The Iron Cage of the Common Core?

classroom

Writing in the early 1900s, sociologist Max Weber depicted the coming modern world as an “iron cage” in which a caste of functionaries and civil servants monopolize power over the lives of citizens.  He warned that the emerging bureaucracies would concentrate large amounts of power in a small number of people—creating a technically ordered, rigid, dehumanized society—eventually trapping all individuals in systems based on efficiency, rational calculation and control.

Weber’s warnings are helpful to recall when considering the response by parents to the federal implementation of the Common Core in the nation’s schools.  Since Crisis began alerting parents of Catholic school children that more than 100 dioceses across the country have implemented the Common Core, parents have mobilized—forming Facebook groups, creating advocacy organizations, contacting their parish priests, their bishops, and their diocesan school superintendents—in an attempt to learn more about these new standards that will be driving the curriculum at their children’s schools.  Yet, as Weber would have predicted, many of these parents feel powerless in the face of what has become a huge bureaucracy in Catholic K-12 education.

Unfortunately, parents are getting little help from the educational advocates, lobbyists and policy makers. In an attempt to allay parental concerns, the National Catholic Educational Association issued a position statement on the Common Core on May 31, 2013 reassuring parents that “The Common Core standards in no way compromises the Catholic identity or educational program of a Catholic school.”  Concluding that “the Common Core standards are not a curriculum,” NCEA reassured parents that “A curriculum includes what is taught, when it is taught, how it is taught and what materials to use…. None of these items are included in the Common Core standards. For Catholic schools, all of these elements will continue to be determined by diocesan superintendents, principals, and teachers working to meet the needs of their students.”

But, many parents are not reassured—they know that standards drive the curriculum.  Even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that in a speech he gave on September 2, 2010.

In his speech, Duncan celebrated the “beginning of the development of a new and much improved generation of assessments for America’s schoolchildren … one more milestone, testifying to the transformational change now taking hold in our nation’s schools.” For Duncan, “the Common Core standards, coupled with the new generation of assessments, will help put an end to the insidious practice of establishing 50 different goalposts for educational success.”  Duncan added that “in the years ahead, a child in Mississippi will be measured against the same standard of success as a child in Massachusetts.” Toward that goal, Duncan concluded that “the new assessments will help drive the development of a rich curriculum, instruction that is tailored to student needs, and multiple opportunities throughout the school year to assess student learning.” (Emphasis added.)

Assessments always drive curriculum.  The Secretary of Education knows that—and parents know that also.  When the federal government is developing the assessments that are being implemented in the nation’s Catholic schools, the curriculum will of course be created to prepare students to perform well on these assessments.

Even the National Catholic Educational Association had to acknowledge this fact in their May 31st statement.  While the organization maintains that the “Common Core standards are not curriculum,” the position statement also acknowledges that “The Common Core represents a fundamental shift in the teaching and learning process. The Common Core establishes clear, measurable goals for students that assist teachers in making instructional decisions.”

In an effort to coordinate a response to Catholic parents’ concerns about the Common Core, the Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools is co-hosting a conference on “Catholic Concerns About the Common Core” in Elberon, New Jersey next month (at the Stella Maris Retreat Center on November 5-6).  But, parents are not invited to attend the conference.  Rather, as Fr. Stravinskas, the Director of the Catholic Education Foundation, a grassroots organization founded “to preserve and expand Catholic schools,” recently told Michael Voris of ChurchMilitantTV, “those directly involved with the decisions” on the Common Core were invited to discuss the implementation of the standards.  Fr. Stravinskas said that the decision to invite the “decision-makers” on the implementation of the Common Core was based on the “Catholic principle of subsidiarity.” While parents might disagree with that—considering that they are the “first educators” of their children, those invited to the conference were diocesan administrators involved in education, Catholic school principals, and professors of education from Catholic colleges and universities.  Claiming that it was a “phased approach” Fr. Stravinskas told Michael Voris that parents would be involved later—once the superintendents and administrators had “the tools they needed.”

