Cross Purposes: Catholic Schools and Common Core

Catholic-classroom

Is Common Core compatible with Catholic education?  Are the concerns being expressed by parents across America just the unfounded worries of the uninformed, or are there real problems with the implementation of Common Core in our Catholic schools?

To answer these questions, it is necessary to look beyond the particulars of the Common Core and examine its basic mission.

According to government documents and all marketing materials, the foundational mission of Common Core is to produce students who are college and career ready.  The most complete definition of that term can be found in the May 2013 publication of the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE), called What Does it Really Mean to be College and Work Ready?

According to NCEE, college and work ready means having the knowledge base that is necessary to enter a community college and take the general education courses without needing remediation.  The level of math that is recommended is middle school material, with the recommendation that students should aim to complete Algebra I by the end of their sophomore year.  The rationale is that since the highest level of math required by most community colleges is Algebra I, there is no need for any student to master Algebra II in high school in order to learn Algebra I in college.

The document includes a discussion of the “fact” the only 5 percent of careers require any mathematical knowledge beyond this, so teaching it to high school students is an expensive waste of financial and time resources.  If the knowledge is not needed for a career, it is unnecessary.

A similar discussion is conducted in the area of language arts, with the conclusion being that most students do not need to learn literature in order to maintain employment.  So our high schools should focus more on informational reading and writing so students will enter community college ready for career education.

This philosophy is echoed by representatives of State Departments of Education who have testified before House and Senate education committees about the need to standardize the products of our public education system.  Indeed, in August 2013, at a hearing conducted by the PA House Education Committee, Pennsylvania Department of Education representatives explained the need and purpose of Common Core by telling the Committee members that just as McDonald’s hamburgers are the same whether they are purchased in Erie or Philadelphia, the products of our schools should be the same no matter where the school actually is located.

The products being spoken about were the children of Pennsylvania.

So in Common Core, the children are the products, not the clients, of the educational system, and the purpose of education is to produce children who have the skills they need to do a job.  If the skill does not directly relate to a job, it is unnecessary, and does not need to be taught.  Schools are to produce workers.

Is that compatible with Catholic education?

Is the mission of Catholic education to produce workers?

The Catholic catechism speaks about educating children in Section 2221 through 2229.  The language begins by stressing that parents have both a right and a duty to direct the education of their children, and states that the foundational purpose of education is to enable our children to discover their vocations as children of God.

Achieving that purpose requires a Catholic educational program to offer our children every opportunity to learn about their Creator so that they can best decide how to respond to His loving call for their lives.

Common Core does not offer those opportunities.  For example, a high school math program that does not reach past Algebra I is not just limiting mathematics.  It is removing sciences like chemistry and physics from our children’s curriculum because both require students to have at least the skills of Algebra II.  For some children, this elimination will directly affect their ability to discover their vocation since it is impossible to decide to become a physicist or a chemist if one has never encountered physics or chemistry.  But the loss will affect all children, because every one of them benefits from learning that God’s universe is a place of order and structure permeated by His presence and His love.

The same situation exists in the area of language arts.

The proponents of Common Core want to severely limit the use of literature, or stories, in the education of our children, replacing them with “informational text.”  But informational text does not reach beyond our minds to touch our hearts or inspire our souls.  Literature does.

Again, let’s use an example.  Many of our children have been exposed to the Lifeboat Exercise, in which they are given the demographic information for 10 people and then told that those people are in a lifeboat that only can hold 9 of them.  The children are instructed to use the demographic information to decide who is tossed out of the boat.  The process is clinical and analytic—informational.

Now let’s look at the movie, A Night to Remember, which tells the story of the sinking of the Titanic.  The characters in the movie are the actual passengers on the ocean liner.  It is the life boat exercise, but it is anything but clinical.  When we see a man disguising himself as a woman to sneak onto a life boat, we don’t think about his demographic profile—we recognize his cowardice.  When we see the elderly English lady give up her seat to stay with her husband of half a century, and offer that seat to a young mother with a little one, we don’t evaluate her decision on a cost/benefit basis—we respond to her courage and her compassion.

Our children may learn to follow instructions and interpret a graph from informational texts, but to truly realize their vocations as children of God, they need an education that dares them to hope and inspires them to love.  They need to meet fictional heroes like Atticus Finch and actual heroes like St. Maximilian Kolbe.  It is not an accident that the Greatest Story Ever Told is, in fact, a story; or that Christ Himself used stories to teach some of the deepest truths of our faith.

The proponents of Common Core speak about the fact that they are aiming at the floor—making sure that the minimum standards are met.  But Catholic education has worked to aim our children at the ceiling, challenging them to reach beyond that minimum to find the fullness of their potential.  For many of our children, that challenge changed their lives forever.

The Catholic educational system has been anything but common because it was based on the understanding that there is no such thing as a common child.  It would be beyond tragic to see that system now embrace the very philosophy that it was designed to oppose.

Peg Luksik

By

Peg Luksik, a mother of six, is Founder and Chairman of Founded on Truth. Highlighting her many years of grassroots political activism was her run for governor in the 1990 Pennsylvania Republican primary winning 46 percent of the vote. She graduated magna cum laude from Clarion University in 1976 with a bachelor of science degree in special education and elementary education.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    “Schools are to produce workers.” Now where have a heard that kind of thinking before? Oh, I remember now; it was the now-disintegrated Union of Soviet Socialist Republics where people were valued solely as instruments of the State. It was the godless Soviet Union that foreclosed the open practice of religion where man was considered not only a creation of God but actually a child of God – a sharer in God’s very life and hence worthy of the dignity accorded to such a relationship.

    Let no one tell me that Common Core does not share the same godless view of the human person.

    • Tim

      I have no idea what is “godless” about requiring students to learn Pythagoras’s Theorem a couple of years earlier or to read better and with greater comprehension. The Common Core standards were in part produced to counter the complaint that our current batch of graduating students are neither prepared for the workforce or for higher education and that US students lag students from several other first-world countries in math, reading, and science. Addressing those concerns seems a worthwhile endeavor. I don’t understand the paranoia surrounding something that really is not sinister or frightening.

      • Adam__Baum

        “students lag students from several other first-world countries in math, reading, and science. Addressing those concerns seems a worthwhile endeavor. I don’t understand the paranoia surrounding something that really is not sinister or frightening.”

        So said the Germans eighty years ago.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        The explanation is very simple: there is little that the government does that is creditable. The “government” cares little about children and their education. Government is motivated by a single consideration: how do we insure our continuation in power.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        The problem with Common Core, is in the common, not the core. Some students might want to learn Pythagorean theorem in first grade. Others may not have brains that will ever grasp enough math for it. There is no provision under common core for the 25% of students that fall outside of the mean.

        • Tony

          The problem is both with the Common, and the Core. The Common violates all principles of democracy and subsidiarity, vesting tremendous power in the hands of a few people, and people of very questionable intellectual attainments at that. And the Core is lousy. You have to get past the self-promoting verbiage to see it.
          It is stupid to teach little kids about something without showing them why it is so. They will come to learn math as a set of arbitrary “rules” that make no sense, one with another, and that they will therefore forget as soon as the need for remembering them has passed.

          • mom2amob

            “They will come to learn math as a set of arbitrary “rules” that make no sense, one with another”

            Once you read the standards and see how they are being applied, I am sure you will be vastly relieved. The exact opposite is true. I’m not only teaching my kids the Pythagorean Theorem (arbitrary rules) but, per the new standards, I’m required to teach them a proof. We’ve been having a lot of fun cutting up graph paper and playing with tiles.

            CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.B.6 Explain a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem and its converse.

            CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.B.7 Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to determine unknown side lengths in right triangles in real-world and mathematical problems in two and three dimensions.

            CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.B.8 Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between two points in a coordinate system.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Math is a set of arbitrary axioms that make no sense apart from their relationship with one another. Anybody who has tried to apply addition to non-discrete entities knows that one.

            • Facile1

              Mathematics is a language. And like any language, it is a human invention. One needs a context to understand how math as a language reflects the TRUTH (ie GOD).

              My undergraduate degrees are in engineering and my graduate degree is in mathematics. I spent most of my working life as a professional atheist. So I know what I am talking about.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Reflects. It can only reflect, as in a mirror darkly.

                But that is an interesting thought- a professional atheist? What does that look like?

                • Facile1

                  Yes, it can only refect, as in a mirror darkly and only fools conflate the reflection for the truth.

                  A ‘professional atheist’ is a fool (but, by the grace of God’s redemptive love, some of us do grow out of it.)

