger looming over our schools.

    Mary DeFalco

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  • Catholic Public School Grad

    So public schools are categorically inferior to Catholic schools ? Why then are the secular leaders way ahead of the Bishops in rescinding Common Core and why is Ms.Schlafly still at the stage of writing to the Bishops to inform them about what is going on ? How many of the Bishops attended Catholic school ? They seem painfully unaware of what is occurring their educational system. Some “superior Catholic education.”

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  • Shannon

    There is a video on http://www.freedomprojecteducation.org about Common Core, go to ABout on the webpage and scroll down to defeating common core and watch the video,,,the video is about an hour and ten minutes long. This video is very imformative! Planned Parenthood is also a big supporter of Common Core!

  • cindy@rbogner.com

    I assume the author is referring to Everyday Math which has been around since the 90s. This truly hideous program has nothing to do with the Common Core and had sadly been adopted by many, many school districts before CC was even conceived. You know what is a bigger threat to our children than CC or Everyday Math? It is the hyper-ideologues who spread disinformation and their followers who believe without a single fact check.

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  • CADOLFAN

    I am so mad with Common Core. I don’t know how everyone me included could have let this into the Catholic School system. I feel sold out. I live in California so it doesn’t surprise me that the Diocese here adopted. Never once were we told that they were incorporating into the curriculum. Not only is the math bad but the Social Studies is terrible. One of the Studies Weekly (Social Studies) study questions was. “One of the most highly respected jobs in the United States?” A. Computer Specialist B. Doctor C. Mechanic. Of course the correct answer was B. Doctor. I don’t know about you but if I was a parent who was a mechanic would feel bad. So now as a kid the only way that I’m going to be respected is if I’m a doctor.

  • Thomas Sharpe

    “Sadly, Catholic Schools can no longer count on welcoming the children of the parish as many parishioners no longer feel obligated to send their children to parochial schools”

    Not true, most Catholics can no longer afford to send their children to parochial school. And the schools, in turn, have become more finishing schools for the upper middle class with one or two children. (Who for the most part practice contraception.) It’s more common for couples who practice NFP not to send their children to “Catholic” school, they’ll typically have 3 or 4 children. As a consequence the faith is watered down at these “catholic” schools where the emphasis is high SATs, top Sports and top colleges. Is it any wonder the schools have capitulated ?

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