Many parents are feeling powerless—much like Max Weber would have predicted—in the face of what has become an overwhelming bureaucracy.  They might have expected a bureaucratic response from the federal government, but few would have expected such inflexibility from their own Catholic school leaders.  Now, as the nation is moving to a predictable, efficient, and reliable form of delivering educational “products” through the federalization of K-12 education, we can expect—as Weber promised us—that such extreme rationality may result in the “disenchantment” of our Catholic schools also.

Anne Hendershott

By

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).

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  • Beth

    Fr. Stravinskas is not a friend of parents. He has also bad-mouthed home schooling. I do not trust him or any other person who does not advocate parental participation in ANY decision involving children.

    • musicacre

      “Mere creatures of the State” (children) has been an acceptable concept to American politicians for decades! And apparently Germany had that idea over a hundred years ago.

      • Adam__Baum

        It was also true I believe in England and other feudal systems, where the crown “owned” the children as subjects, and granted you the privilege of caring for and raising your own issue.

        I seem to recall that this concept had a Latin name under English Common Law.

  • Fr. Phillip W. De Vious

    Fr. Peter Stravinskas has been a tireless and long-suffering advocate for the highest Catholic standards in all levels of education. It is perplexing to me why suspicion would be cast on him or his organization for hosting a conference for education leaders. The paranoid style of the uninformed pious is a grave hindrance to addressing actual issues afflicting Catholic education. As a pastor, I must tell you that often parents–yes even devout ones-who are woefully under informed, leading to a watering down of the demands and content of authentically Catholic education. And while home-schooling isn’t to be dismissed, I have observed many times the situation of parent-educators being woefully unprepared, but arrogantly convinced of their abilities to undertake a task they were not capable of intellectually or psychologically.

    • Bryan

      Father, are saying that common core does not represent an issue for Catholic education? On one hand, you claim that parents lead to a watering-down of authentic Catholic education, yet are also a problem if they choose to home school? Calling parents paranoid, uninformed pious seems a bit inflammatory to me. Could you clarify?

      • Jeff Peters

        Common Core is a test that only public schools can take. Only silliness can make someone thing it could ever affect private schools when they are strictly not allowed to take the test.

    • Jacqui Haffner

      Father, what have you done to educate and inform the “uniformed pious”? Is your parish like so many others that leave adult education to the individual or does your religious education regularly offer adult classes that give parents the tools to raise Catholic children and enhance the adults’ own spiritual life?

      • hombre111

        Actually, a good question. But any pastor knows that only a fraction of parishioners show up to adult education classes. For instance, in the 2,000 family parish where I am sometimes asked to teach, the usual 70 people show up.

        • Adam__Baum

          Is that their fault, yours or just a reflection that people don’t have as much leisure time as you imagine?

        • Art Deco

          You’re doing the teaching? Why would low attendance be upsetting to anyone serious?

          • hombre111

            I am familiar with how many people show up in several parishes. Usually a fraction and usually the same few. If you are trying to reach more people, I guess the sermon is the only time when you have lots of people. But Catholic attention spans during Mass are very short, and people get antsy if the sermon goes beyond ten minutes. A catch-22 in every direction.

            • Art Deco

              Sermons are generally more substantive than they are in liberal protestant congregations, but there is still a notable deficit of concision and meat. Of course they are antsy.

      • Fr. Phillip W. De Vous

        Quite a bit, actually. But I don’t control what people choose to do at home, which very often isn’t the Catholic way of life. Families don’t want hear that often the drawbridge of their family life is lowered, letting in the world to a most deleterious effect.