      • Tony

        We have been through this before.
        The feds have no business meddling in education.
        The requirement that students learn about Pythagoras’ theorem a couple of years early is EXACTLY what exasperates me about these standards. They are “rigorous” in straining at gnats, and lax at swallowing camels. It does not matter a damn when a student learns about the Pythagorean theorem. In fact, it should be later rather than sooner, if it is going to be taught along with WHY it is true, rather than simply THAT it is true (for triangles on a plane). What students really need is arithmetic and geometry in their bones, in their fingers — they should learn to see what numbers do, rather than learning a pile of eye-glazing terminology and unimaginative algorithms which they forget as soon as the exam is over.
        The reading and writing standards are plain awful. If you want students to learn to read and write, you do these straightforward things:
        1. You teach grammar as soon as the kids are capable of learning it, and then you teach it systematically, as a body of knowledge, and you teach it all together, maybe over the course of two years. You can then deepen their knowledge of it later on, in Latin classes.
        2. You give them good and great books and poems to read, and you keep them from what is slipshod and stupid.
        3. You encourage them to imitate the good and great writers.
        That is how good writers have always learned to write. There is no other way to learn it.
        Irony — a nauseating irony — the writers of the standards themselves do not know how to write. Their own writing is abominable.

      • Tony

        And these are the same idiots that have botched the education of our kids for the last sixty years! The CC is just a compendium of tried-and-failed ideas, same old, same old, on steroids — with lots of money offered. If Catholic schools want to succeed, let them swallow their pride and look to homeschoolers and to those start-ups that have rejected all the bad ideas of Big Ed, and teach according to a classical or genuinely humanistic model.

      • Mom2amob

        Unfortunately many people oppose anything that sniffs of federal intervention, no matter how helpful it may be to all our children. This can be a little too knee-jerk. I’ve looked into Common Core for my own children. I’m applying the new standards in math and all they do is raise the bar. Some material is now covered in earlier grades and all of it requires both a deeper understanding of the concepts and the ability to apply them in many practical situations. I find it’s making our math learning more fun and creative, and I think my kids are getting it on a deeper level.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Of all things, the Catholic principle of subsidiarity applies to the education of children. The Catechism of the Catholic Church specifically calls out parents as the ones responsible for properly educating their children. The feds could put out some guidelines that might be useful, but the writing on the wall says this will be the ‘content’ that must be mastered in order to pass certain standardized tests which can have a very large impact in terms of the vocational training (‘college’ nowadays) required for achieving the status of indentured servant at some enormous corporate/governmental entity — which do everything in their power to augment themselves — ethics completely aside.

        • homeschooling2

          I had posted a response here several days ago and now it is gone. hmmm….

      • Facile1

        When one makes the statement “that US students lag students from several other first-world countries in math, reading, and science”, one wonders if the poster ever bothered to compare the other national statistics of these first world countries — such as the suicide rates, replacement demographics, the Gross National Products, tax rates and deficit to GNP ratios.

        If Archimedes (who said “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”) learned the Pythagoras’ theorem in the context of God’s creation, perhaps he never would have said anything half so stupid.

    • slainte

      Many will recall the Communist slogan “workers of the world unite”; that system substituted the importance of the collective in place of the individual; group think in place of individual thought; and an oligarchy that ruled over an intentionally dumbed down working class enslaved to their work, disposed of upon their loss of utility, and made subjects instead of citizens.

      Literature and arts were reserved for the oligarchs; those who were the “more equal”, and thus were entitled to an education that freed them from the enslavement of the state. Their education included literature and the arts; the very things denied the children of workers.

      Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it; and in the instance of Common Core, true history will not be taught to children and thus cannot be forgotten.

      Catholicism, with its focus on Truth, Beauty and the Good, is the protective barrier that stands between the State and the Family; just as Christ, the Good Shepherd, guarded his flock from the wolves. We must ensure that the state is not successful in its relentless attack upon the Church as it has been in its frontal assault on the Family.

      “Catholics and Christians of the world unite” should be our defensive battle cry in response to an ideology that would strip our children of their God given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

      For these reasons, we should vote a resounding to their tool of change “Common Core”.

      • slainte

        We should vote a resounding”NO” to Common Core.

      • hombre111

        As John Pilch and others point out so capably in their exploration of the culture in which Jesus lived, the ancient people thought in terms of a collective. Family first, then community, then the individual. In fact, language at that time did not even have a word for “individual” in the sense we use it today. Protestantism and Enlightenment rationalism introduced that concept. As Chesterton famously said, in America, Catholics think like Protestants.

        That said, we should still be very thoughtful about Common Core.

        • slainte

          Our Lord Jesus Christ, alone, is our God, not the state. Our relationship with Him is both personal and communal as we recognize that His divinity is present in all our brothers, and are thus called to render unto others the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
          Our American form of government was designed to keep the state Limited and accountable to WE the people, not vice versa. Any tool, including an educational tool like Common Core, that undermines God given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is contrary to the Constitution and subversive of the founding principles of this land. God made us to be Free, not enslaved.

          • Adam__Baum

            “Our Lord Jesus Christ, alone, is our God, not the state. ”

            You realize that statement is the sort of heresy that will obligate Hombre to report you to the Ministry of Truth, right after his convulsions stop.

            • slainte

              Like my Irish ancestors before me, I will stand against the tyranny of a state seeking to crush Catholicism and man’s right to be Free to practice the faith.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Article I Section 10 of the US Constitution is not compatible with the idea of a state limited and accountable to We the People.

            • Adam__Baum

              Which of the prohibitions on state power enumerated there do you find inconsisted with a limited state?

              • TheodoreSeeber

                All of them! A local population should have the right to form a standing militia to defend their own homes if they want to. A local neighborhood should be allowed to use the right of tariff and a customs border to protect local jobs. A city shouldn’t need taxes, and should just print its own money. Article I Section 10 turns the federal government from subsidiarity to monopoly; and is no better in the marketplace of ideas than a monopoly raising barriers to entry is in a free market.

                Nationalism was wrong for Germany under Bismark, was wrong for Italy under Victor Emmanuel II, and was wrong for the United States under the First Continental Congress. Culturally, we’re 11 nations, 11 different dialects of English, and some of us resent the East Coast Monopoly on government and economics.

                • Adam__Baum

                  “All of them!”

                  So you find the prohibition again ex post facto laws to be “not compatible with the idea of a state limited and accountable to We the People”?

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Very much so. That’s a tool that can be used against a rotten politician or a crooked business owner who has come up with a new loophole to take advantage of.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      If you don’t know what something is, don’t try to conceal the fact with silliness.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Oh, I know what an ex post facto law is. It’s a law passed to correct a crime that has already happened, that wasn’t a crime at the time it happened. I just consider it a very good mechanism for the prevention of using the law to victimize other people.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “It’s a law passed to correct a crime that has already happened”

                      No. It is not limited to criminal offenses, thanks for playing.

                      It’s a very good mechanism to make the law, lawless.

                      Please get help.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      What I consider a criminal offense, and what a politician does, is two very different things. Canon Law is higher than Man’s law- and the government should be subservient to the Church.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      This is extraneous nonsense. I challenged you on your understanding of the term “ex post facto” law. and you wrote “It’s a law passed to correct a crime that has already happened”

                      When I responded that it’s not limited to criminal offenses, (newsflash, it applies to administration and tax matters, inter alia) you offer unrelated personal opinions about criminality and politica and the primacy of Canon Law, neither of which have no bearing on the definition of “ex post facto law” or your understanding of it.

                      If you understood the concept, you would never what you did. “I just consider it a very good mechanism for the prevention of using the law to victimize other people”. Even a five year old understands how problematic it is to change the rules after the game is started, but not you.

                      I don’t know whether your incessant vexatiousness and intellectual disorder is ignorance, illness or something worse.

                      Whatever the underlying defect, this is how you appear to any rational thinker.

                      http://www.pilareart.com/Screwball.html

                      I’m just not so charitable as to suffer foolishness gladly.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      If you understood the rules to begin with, there’d be no need to change them.

                      The rule, for instance, is be charitable to one’s neighbor. Is it so hard to imagine that being charitable to one’s neighbor might require not taking advantage of a loophole in the law when you see it (or administrative rule, and last I looked, tax matters WERE criminal matters)? Apparently to you.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No, tax matters are not criminal, unless there is a charge of fraud.

                • Tony

                  If the local people and especially the parents have no real say in who teaches their children, what they teach, how they teach, and what books they use, then self-government is a charade.

                  • Mom2amob

                    I homeschool (for the most part — we’ve tried a variety of approaches with our many kids). Although I homeschool, I don’t look down my nose at the public schools. We’ve had our kids in them on and off over the years for sport, music, AP classes, etc. Having experienced them at first-hand, I was surprised by how much say parents actually have. We picked a particular teacher for AP Calc and the books were determined by the district. We went to a school board meeting to make a plea for post-Calc BC math and the district helped find materials for our daughter and directed us to a public school program that places kids in community college for more advanced math. It was free to us and very helpful as our daughter had gone where we couldn’t follow in math and needed better teaching than we could offer her.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      That is great that you are nurturing the math. There is much opportunity. In our area, we have the Math Circle. Homeschoolers, schools, whatever are welcome. We just got back from the Harvard MIT math tournament where large numbers of math geeks from all over descended for the day. What a bad hair day it was for Cambridge Mass.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    The Constitution isn’t about self-government, it’s a setup for a con job.

                    • Art Deco

                      Blah blah blah Freemasons blah blah blah Article I section blah blah blah.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Yep, and I’ll keep repeating it : the Constitution is incompatible with Catholicism.

                • Art Deco

                  I think he’s trying to tell you that the just regime found it’s clearest expression in the Holy Roman Empire, ca. 1727.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Where I would have placed it about a thousand years earlier.

                    • Art Deco

                      The Holy Roman Empire did not exist in the 8th century and was not a complete wreck until the 17th century.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Now Wally, you know the ‘beav can’t be bothered with facts.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Exactly. Government doesn’t scale- even for the Church.

            • Adam__Baum

              Planning on applying the propagandistic notion about repeating a lie?

              You can’t properly interpret A1S10 without reference to A9 & A10.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Neither of those allow for the protectionist economy required by subsidiarity. Neither of those allow a state to mount its own defense against an invasion force from another state.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Where is anybody talking about a “protectionist economy” here? What is wrong with you?

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    I am talking about a protectionist economy- that is one that protects its citizens by use of tariffs. That’s subsidiarity. My allegation is that Article I, Section 10, makes subsidiarity, and thus a truly Catholic government, illegal. You respond with Amendments 9 and 10, but Amendments 9 and 10 do not restore to the states the power to print money and protect their borders from foreign (out of state) invasions.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You do not know how to debate, and won’t stay on topic.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      It’s only the libertarians I have a problem with, for they preach a different liberty than the Church and Christ.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Oh you have a problem with everything, I take that for granted. Only problem, libertarians have nothing to do with this discussion.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Liberty as License, and Catholicism are incompatible. The reason is in the Constitution itself; the problem is the federal government and what it really represents.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      And again, off on a reversionary tangent. There’s one thing you are good at, it’s writing without making a point.

          • hombre111

            I heartily agree with these platitudes. Now let’s discuss reality.

            • slainte

              I thought they were truths, not platitudes. What about “reality” do you want to discuss?

              • hombre111

                Platitudes are usually true. “I believe in God and apple pie.” But while I am against analyzing something to death, they often gloss over the issue at hand but leave the person satisfied that they have taken a courageous stand. Take the Common Core debate. There have been some thoughtful things in a couple of these articles. But as so often in the discussion that follows these articles in Crisis, the discussion regresses to the usual right wing anti-government howl. ie, “I will stand against the tyranny of a state seeking to crush Catholicism….” And that adds what to the topic at hand? Can I list the problems Common Core is trying to fix? And if not Common Core, what have you seen that works?

                • Doubting Thomas

                  Fr. Hombre111, You say in your state only one of four go to college. Have you looked to see why that is? What is it about that one student that the other three don’t have? Are they just smarter? Could it perhaps be, an intact family? With a mother and a father living at home together raising them with morals and valuing education? You want those of us against state intervention to prove to you that more state intervention is not the ticket. Why don’t you prove to us that getting along in life, one HAS to have state intervention.

                  Wish you would at least ‘fess up to your diocese.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    “Wish you would at least ‘fess up to your diocese.”

                    Won’t do that. Too many of his posts might be the cause of inquiry by his Bishop.

                  • hombre111

                    I said that only one out of ten graduate from college in my red state. There has been some research on the subject and it seems to be this: First, money. Proportionally, more people live on minimum wage in my state than any other state in the union. We are near the bottom when it comes to per capita income. Most parents cannot save much for the education of their children, and young people hesitate to begin life burdened by enormous student loans. Second, mediocre education. We are also near the bottom when it comes to expenditure per pupil. We get what we pay for. Third, there seems to be a cultural bias against college, especially among young men. Unfortunately, such young men can find only the usual low wage jobs. And so they struggle, and their children follow their example. Fourth, if a person does graduate, he or she will almost certainly move away from the state because that is where the good jobs are.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “Indeed, my bishop, who would never admit this publicly to his redneck faithful”
                      Did you just accuse your Bishop of a lie of omission or censoring his pastoral mission to suit popular sentiments?
                      If your Bishop was so attentive to the sensitivities of people your derisively refer to as “red necks”, and your homilies are anything like what you write here, you would have no doubt provided sufficient fodder to be subject to Cannons 1740-1747.

                    • hombre111

                      Like most other bishops, my bishop keeps his opinion on this issue to himself. It’s spelled “Canon.” I think my bishop’s biggest sin of omission is when he goes to Rome and doesn’t tell the powers that be that the priest shortage is killing us, and that forty years worth of desperate prayers and several special pushes for vocations are not working, therefore it is time to ordain married men.

                    • Facile1

                      How does one VERIFY INDEPENDENTLY a claim to ecclesiastical authority when the person of interest blogs under an assumed name? Claiming ecclesiastical authority is at best a disservice to the reader and at worst demonic.

                    • hombre111

                      You got it! I make no claim to ecclesiastical authority, not that your average parish priest has any authority to begin with. That is the reason I keep my pseudonym, so I can speak out freely, even if I sometimes disagree with the Church. If I revealed myself, some of the people on this blog would make every effort to have me punished for what they consider heresy. See Adam_Baum, for instance.

                    • slainte

                      I think Adam_Baum would only prosecute you for heresy if credible evidence established that you were also a Harvard Lawyer.
                      Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania…no problem, but Harvard….fugetabout it…..mandatory incarceration for life, sans trial, in the CPA Hall of Shame. :- )

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Heresy a crime in civil penal codes? Now there’s a thought.

                      Unfortunately, if we were to imagine such a world, the proper charge would be sorcery.

                      But I would never countenance the suspension of due process.

                      You know what St.Thomas More said about preserving due process, even for the diabolical.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      To many crazy leftists with access to guns to not stay dark.

                    • hombre111

                      I honestly believe that an appeal to authority is among the weakest of all arguments. Because daddy said so does not work past a certain age. That is the reason I am so unconvinced by Humanae Vitae. It is as if the author realizes how unconvincing his words will be, and so the frequent admonition: “Listen to the Magisterium!”

                    • Adam__Baum

                      There is one appeal you are comfortable with though – the one that passes the plate.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      If typing errors were felonies, I’d be awaiting your visits.

                    • slainte

                      Father, education is the way out of poverty. A parent must recognize this and work three jobs if he must in order to educate the children. The parent must demand and expect excellence from the children and impose discipline in the household so that children learn to be accountable, responsible, and diligent in all endeavors; in particular with respect to attending school and completing all assignments thoroughly and timely.
                      If the parents are lacksadaisical in this most important goal, the children will be at a significant disadvantage as they grow to adulthood.
                      Intention to improve one’s lot, properly directed and executed, will overcome all obstacles, including cultural mores which may militate against self improvement.

                    • hombre111

                      Could not agree more.

                    • slainte

                      If you’re a lib and I’m a conservative….and we are agreeing…then there is definitely something wrong…
                      Either that, or I just wore you down with my “platitudes”. : – )

                    • hombre111

                      Thanks. I am not so trapped in my left brain that I cannot consider differing opinions. I found the last two articles on Common Core worthy of thought. I then correlate this with an extraordinary article by Jackson Lears in Commonweal, Nov. 15., referring to a book by Diane Ravitch, called “Reign of Error. Worth reading.

                    • slainte

                      Will check this material. Thanks for the recommendation.

                    • John200

                      Father Hombre,

                      You are not suffering from any excess of logical or analytical thinking. Your condition is quite the reverse.

                      Rejoice! you are not trapped!

                    • Doubting Thomas

                      So Common Core is somehow going to give your poor state more money, change the anti-education bias, and open up business in your state to employ the ones who decide to give it a shot. I will again offer that maybe if your state had more intact families, all of the above would take care of itself.

                      Parents are the first and foremost educators of their children. Will you response be that the parents in your state are not capable of making such decisions for their children? Parents should be in the education decision-making process–CCSI does not allow this; not at it’s inception, not now, not ever. Parents are completely cut out of the equation.