        • musicacre

          I guess you have to just keep encouraging them to to pray the rosary, (some might see that as uninformed piety) as a wonderful family prayer and the centering of life in the home each evening. If you feel it’s uncool to be repetitious, that is your job. Similar to parents. We keep repeating the same thing over and over, and eventually, with a bit of grace, it sticks! I’ve seen very cool parents who brag they don’t repeat or nag, and their kids all left the faith! My kids recall fondly how insistent and annoying I was when they were young, it’s like a badge of honor. No one is asking you to control families (leave that to Obama,) but when you constantly plant seeds it will be surprising years later to find which ones took.

    • Anne Hendershott

      Dear Fr. DeVous – you are correct that Fr. Stravinskas has worked tirelessly to improve Catholic schools. I am also grateful for all Fr. Stravinskas has done on behalf of the unborn–he truly has been courageous in his work on behalf of the pro-life movement. But, parents do indeed feel left out in the decision making process surrounding the common core. I hear from them every day. Anything you or other priests, bishops and Catholic school administers can do to involve parents in the decision making would be most welcome.

      • tamsin

        Claiming that it was a “phased approach” Fr. Stravinskas told Michael Voris that parents would be involved later—once the superintendents and administrators had “the tools they needed.” That is, rhetorical tools they will need to beat back the legitimate concerns of parents and move forward with Common Core.

        • Adam__Baum

          “parents would be involved later”

          Uh, no. Delayed is denied.

      • Molly

        Thank you Anne, I hope Dr. DeVous takes you up on this offer. Because Many parents around the nation, when questioning their principals, superintendents, state Catholic conference ed directors, are coming up against a wall of silence. I cannot get the people in charge of accreditation of TX diocesan schools to answer my questions about CCSS being required for accreditation. What are we to conclude then, when we face this wall of silence? Why do the educators deserve my trust, then, when they refuse to engage with me?

        Moreover, this parallels the rampant progressivism that comes from the pulpit. Why should we trust our (arch)bishops and pastors when they bring in Alinksy organizing groups (C.O.P.S./Metro) to Respect Life activities?http://www.satodayscatholic.com/RespLife.aspx. When they cut funding for Project Rachel and fund immigration reform activities instead? Why should we trust these clergy when they make these decisions? Thank you, but my family will obey the 5th precept of the Church outside the diocese, and seek valid sacraments from those who do NOT preach modernism from the pulpit.

        There would be no need for an SSPX-type response to Catholic diocesan schools if those in charge had not abused their positions and trusted secular education experts to mold Catholic schools. Excluding parents from meetings purported to involve “stakeholders” and “decision makers” will further erode trust between parents and schools.

        Fr DeVos, thank you for your efforts. But intellectual elitism is abhorrent either from the left or the right. Please do not shame those who exercise educational choices that outside diocesan schools.

      • Jeff Peters

        ” But, parents do indeed feel left out in the decision making process surrounding the common core” Proof or retract. Common Core has nothing to do with non-public schools, which makes your article extremely inappropriate.

    • Adam__Baum

      “I have observed many times the situation of parent-educators being woefully unprepared, but arrogantly convinced of their abilities to undertake a task they were not capable of intellectually or psychologically.”

      We also find this affliction among professional teachers. On standardized test scores, education majors are usually among the lowest scoring group?

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-37245744/heres-the-nations-easiest-college-major/

    • hombre111

      Excellent, Father. My ultra-conservative state evaluates the work of its public schools, but the home-schoolers get a pass. So nobody really knows how well they are doing. Around the fifth grade, a few self-deluded homeschoolers finally give up. It was then the task of my sister, who teaches fifth grade, to bring them up to snuff.

      • Elise

        So your sister had to bring up to speed a few kids who fell through the cracks in her opinion. (And she may have a built-in bias.) Homeschoolers are actively recruited by colleges because they perform so well. Their test scores are far above average compared to public school kids. The evidence is overwhelmingly. Your sister’s anecdotal experience doesn’t change that.