                      Two clarifications: YOU said in the comment I was replying to that only one in four GO to college….(as well as your 1 in 10 figure). And, how is it that your high school students are just so hesitant (read: wiser) than high school students in other states in that they won’t burden themselves with excessive student loans? Either they have little hope, know how, direction or ambition and maybe a bit of each. That being the case, Common Core is not the Savior they need…..Preach it, Father…

                    • hombre111

                      Just reveals the Republican vision of things. My state has been Republican (65%, last election) as long as I have been alive, and I am an old, old man. The levels of high education are in the blue states. You don’t know what common core does, because it has not been applied yet.

                • slainte

                  Local public schools in my area are very good. I attribute this to many intact families with stay at home moms who actively
                  participate in their children’s schools and escort them to extra-curricular activities. Fathers work during the week, then guide their children through various sporting and other weekend activities. Parents attend PTA meetings.

                  Education is of primary importance and parents expect and demand performance from their children and the schools that instruct them. Most Catholics and Protestants in my area are politically liberal and both groups for the most part attend church on Sunday with their children.

                  In an adjoining community which has a sizeable Mormon population, many parents home school despite the reputation for excellence in local public schools.

                  What drives educational excellence in my opinion is threefold;

                  i. caring and demanding parents from intact homes
                  who collectively advocate for their children and hold the school system accountable;

                  ii. competition between and among all schools (religious. public, private) for academic excellence to earn tuition dollars or
                  state vouchers;

                  iii. parents who monitor and check their children’s homework and establish and enforce discipline in the home.

                  All of the foregoing requires a commitment from parents to engage and hold their children and the schools to account.

                  From the limited facts you presented, I am unable to discern what has occurred in your area. Are the homes intact? Are the parents engaged with the schools?
                  Common Core involves an unacceptable over-reaching by the federal government through an indirect assumption of powers not specifically granted it by the Constitution. Education is a state endeavor and should not be intruded upon by the federal government, or indirectly via its
                  private agents. Moreover, Common Core State Standards are exempt from liability and accountability to the states, the districts, the schools, the parents and the students. All are denied a judicial remedy in the event of any form of injury caused by the program, its principles or agents. This scheme is not routinely
                  granted to private companies anywhere and is a significant reason for local concern.

                  http://www.corestandards.org/p

                  .

        • Adam__Baum

          “As Chesterton famously said, in America, Catholics think like Protestants.”

          Except for the ones that think like Marx and Engels. We’ll see who rushes more aid to the Phillipines, the U.S. or the U.K.

          I’m assuming your checkbook is at the ready, right?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Marx and Engels were Protestants. Atheism is just a special form of Protestantism, one that protests against God along with His Church.

        • Deacon Ed Peitler

          I had purchased some of Pilch’s books on the Gospels when first ordained thinking they could be helpful when preparing homilies. I have since placed them in the trash.

          • hombre111

            Why am I not surprised, Deacon Ed? But after almost fifty years of preaching, I find them among the most valuable tools I have.

            • Deacon Ed Peitler

              I would have predicted that. One word comes to mind about Pilch: uninspiring.

              • hombre111

                The main thing Pilch offers is not eloquence, but insight. We believe that the Bible is divinely inspired, but as the Vatican II Constitution Dei Verbum teaches, this means a great effort to get into touch with what the text meant to the person who wrote it and the person who read it for the very first time. THIS was the only inspired text, and Dei Verbum challenges us to come as close as we can to that place. Fortunately, modern biblical scholars are placing effort on understanding the cultural and historical context within which those words were written. And this is Pilch’s value. He teaches about the cultural background. If I am basing my sermon on the Word of God, I have to begin in the beginning and try to understand the message from the point of view of a Jew living in that place at that time. After that, I can seek my inspiration from other sources.

            • Adam__Baum

              If your homilies are anything like the disordered screeds you post here.. oh the humanity…

              • hombre111

                Actually, people call up to find out which Mass I am going to celebrate, and the place is packed for my homilies.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Circuses usually do draw a crowd.
                  But keep posting, because every one of your tedious rants makes me appreciate my erudite and orthodox Pastor and his newly minted assistant.

        • Albee

          It is a ploy of the “state” to try to make Jesus out like some kind
          of liberal community organizer. Collective–you sure got the
          language down already. No, it should be: God first, then family, then country (not state). There is a big difference between ‘state’ and country. The individual is somewhere in the family unit.

          • hombre111

            In America, the individual is first and foremost, over everything and everyone. Read Toqueville, who was the one who coined the word “individualism” as a core American value, and who speculated on its implications for our country. Our inability to think in terms of the common good is causing great harm.

            • Art Deco

              Bogus use of the 1st person plural causes great irritation.

    • hombre111

      A pretty thought provoking article. But as usual, Deacon Ed sees the ghost of communism instead of the natural banality of capitalism. As Pope John Paul pointed out more than once, both systems can turn human beings into ciphers, mere parts of the economic machine. The author makes an interesting point of irony, in Pennsylvania, children become products. But what the heck, for ages and ages and ages, you and I have simply been known as “consumers,” and our needs only exist if we have the money to pay for them.

      • Adam__Baum

        “ghost of communism”

        Nobody sees a ghost, we see you as quite alive, and something quite worse than banal.

      • Albee

        Gosh, you gave up so easily….. but what the heck…

      • slainte

        Father, the better query is …which imperfect system allows for the most freedom so that we may practice our faith and otherwise flourish in our lives?

    • Alastriona

      You are so right. Even before common core Catholic schools have been using public school science and social studies material that promote leftist thinking. When my kid was in 4th grade a few years ago, her history book had only a few pages about our founding fathers, one paragraph about Abraham Lincoln but two or three chapters about the civil rights movement and later a lot of global warming propaganda. Money is behind this because Catholic schools get these materials free on loan from the state, whereas they would have to purchase separate Catholic curriculum. We now homeschool and there are many good curriculum choices out there. Sadly, so many Catholics do not even realize that our entire country is moving toward socialism, with a majority of weekly Mass attendees continuing to vote for the very political party that is increasingly hostile to religious expression and American values.

      • LLC

        My daughter is in 4th grade now at a Catholic school, and they haven’t even started doing science or history this year yet! But boy do they learn about Rosa Parks, Dolores Huerta, Caesar Chavez in their English books. I am seriously considering homeschooling next year.

        • Art Deco

          Rosa Parks? A unremarkable everywoman who was secretary to a local chapter of the NAACP?

          Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez? Two officials of a minor trade union (one of whom is still alive)? (Do they learn that Chavez found illegal immigration an exasperating disruption to his work, or that Chavez was never reconciled to legal abortion?)

          The utility of homeschooling in your case is that teachers who would ration class time to bit players in the political dramas of the last sixty years are too stupid to be trusted with schooling the young.

        • Gerise

          With four children in Catholic school, I have observed the “dumbing down” of the curriculum, in particular over the last two years. Our archdiocese (Philadelphia) has completely embraced Common Core, with no intention of turning back. The rationale was based on remaining competitive with public schools and preparing kids for standardized tests. Our school even has a new mission statement, saying it is “committed to developing spiritual, personal and academic excellence while incorporating 21st century skills to encourage lifelong learning in a globally advancing society.” !!! Not one word about being Catholic! Right now, homeschooling is not an option, and I’m contemplating public school (which has also embraced Common Core). Why pay for a pseudo-Catholic Common Core education when public school delivers the same? We’d approach public school battle- and armor-ready, while with Catholic school we have simply assumed (naively, perhaps stupidly) that the right message and curriculum would be taught. We will see more Catholic schools close as a result of Common Core, especially if parents like me want and expect something different.

          • Ford Oxaal

            We fought this battle for years. After four years of Spanish at our local Catholic school, our oldest could not say “my name is …” in Spanish. I felt sick to my stomach we had let this level of, what is the word, fraud, go on for so long. We started learning Latin that summer as a family — doing the chants, etc. It was so much fun. By the end of the summer, the family was unanimous in withdrawing from the so-called Catholic school. We took on the enormous burden of homeschooling. A new non-denominational classical school sprang up in our area with a Christian worldview, and like-minded families rebelling against the culture of mediocrity. We send our children there for the upper grades — and we are doing very well there — the classical approach is so obviously the way to go. And it forces us to really know our faith in order to properly ‘compete’ among our Orthodox and Protestant brethren.