      • russell owl

        “My ultra-conservative state evaluates the work of its public schools, but the home-schoolers get a pass. ” “It was then the task of my sister, who teaches fifth grade, to bring them up to snuff.”

        propaganda, get real. homeschoolers run circles around “snuff”. they usually have good manners and are polite also. ” so nobody really knows how well they are doing”… creating a mystery inside a conundrum, eh hombre?

        why would you even care mr. ” ultra conservative state” ? it’s a total minority, why do you care, hombre?

      • Art Deco

        There are no ‘ultra-conservative’ states.

        • hombre111

          Whoof!

    • Julie

      Maybe you should do some research. I would challenge you to find any other opposing research.

      “Surveying 11,739 homeschooling students and their families from all 50 states through 15 independent testing services, Homeschool Progress Report 2009: Academic Achievement and Demographics is the most comprehensive study of homeschool academic achievement to date. The results support the large existing body of research on homeschool academic achievement and show homeschoolers, on average, scoring 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests. The study also found that the achievement gaps common to public schools were practically insignificant in the homeschool community.”

      http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/ray2009/default.asp

      • Adam__Baum

        Here’s Julie at the plate. The pitcher serves a big fat hanging slow ball, she swings and puts it deep in nosebleed territory of center field.

        • Molly

          Julie is one of my favorite designated hitters! Way to bring the data.

          • Adam__Baum

            That particular swing was worthy of the Bambino.
            Can I assume that you used the lower case to imply a rejection of that abominable contrivance of the junior circuit that extends careers by allowing to play when you should be retired?

            • Molly

              ha ha, no not deliberate but completely agree with you. unfortunatel having lived in 3 AL cities I have reluctantly tolerated the DH. make the pitchers hit!

              • Adam__Baum

                Amen, Molly, Amen. I live in the AA town of a national affiliate, so I have no immediate worries of seeing this abomination rear it’s ugly head. Of course, my old area was a AAA affiliate of a National team, but it went 60 miles South and they replaced it with a AAA American team, but for now…

    • yardleykc

      How is a mother or father not “psychologically” capable of teaching his or her child? What “psychological” tools are necessary for this task? Should a parent assist with homework? Is there a “psychological” assessment that teachers in Catholic schools must undergo?

      • Fr. Phillip W. De Vous

        Really? Is that a serious question? Observing any number of daily occurrences could answer your question.

    • russell owl

      “paranoid style of the uninformed pious”

      With all due respect Father, it is precisely this dismissive and condescending atitude that leads many to mistrust. Having read a monstrous gigantor of materials and documents on this subject as so many parents have, your tone resembles that of a common core quisling.

    • musicacre

      I’d like to invite you to meet our children, next time you are in Canada! My husband and I may be woefully not prepared intellectually or psychologically in our abilities to undertake the task of homeschooling our children, but spiritually we were. So therefore when an add popped up in a Catholic paper (at least 14 years ago) that headlined: ” Do You Want Your Children To Learn About Safe Sex, Or Do You Want to Homeschool?” we were open enough to look into it. We had prayed for an alternative to the swill that was being served up to our children, and were intensely grateful when this popped up on our radar. I can tell you that most of the young teache, in this area are hardly prepared enough to defend an argument, let alone teach. Most of the Friday conferences they close school down in BC, is to continually give teachers tools to fend off parents, period.

      You could continue to call parents unprepared if you want, and include me in that accusation, but I don’t know if you would be embarrassed if you met my children, 3 of whom are now teaching, and never attended a school themselves.

    • Molly

      St. Joseph School Crescent Springs KY, in diocese of Covington.

      1. 8th grade core concepts

      Mathematics……………………………………………………………………………………………134
      Numbers and Computation ……………………………………………………………………….134
      Geometry and Measurement……………………………………………………………………..135
      Probability and Statistics…………………………………………………………………………..135
      Algebraic Ideas ……………………………………………………………………………………….136

      Note the absence of ALBEBRA. Also, where have I heard that phrase “algebraic thinking” before….oh yeah Common Core!

      http://sjscrescent.com/files/core_curriculum.pdf

      2. also, for those in Covington diocesan schools – note the Curriculum Guidelines Box on the Covington Diocesan Schools website – “Common Core State Standards”

      http://home.catholicweb.com/covingtoneducation/index.cfm/Newsitem?ID=84530&From=Home

      Fr. DeVous, please illuminate us, the paranoid uninformed pious.