          • russell owl

            I saw it too. I took my kids out of private Catholic school in phila. they switched to full on common core with all the globalist buzzwords without any honesty to parents. its shocking deception. my kids are elsewhere and needing tutoring to catch up. everyday math atotal joke. pro communist bit everywhere, promotion of victim class heroes, developmentally inappropriate projects and assignments with out ends or measure,
            I loved in 3rd grade or 4th the titanic sememster where thats all they taught, rediculous and the kids had to do a shoebox disrama and of course all the parents did it, what a joke.
            what did they learn? oh disaster to feared…

        • Marie

          THAT’S RIDICULOUS, THE SCHOOL, TEACH THE CHILDREN ABOUT ROSA PARKS, DOLORES HUERTA, AND CAESAR CHAVEZ.

      • Tony

        And yet the odd thing — and it is a shame to us — is that a real education in arts and letters has never been available for so little. You could stock a school library with ten times the number of good books and great books that Jefferson went far into debt to procure for his library at Monticello, and you could do it for the salary of one teacher’s aide for one year.

        • mom2amob

          Nearly every one of those books is now available for free (they’re in the public domain) on the Internet.

      • Marie

        THE WORST THING HAPPEN IN AMERICA IS OBAMA’S FAULT. IMPEACH OBAMA…………………………………………..

  • Ford Oxaal

    School must exist. School is an extension of family/home. Family/home has been eliminated by the advent of the career mom. No mother at home, no family/home. Nature abhors a vacuum. School must now become an extension of the state.

    • Taylor

      This is an extremist anti-government stance. If you want to believe the world is a big, scary place run by Big Brother, you have the freedom to go hide from it, but please don’t try to take away advantages and opportunities from the rest of us. I went to excellent public schools and a public university (UC Berkeley), as well as some other educational options along the way, and I thank God for the opportunities they gave me. I had a very good mother, family, and home. Why spit on an attempt to raise standards designed to bring our schools in line with the top schools from other first-world countries? That’s just mean-spirited and incredibly narcissistic (it seems some people are suggesting you can’t be a good person “like we are”(???) if you’re “corrupted” by public school:-O). Please don’t be a dog in the manger. We are talking about giving young people opportunities to improve their lives and societies.

      • Ford Oxaal

        You missed the code pinkesque humor in my comment — anyway, I’m glad you had a good family/home — most in my area do not, precisely because both parents are forced to work and forced to farm out the raising of their own children. For whatever reason, and however this came to be, it is a sad and contentious world for these children. Now, the state is stepping in where the parents have left. I don’t think I made or implied any value judgements for or against the state. The state is simply doing what the state naturally does — augmenting itself. However, now that you mention it, this is a big issue, and one I thought would’ve been decided by the voters more directly. Perhaps we as a people are farming out that responsibility as well.

      • Adam__Baum

        Because it’s not an attempt to “raise standards”, it’s an attempt to impose an agenda, to reduce human beings to being the “aphas”, “betas” and “gammas” of the Brave New World, to crush their God-given individuality and reduce them to carefully categorized chattel and into fungible factors of production.

        What is really scary is the extreme pro-state stance of statists,
        those eager members of the cult of the colossal, who see the idea of a world run by big brother as paradise, and refuse to admit that government is not some magical wellspring of benevolence, omniscience and incorruptability, despite voluminous, clear and irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

        What is “mean-spirited and incredibly narcissistic” is to dismiss the concerns of others as unjustified fearmongering, because you lack any due caution or skepticism. Your “analysis” consists of attaching flowery, but vacant euphemisms to things that meet with the summary approval of your viscera, and labelling your opponents as benighted fools acting out of caprice. Sorry but some of us don’t approach public policy with a compass whose true North is the glib indoctrination you apparently imbiibed with such abandon at that infamous concentration camp, UC Berkeley.

        We’ve spent over a century implementing the statist agenda and we don’t have anything remotely like improved lives or society, just fiscal disorder and epidemic moral squalor. In other “first-world” countries, the results have been gulags and mass slaughter. (It’s no accident that the Nazis came to power in Germany, the country that was the academy of progressivism).

        Although conditions get worse with every golden calf they present for worship, the acolytes of statist idolatry have a standard answer, more social hemlock.

        Perhaps there’s another statist website that you’ll approve of.. say healthcare.gov, that shining testament to the reliability of the promises of politicians and expertise of their bureaucratic high priests.

        • Ford Oxaal

          “(It’s no accident that the Nazis came to power in Germany, the country that was the academy of progressivism).” Now there’s an interesting comment. The very fact of the likes of Peter Singer being given a Princeton platform from which to spew forth their brilliantly unhinged pathologies makes one wonder if the nazis didn’t just hide in plain site among the faculty of the ivies.

          • Adam__Baum

            “Now there’s an interesting comment.”
            There have been two principle reasons given for the collapse of Germany into depravity and despotism. The first was the shame of World War I and the second was the economic disorder caused by the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic.

            The problem is that you have to explain how a failed artist and radical lunatic managed to attain total power and not some “statesman”.

            Was he some sort of political savant? Or was he just grasping the levers of power that had been erected for decades, the most important of which was the reflexive willingness of the ordinary citizen to have significant aspects of his life planned, organized and controlled by the state? The answer isn’t nearly as obvious as it should be to most people.

            There was a reason why American “progresives” (statists) such as Henry Carter Adams went to Germany to study the technical aspects of public administration (again, decades before). They were looking to acquire aadministrative state power and went to study at the feet of the masters

            As an aside, The Nazi’s had a very strong connection to the Eugenicist branch of the American Progressive movement.

            http://hnn.us/article/1796

      • TheodoreSeeber

        ” I went to excellent public schools and a public university (UC Berkeley)”

        That’s an oxymoron in and of itself. California has no good schools.

        • Mom2amob

          It’s disappointing to see this sort of commentary. Can you not see the good, even the great, in Berkeley and many of its students? You’re resorting to some unfortunate and very petty bigotry here. It shows terrible arrogance and self-righteous to simply dismiss not only the school but the entire state.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            No, actually, I can’t. Most elite universities left learning long ago and replaced it with brainwashing. School is wonderful at producing workers.

            • Torri

              This is not an argument. If you were smart enough to go to Berkeley, you would be smart enough not to be brainwashed. Sadly, Theodore, it is you that has been brainwashed into believing the nonsense you do about Berkeley, even to the point that you believe every single product of Berkeley and every single school in California is somehow tarnished. This is incredibly simplistic and bigoted. I hope you are able to open your mind one day and see the beauty and the goodness around you. For now, you are not functioning and not thinking. You are merely imbibing nonsense you’ve read and spouting it out without thinking about it.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                “If you were smart enough to go to Berkeley, you would be smart enough not to be brainwashed. ”

                Brainwashing is a a function of age and wisdom, not intelligence. There is a reason why armies run on recruits age 18-25, and there’s a reason why the liberals have targeted undergraduates for indoctrination in their false worldview.

      • Albee

        Gee, with a Berkeley education I would think you would agree with the
        communistic influences of public education. But while you are swimming with the sharks it is hard to notice. America, at one time, used to have the best educational system in the world—public and private–. Catholic schools, in general, were known for their academics and superior education. But sadly not anymore. Too many compromises with Faith and secular culture.

        “Why spit on an attempt to raise standards designed to bring our schools in line with the top schools from other first-world countries? That’s just mean-spirited and incredibly narcissistic (it seems some people are suggesting you can’t be a good person “like we are”(???) if you’re “corrupted” by public school:-O).”

        The standards were there and were high until the entitlement culture demanded the watering down of pretty much everything. Narcissistic?
        No. But how can we give young people opportunities to improve their lives and societies if the educational system sets the bar on the floor?

        It is backward thinking. The goal is to dumb down the masses and make them more controllable at the same time trick them into thinking they are equal, at the same time “kill” religion, “kill God”, and make
        everyone become more materialistic.

        http://www.allaboutworldview.org/marxist-sociology-and-education-faq.htm

      • Tony

        You are begging the question. The very matter at issue is that the standards are BAD. They spring from a false and destructive view of what a child is, what man is, and what education therefore is. And I have yet to see the fabled “excellent” public school. My students now are leaving public schools, and, I am pained to say, even some Catholic schools, with almost no knowledge of our heritage of English literature, and very little knowledge of western civilization outside of America; and they’re not very clear about America, either.

  • AcceptingReality

    Sounds like the mission of Common Core is to aid an elite ruling class in the subjugation of the proletariat. Hide and preserve your books everybody. They may soon be considered contraband.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Huckleberry Finn might not survive next to a Windows 8 manual for kids.

  • Steven Jonathan

    The Common Core Experts training the teachers where I work keep repeating the mantra “poetry is not going to get anybody a job.” As the clear minded Dr. Esolen has correctly said, “The Common Core State Standards are not fit for human consumption.” All of public education is vile- All Catholic schools that adopted state standards in the last fifty years have traded the souls of their Catholic students for human respect. A true Catholic education, something lost sight of by most educators today, and any form of public schooling are mutually exclusive, as opposite as the culture of life and the culture of death.
    My mentor is fond of saying of a liberal arts education “It may not have any survival value, but it adds value to survival.” Catholic parents must reject Common Core.

    • Adam__Baum

      “poetry is not going to get anybody a job.”

      We must start reducing the number of excess words, don’t you know.

    • Tony

      Thank you, Steve. I said to my students today, and it surprised them even though they knew it was true, that every single culture that has ever flourished upon this earth has treasured poetry, EVEN IF that culture had no writing! They had songs, wonderfully complex, which they passed on from generation to generation. Poetry is a human thing; it is as necessary to a human soul as fresh air is to the child’s lungs and heart. Anybody who says, “Poetry is not going to get anybody a job” should be fired forthwith, first for ignorance of history — the men of the British Empire did a whole lot of sailing, ruling, trading, conquering, damming rivers, draining swamps, building schools — and what was their education, but the Latin and Greek classics? Second, he should be fired for ignorance of what man is. Education is for the whole being, and, yes, damn it all, carpenters and plumbers have souls too, and because of their work they “need” poetry even more than white collar workers do.

  • thomistica

    Wonderful essay. That last sentence wrapped up everything so well.

    Just a few comments. Those Catholic schools that are on board with Common Core need to be surveyed systematically to understand their rationales for adopting it, or even parts of it. Only then can they be challenged, point by point.

    I spoke with one principal of a Catholic HS, a very reasonable guy, who said that his school can maintain control over the curriculum. Taking the long view, I’m not sure he (or rather the dioceses) appreciates the great dangers of federal interventions in education. It may seem innocuous now, but just wait. Take a look at Canada for a model of how things can move even further along than they have in the U.S.

    Catholic education is alive and well, thank you, and doesn’t need Statist “.guidance”. If anything, standards in Catholic education should be set even higher than they have been. The purpose of Catholic education is to create well-rounded, whole individuals with strong intellects and character. It’s not career preparation, it’s life preparation. Satsify the latter and the career concerns will take care of themselves.

    There are additional dangers lurking in discussions of federal setting of standards for higher education, another Very Bad Idea.

    The Catholic hierarchy needs to assert itself much more strongly in all such matters, including ones that will probably prove related, such as ENDA. Which a bunch of Republican senators (including Pat Toomey, apparently a Catholic) recently endorsed, suggesting that we can no longer rely on that party to secure religious liberty. We’re relying on the hierarchy to provide leadership. Whether it will be forthcoming is entirely unknown.

  • Greg Fazzari

    As a Catholic School educator, we never compromise our faith. We have decided as professionals to take all the good we can from the Common Core (and there is some good), utilize the good, and work around that which is not useful. We realize that the Common Core will affect many aspects of education including textbooks and proficiency tests. Thus, it is not worth-while to stick our heads into the sand – but rather to work within the framework we are given to make all of education better. It is always our goal to know the National and State guidelines – and always meet or succeed them. This can be done without compromising our faith. Might we even participate in the discussion and help improve and perfect the standards? It is part of being leaven within society.

    • ColdStanding

      The point, rather, is not that you can’t take the good but that this initiative will place the power into the hands of those not likely to be favorable to the cause of Catholic religious education, to force you to take the objectively bad. You’ll do the best with what you are given, to be sure, but that is hardly cause for celebration.

      • Greg Fazzari

        Whose celebrating? What?

        • ColdStanding

          Celebrating; boasting; high-five’n; confident in one’s capacity to overcome adversity; bravado with regards to your ability to shepherd your charges through the rapids down stream on the river Common Core you are commencing to voyage.

          Who refers to yourself and whomever else is included when you us “we” in your comment.

          • Greg Fazzari

            Correction noted. And do we have the charge to be a leaven in society? Are we still of the Old Testament, where we build barriers around ourselves and hide – trying to keep ourselves pure? Can we “go out, and make disciples”, even within the tumultuous waters of secular education? Is it possible to join the dialogue, instead of running from it? The Common Core is one-more in a long standing series of “educational fixes” that we have experienced. I think we will survive it.

            • slainte

              In June of this year, my Catholic grammar school in Manhattan closed forever. It did not survive the changes.
              The Church has never been the fortress you allude to. It has always engaged the world in proactive mission work, building hospitals, schools, universities, homeless shelters, food kitchens, orphanages, adoption centers, its priests and nuns have tended God’s flock wherever they presented in the world, in the prisons and even the battle fields. Vatican II, a pastoral council, does not define the totality of the Church whose tradition is 2000 years old. For two millenia, Catholicism has gone out and made disciples.

    • slainte

      Where is your backbone Mr. Fazzari? that you are so inclined to roll over and capitulate so quickly.
      This Catholic asks you to Stand for Truth, Stand for Beauty, Stand for Goodness…..Stand in defense of Catholicism and God. Please.

      • Greg Fazzari

        slainte. I have read every document on education ever published by the Catholic Church since Vatican II. Have you? Common Core may not be for everybody. If it bothers you, stay away from it. The Math section is far from perfect – but it has some good points. We can easily implement those parts and supplement where necessary. Coming from an understanding of what the Common Core has – we will be better able to judge textbooks and tests in the future, and recognize where supplementation is necessary. How is THAT not having a backbone?????

        • slainte

          You said. “I have read every document on education ever published by the Catholic Church since Vatican II. Have you?”

          If you will list each of them, I will respond accordingly.

          You said, “Common Core may not be for everybody. If it bothers you, stay away from it.”

          Children in my family attend Catholic schools, I therefore have a stake in the outcome of this venture. So, no thank you, I decline to “stay away from it”.

          You said, “The Math section is far from perfect – but it has some good points.

          “Some good points” in comparison to what? What substantive materials are you yielding in order to meet standards that, at best, qualify a student for a community college but not a university? Will your students require remedial education to correct for deficiencies resulting from Common Core? Please take a moment to review Emmet McGroarty and Jane Robbins’ white paper of May 2012 entitled “Controlling Education from the Top, Why Common Core is Bad for America”. In particular, please see the relevant sections which attend to Common Core’s intrusion on the privacy of students and their families. (p. 18)

          http://pioneerinstitute.org/download/controlling-education-from-the-top/

          You said, “We can easily implement those parts and supplement where necessary. Coming from an understanding of what the Common Core has – we will be better able to judge textbooks and tests in the future, and recognize where supplementation is necessary.”

          Mr. Fazzari, Common Core is copyrighted material which is subject to a public license. You do not appear to be permitted to change one iota of this program, although your state or district can ADD content of 15 percent of teaching time. Of course if your state or district adds 15 percent without consulting you or your Catholic school….your options to further supplement the curriculum are foreclosed.

          http://www.nasbe.org/wp-content/uploads/Opportunity-Challenge-the-15-Rule1.pdf

          Here is the Common Core notice regarding Copyright and License. Please note that NO party involved with Common Core appears to bear any liability whatsoever to a student or his/her family in the event the outcome of Common Core impairs a student’s education or for any other reason. Why no accountability?

          http://www.corestandards.org/public-license

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          This License extends to the Common Core State Standards only and not to the examples. A number of the examples are comprised of materials that are not subject to copyright, such as due to being in the public domain, and others required NGA Center and CCSSO to obtain permission for their use from a third party copyright holder.

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          Miscellaneous:

          This License shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the District of Columbia, without regard to conflicts principles, and as applicable, US federal law. A court of competent jurisdiction in Washington, DC shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any disputes regarding this License, and consent to the personal and subject matter jurisdiction, and venue, of such court is irrevocably given.

          If any provision of this License is invalid or unenforceable under applicable law, it shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remainder of the terms of this License, and such provision shall be reformed to the minimum extent necessary to make such provision valid and enforceable.

          No term or provision of this License shall be deemed waived and no breach consented to unless such waiver or consent shall be in writing and signed by authorized representatives of NGA Center and CCSSO.

          You said, How is THAT not having a backbone?????

          You tell me after you consider whether Common Core is optimal for your students and is respectful of you and your duties as a teacher who cares about his students.

    • Joe Catholic

      Staying with the Common Core IS sticking your head in the sand to what is at stake for the future of Catholic education. Our faith IS our Common Core. Harvest the Catholic faith that returns to a model Catholic education. Don’t pick and salvage scraps from the dung heap of a society that embraces a culture of death. Lead–don’t follow!

      • Greg Fazzari

        Joe – cut me some slack! You have evidently read all of the Common Core, and found nothing useful. Good for you. I have read all of the math section, and found some useful, some not so useful. It reads a lot like every other “revision of our math curriculum” that I have been reading since the “new math” of the 70’s. I do not fear these documents as you evidently do.