    • Art Deco

      I have observed many times the situation of parent-educators being
      woefully unprepared, but arrogantly convinced of their abilities to
      undertake a task they were not capable of intellectually or
      psychologically.

      And this differentiates them from most parish priests how?

    • Art Deco

      The paranoid style of the uninformed pious

      We are not paranoid. Our clergy are mediocre and untrustworthy and we are sick of it.

      • Fr. Phillip W. De Vous

        There are less than 500,000 priests in the world and over a billion laity. It seems mathematically impossible that all the problems in the Church can be laid at the clergy ‘s feet. But it’s easier to be angry rather than analyze.

        • Art Deco

          I am not laying “all the problems in the Church” at the feet of the clergy. I am laying the problem of poorly executed liturgy, bad musical selections, blancmange homilies, haphazard instruction in RCIA and confirmation classes, and sexual misconduct at the feet of the clergy.

          • Fr. Phillip W. De Vous

            I’m not a party to any of those things. I now realize why confession lines are so short–there’s no sin except among the clergy. I don’t think the clergy have a monopoly on sin and failure in the faith. But it’s always easier to scapegoat.

            • Art Deco

              I neither stated nor implied that there is no sins except among the clergy nor am I scapegoating anyone.

            • Art Deco

              I am pointing out the obvious: that clergy commonly do their jobs poorly, and bollix aspects of their work that the clown clergy of the Episcopal Church do fairly competently.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    My concern for common core is not religious, as my child isn’t in Catholic school. But my child has learning disabilities. And it appears under Common Core schools are encouraged to “teach developmentally, test age based”. While that will make for better education for 85% of the students, the gifted and disabled on both sides will be set up for either failure or boredom. My son, for instance, reads at a Common Core 2nd Grade level, but will be tested at a 5th Grade level. A friend’s child reads at a college level at age 9- she will be tested at 4th Grade level. NO accommodation is being made for such students.

    • Elise

      It will also be a disaster for early elementary kids (5-8 years old) who simply develop at different stages without necessarily being LD. Already, so many children (particularly boys) are being incorrectly labeled when they just naturally
      need more time.

      • Adam__Baum

        I was a victim of that thinking circa a long time ago. Unfortunately, the perpetrators are long deceased, so I am incapable of presenting my academic credentials up their, er I mean to them.

        I was fortunate to have had one cantankerous old nun as a teacher who said she didn’t care what the secular bureaucrats said, despite the slingshot in the back pocket of my overalls. She probably wouldn’t qualify as a “teacher” these days, but she was a cagey old bird who understood kids were individuals to teach, not vessels to be poured into.

        • slainte

          Did you have anything to do with causing her “cantankerous” disposition? ……. : )

          • Adam__Baum

            Only when she told me “I’ll call your parents” and I informed her that I had scissors and knew how to use them.

            I was unable to voice my distate for coercion, so I responded like the six year old I was.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Very much One Size Fits None

    • Gail Finke

      My children went to a public Montessori elementary school. While they were there the district switched to a common curriculum, which gutted much of the Montessori program because it required all students to learn things at the same time just as CC does, and the Montessori method has its own times for certain subjects — based on Dr. Montessori’s extension research about when children have “sensitive periods” for picking up certain kinds of knowledge very quickly and easily. Common Core will, it seems to me, do away with all special teaching methods and curricula, because the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) testing will require that they all learn the same things at the same time. If I had young children now I would definitely investigate home schooling, if for no other reason than the incessant testing.