    • Albee

      As a former Catholic school educator, public school educator (with a MA in Curriculum and Instruction), and now homeschooling educator, I would suggest you study the history of the U.S. public school system, its history in regards to Catholic education, and its continued influence to control, if not squelch, home education. The history of public schools and the “makers and shakers” who set the goals and agenda for the education of American children, has not been fully taught in colleges of education. And if teachers of any “system” really knew this history it would definitely make one think twice or three times to what they were committing their life and energy. The socialist and communistic influence is strong, but goes unnoticed by the majority of educators. Anyone who has gone through a teacher preparation program knows biased tripe that is pumped out by so called

      professors of education. (paper tigers…) who constantly try to reinvent the wheel.

      Please do some research….and don’t make excuses for “going with the flow”.

      Our FAITH is constantly under attack .

      “It is always our goal to know the National and State guidelines – and always meet or succeed them. This can be done without compromising our faith. Might we even participate in the discussion and help improve and perfect the standards? It is part of being leaven within society.”
      REALLY???? You say you won’t compromise “our faith”….but you already have
      just by pronouncing your pride in your “ability” to resist.

      • Greg Fazzari

        My my… I think I can match your degrees and your experience. Catholic teachers are not quite as dim-witted as many believe. Read my post again. Did I say we “embrace” these things. No! We learn of them because it is part of being a good professional. Is this ALL we do? No. I have read every document on Catholic Education written by the Church. Have you? Learning about the Common Core can be done without compromising our Catholic principles.

        I am a Math teacher. The math sections are mediocre…some good, some not so good. Our English teacher is far more critical. I trust her judgment. We are not “afraid” of such documents. We read them, learn from them, and look to see if there is anything useful.

        It is amazing how easily you speak of my pride…with one simple post. May I suggest you re-read your own post and consider your own pride?

    • Ford Oxaal

      Catholic educators in our area seem to be anything but Catholic. We are learning TEN TIMES more philosophy and theology (not to mention math, history, literature, art, music, drama, Latin!!) at a local Christian, non-denominational school steeped in the classics. And that’s just subject matter. How about speaking skills, debating skills, the use of reason, rhetorical skills, logic, etc. I urge you as a Catholic educator to consider pushing a switch to a classics program with a Catholic worldview. Social Studies is code for “value neutral” pabulum.

      • Greg Fazzari

        Ford – and thus we get to the crux of the matter. Catholics who are Anti-Catholic School, and choose to sit the sidelines and critique, instead of rolling up their sleeves and making the Catholic school everything Christ wants it to be. Thank you for your honesty. Greatest way I know of destroying Catholic schools – is for good Catholics to abandon them, instead of fighting for them.

        • Ford Oxaal

          We fought for many many years. In the end, we decided not to sacrifice anymore of our children to the world of Catholic daycare and coloring books. We still fight for Catholic schools — new ones. So like I said, it starts with getting a Catholic curriculum. You don’t really have a Catholic school without a Catholic curriculum.

          • Greg Fazzari

            Agreed!

        • Tony

          Good friends, neighbors of ours and fellow homeschoolers, tried to send one of their daughters to the local Catholic school. They gave that up when a couple of the girls in the class decided, while the teacher was out, to pull their pants and underpants down and gyrate and embarrass everybody else. Their daughter complained about it, and THEN life for her was perfectly miserable. The administration didn’t do anything about it. We have kids — NOT for sacrificing them to the beast. If you want Catholic homeschoolers to return to Catholic schools, maybe you should learn from them why they have turned away from you. You might start by admitting that you use secularizing textbooks and that you hire secularist teachers who see nothing wrong with same-sex pseudogamy or abortion or fornication or atheism, and so on. Stop using the Beast’s playbook.

          • Greg Fazzari

            Tony – sad situation. There was a time when I would match story for story “Catholic school stories” versus “home-school stories”, but found the exercise futile. I can tell you “home-school horror stories”, but what does this accomplish?

            I say get involved. A community with a great Catholic school is a blessed community.

        • Art Deco

          Sorry, chum. The model depended on the religious orders to supply teachers who lived communally on small stipends and who were committed enough Catholics at one point of their life to take vows. When you have only a few thousand teaching sisters in a country with 20 million Mass-going Catholics, you cannot maintain much of a school network.

          • musicacre

            I think you’re all just a bit wrong–the part of the equation you’re missing is the Bishop! We had Remi de Roo and if you know anything about him, I need say no more. We would have supported his Catholic schools if we wanted our children to depart the faith and embrace the Pantheism he was promoting. How could there be any homeschool horror stories departing a system like that? I once saw a prof from the U of Seattle at a Catholic Homeschooing Conference in the Pacific Northwest, and he said if the child stayed home all day and just played cards, he would be better off than his counter parts at school. (His wife homeschooled theirs, so he put his money where his mouth was)

            My point is that the bishop decides the character of the school, period. Even his lack of input will decide it, because it will go to the dogs in that case also. In the neighboring diocese, a courageous arch bishop by the name of Carney, actually risked being extremely attacked by closing a school that threatened to disobey his guiding principles (which was Orthodoxy). They were going to unionize so they could redefine hiring practices, content of curriculum, etc. Amazingly, all the parents supported him and they successfully re-opened a short time later and he went on to build many more faithful schools right until he died. If I lived there…perhaps I wouldn’t have home schooled.

    • Adam__Baum

      “meet or succeed them”

      I believe the third word in the above quoted phrase should be exceed, no?

    • Tony

      Greg, that cannot be done if it prescinds from a fundamentally false view of what a child is, and what human fulfillment looks like. The literature / writing section is appalling. I do not want my college students to read poetry in order to say clever things about its rhetoric. I want them, while noticing the poet’s strokes of art, to love the poetry, to meditate upon it, to allow it to enter their souls.
      Education in the humanities cannot be utilitarian. If it is, then to hell with it. I do not want young people to have a “better” utilitarian education in the humanities — which is another way of saying that I do not want more effective young people trained in the inhuman. Better a bad education in inhumanity than a good one.

      • Greg Fazzari

        Tony – I don’t think I disagree with anything you have said. We Catholic educators are not quite as dumb-witted as many think we are.

        • Tony

          Greg — I’m glad we agree, but would you please tell me if at your school you do the following things?
          1. Teach (in high school) good surveys of English and American literature, so that your students don’t come to me in college and tell me that they have NEVER HEARD THE NAMES of Milton, Chaucer, Donne, Pope, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, and Browning?
          2. Give boys literature to read that they will actually enjoy and that will inspire them to be brave and chivalrous men, rather than dumping feminist agitprop on them all the time (Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan, Kate Chopin)?
          3. Remember the BEAUTIFUL in literature, rather than dumping on students one miserific modern dystopian vision after another? I love the novel The Lord of the Flies. It’s not for teenagers. It’s downhill from there.
          4. Teach grammar systematically in the early years, so that I don’t get college students who cannot tell me what a participle is? And I do mean systematically. That will require teachers who know the subject. My experience is that they do not.
          5. Integrate the teaching of literature with the Catholic vision, so that, um, you actually will be reading authors like Hopkins, Lewis, and Tolkien?
          6. Ditch ALL politically correct textbooks (and that means yours too, Joy Hakim)? Teach history as history and not as secular legend?

          • ColdStanding

            Can you recommend a home school program you believe meets these criteria? I understand if you are reluctant to endorse any one program.

            • musicacre

              Kolbe Academy is great for the classics!! Sorry, I had to comment! We did it for a number of years….

              • ColdStanding

                Thank you for the recommendation. I have visited their website.

                • Beth

                  Check out Mother Of Divine Grace. Excellent classical curriculum.
                  Kolbe and Seton are also top notch–true scholarship from all and as Catholic as Catholic can be!

          • Greg Fazzari

            Tony – we are far from perfect, but we do a majority of your list. And so, we strive to improve. Please get involved in your local Catholic school! Try to help them improve!!

          • Art Deco

            1. Teach (in high school) good surveys of English and American
            literature, so that your students don’t come to me in college and tell
            me that they have NEVER HEARD THE NAMES of Milton, Chaucer, Donne, Pope,
            Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, and Browning?

            I am a contemporary of yours, Dr. Esolen, who attended an adequate high school with a mess of available AP options. We had Shakespeare, yes but none of the remainder. Anthologies with authors like O. Henry, G.B. Shaw, Ray Bradbury, Dickens, Edgar Lee Masters, Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, F.Scott FitzGerald, bits of poetry. A very odd and ambitious elementary school teacher I had read her class selections of Chaucer.

          • musicacre

            I actually had to burn my Atwood books to not commit the sin of passing them on to others….As a newly wed my hubby had given a set to me for Christmas, because the helpful woman in the bookstore thought surely I would enjoy them if I were female!

  • Cathy

    The odd thing is, if Catholic schools were to adopt a new path in education, I would have it go back to the education that my mom received in her small town Catholic Academy where they were taught by nuns in habits and priests. Back in the 70’s, I remember being subject to weird experiments in education – especially in regards to reading and arithmetic, where the expectation was to pull cards and do the assignments. I loved reading, so I would simply select books to read, the cards were nothing in comparison but nasty chores. I managed to escape them by crawling under the table with a new book. Unfortunately, I nearly failed reading for not doing the “assignments” which really were never assigned. I barely remember the teacher, save my mother’s fight with her when her daughter who’s SAT scores had her reading at the ninth grade level in the fourth grade was about to fail her reading class for that year. Common Core seems to remove both the soul and the salt of education. It not only reduces the child, it looks to the bottom of the floor for teachers. Any teacher worth his or her salt will end up fighting this. Unfortunately, we forget the past. It is not enough for a socialist/communist state to force religion from the school, it requires that all salty educators are to be eliminated as well. I no longer am comforted by those who look at the rise of the USSR or Nazi Germany and repeat to themselves that it can’t happen here. It has been happening here and it is currently happening in hyper-mode.

    • Adam__Baum

      “Back in the 70’s, I remember being subject to weird experiments in education – especially in regards to reading and arithmetic”
      Oh yes, “the new math”.

      Does anybody know if CC develops proficiency in Ebonics? If they are going to eliminate “literature”, how then will we provide time for the youth to read “the V**ina Monologues”?

  • oldsterone

    Another catastrophe is the IB program that some Catholic schools are taking up. Why would a Catholic school take up a program dreamed into being by the UN, and abortion lobby?

  • WRBaker

    Conform or else. Ultimately this seems to be what is coming. Public schools are rushing to master CC with mandatory weekend sessions, etc. Catholic schools, led by diocesan education offices and NCEA, are following suit (or soon will be).
    Having recently asked a public school administrators if students will continue to have to learn their multiplication tables by heart, she replied in the negative. Two years ago a Catholic school principal said the same thing, her reason was that students can find the answers on-line (she also said the same thing about basic Catholic prayers).
    Some point to other countries doing better in math, etc, than we do not realizing that it’s because they work harder and don’t put up with the nonsense our government schools do. In Germany, students test to see if they are smart enough to head for university. If not (and the parents agree), there is another track for them to become workers in factories, etc. This seems to be what CC is aiming at for everyone.
    I have seen how CC math is taught in a Catholic high school and it’s apparent that the class is really just a survey, with no depth. (Likewise, there is no depth in Religion classes because Social Action continues as the predominant theme.) Remedial math will probably not only continue but be worse. (As for Religion, it will remain tragically wanting.)

  • Joe Catholic

    As this growing mountain of evidence clearly shows a threat to our Catholic schools, why is it falling on the deaf ears of so many diocesan leaders and Catholic school administrators. While bringing the concerns posted on this site and similar ones, it’s as if my diocese doesn’t even want to hear it. Pray for those (especially in leadership roles) to thoughtfully consider what is at stake here, and to have the will to do something positive about it.

  • Joe Catholic

    Who is “Stand for Children” and why are they setting up shop in states across the nation with pro-Common Core messaging? I think there has to be something more to the true agenda of this organization.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Common Core is not compatible with Education on either the high or low end of the student spectrum. On the high end it will produce boredom and dropouts, on the low end it will produce frustration and dropouts. I suspect the dropout rate may well reach 25% under Common Core- the other 75% of students will be well served by it, but the 10% at the top and the 10% at the bottom won’t be. And that’s not just Catholic students, but public school as well.

    • Elena0411

      The Common Core does not take into account children with special needs; they are required to meet the very same standards as all other children.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Yep. Found out about that in my recent IEP meeting. I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than failing every test because you were taught at developmental level and tested at age level.

        • Elena0411

          I don’t see how a Catholic school can continue to accept state vouchers for special education if they are unable to grant a high school diploma to the voucher students. Here is a link to a Huffington Post article with the Secretary of Education as to Common Core’s impact on special needs students.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/27/arne-duncan-special-education_n_3819045.html

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I can’t put my child in a Catholic school because none of the ones around here can deal with his disabilities. And now Common Core has hit my public school system, and I’m afraid he’s going to be so discouraged that he won’t work in school ever.

  • MPI

    It’s important to discuss the particulars of the Common Core as folks more familiar with it than me will do; but I think it’s important to remember that at its “core” it is a violation of the principle of subsidiarity. Until I see an argument that having national (global eventually?) standards is not a violation of that key principle, than I will just assume the Common Core is a train wreck for children, families and our culture.

  • Pat Schwarz

    This needs to be brought to the attention of the Bishops and examined by them, with “genuine” Catholic educators explaining the dangers. If they nix it for our Catholic Schools, it’s a done deal. Otherwise, it will be one fight at a time, some losing some winning. The NCEA shouldn’t have the power to overrule the Bishops or the will of concerned, educated parents. What happens to all of the textbooks being used now, if this is implemented across the board? This is insane. Our Bishops are teachers of the faith. Therefore, Common Core should be one of their priorities since it undermines the tenets of a catholic education. I pray this will happen SOON.

  • groth

    the answer to the lifeboat exercise is quite simple….toss the common core supporter overboard. Everybody wins.

  • Deacon Ed

    I just happened to hear Barbara McGuiggan discussing this issue on her openline program on EWTN radio today. Common Core is the brainchild of Bill Gates, so it’s something to be wary of and avoided…..at all costs!

    • Adam__Baum

      Remember when he told us how wonderful Windows ME was ?

  • Tony

    Is it possible to get everything wrong? Don’t even fallible human beings get some things right? The answer is, yes, it is indeed possible to get everything wrong, if you start from wrong premises and then work through them with ruthless and reality-denying logic. Indeed, if you start from wrong premises and you are single-minded, it is not only possible to get everything wrong; it is almost inevitable.
    Here are the wrong premises underlying the CC standards regarding literature and writing:
    1. Studying literature is all about analyzing “text”. It is not about the thing, but about somebody’s rhetoric about the thing.
    2. Children are information-processing machines. We read in order to process information.
    3. Grammar should be taught not systematically, in the early years, but piecemeal.
    4. You can learn to write well by following a formula.
    5. What’s important in argumentative writing is not truth, but the presentation of “evidence.”
    6. Poetry and fiction are less important than non-informational “text”.
    7. You can profitably read a piece of a literary “text” and say clever things about it without reading the entire work of art from which it comes.
    8. What’s most important in writing is not clarity, but the maintenance of a sufficiently elevated “tone”.
    9. Literature should be taught in a scatter-shot manner, at best by arbitrarily chosen topics, and not as a part of a civilization’s heritage.
    10. It is not important to lead students to see what is beautiful and to love it.
    It is a curriculum designed by machines, for machines, about machines.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Well done. And don’t forget, history is merely a set of statistics about an animal species which happens to be able to manipulate symbols. Intelligence is artificial — nothing a good Lisp programmer can’t replicate.

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  • John Albertson

    Why did the Archdiocese of New York impose the Common Core on its faltering school system? This could be the final blow to the declining number of Catholic schools in a once vibrant archdiocese. Far as I know, no parents or major Catholic intellectuals or pedagogues were consulted. How can Cardinal Dolan explain this?

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  • Kathy Anderson

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, OUR CHILDREN ARE GIFTS. T
    HANK YOU.

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  • Christian LeBlanc

    D.C. continues to confuse training with education; and consumers with citizens.

  • tito

    Private Catholic Schools are trying to produce competent future leaders through intensive instruction with moral values integration to different learning areas.

  • Cahill

    Unfortunately, the coverage of the Common Core State Standards in your online magazine reflects a gross misinterpretation of their development and purpose. They are the logical next step to the standards movement that began more than 20 years ago. While it makes sense to question the standards movement and it’s impact on education, the idea that standards such as the Common Core are somehow un-Catholic is ridiculous and implies that Catholicism is weak and flimsy when confronted by basic math and literary concepts. Is your faith really that flimsy? Catholic schools should only adopt them if it makes sense to their educational mission. My guess is that on a broader policy level there are advocates pushing for the common core in Catholic schools as a necessary first step in advocating for more choice and federal funding in the face of widespread school closings. In an age of accountability you can’t push for choice without common benchmarks and assessments to gauge performance. This is exactly what conservatives are pushing at the state level.

  • homeschooling2

    why was my response taken out

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