      • Jeff Peters

        She was a medical doctor, not a psychologist, and most of her claims were debunked a long time ago.

        • Gail Finke

          I’m quite aware that she was a medical doctor, and your point is? Her claims were not “debunked a long time ago,” and even if that were true it does not change my point, which is that Common Core will necessarily do away with all other methods and curricula. Do you think that a think tank working for two years has developed the most effective teaching method ever known to man? Because if not, I don’t see why using it on nearly every child in the country is a good thing.

          • Jeff Peters

            If you don’t think her claims about human development were debunked, then you have never taken a development psychology course. Piaget’s view on development were very different from Montessori, and Piaget was an actual psychologist. You trust junk science without any understanding of the truth. You have no right to criticize others until you gain some self awareness.

    • Jeff Peters

      Your child cannot “fail” a common core test. Your state most likely already had a standard test. Common Core is only a unification of standardized tests so they can be compared between states and allow colleges to have a better sense of what the states are teaching in public school.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        When his score on the standardized test required by common core is in the lowest 5%, by what standard is that not failing? Let’s just marginalize those with disabilities, after all, they don’t matter, right?

        • Jeff Peters

          We already have standardized tests. They have never affected grades and never will. These aren’t new – we’ve had them for over 30 years. This is merely a unified standardized test developed between the states to replace the ones they already have to make comparisons easier.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            In my school district, his grades have already been affected by standardized grade level testing. Common core means that the grade level testing will now be on the standardized testing- and have nothing to do with what he is actually being taught on his IEP.

            • Jeff Peters

              I’ve worked in government for a long time and your claims are not anything that could be legally true. It does not happen that way, and it is obvious that you are just making up things. Grading has nothing to do with Common Core or standardize testing. Teachers do not have access to the Common Core or any Standardize Test records.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Then why do they provide me with my son’s standardized test results in the IEP meeting?

                • Jeff Peters

                  All parents are provided their child’s standardize test scores.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    And I can easily see how those factor into my son’s “age level” report card, which is always all “Needs Improvement”.

                    It’s the teacher that is providing me with this information, so how can she do that if she does not have access to it?

                    • Jeff Peters

                      1. The standards that you are shown are not Common Core. You have not stated what test, and you have left out a lot of information. 2. The statements you have made show major holes, which suggest you are making up things or being misleading. Either way, your arguments are not on topic, have nothing to do with the topic, and are very inappropriate.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Inappropriate is a part of my special need- Asperger’s. I consider the word “inappropriate” to be a method of attempting to shut down just debate without resolution.

                      Tell me, what major holes are there in “The teacher showed me my kid’s results on standardized tests during the IEP meeting, and it’s pretty easy to see from his report card that standardized testing is being used in Beaverton public schools to judge the progress of special needs students”? Could it potentially be that I live in a school district that regardless of what YOU think the law says, is actually using standardized testing to grade students?

                    • Jeff Peters

                      Debate? You were caught in fabricating details and hiding other details. Once you are dishonest, you cannot participate in a discussion. That is how life works, and you screwed up. Now take your disruptive, fake claims elsewhere and find someone more gullible to try and fool.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      What fabrication? There was no fabrication. The detail is that my school district uses standardized tests to measure students with disabilities (and others as well) and now that common core is coming in, it is a complete recipe for a 25% dropout rate. No fake claims at all, unless you’d like to come to Beaverton to try to disprove empirical experience.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      It is well known that most special needs students aren’t given the tests to help boost test scores. It is also well known that the trend will continue under Common Core. Your claim that it was used to affect his “grade” is silly and nonsense. Special needs students are also not in the same grades as his age, and are normally put through other programs. I know because I work with them quite frequently. Most of your statements show a lot of errors that a real person involved in it would not make. Fraud is fraud.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      “It is well known that most special needs students aren’t given the tests to help boost test scores.”

                      Except, they are. Beaverton even provides an “assistant” for my child because he can’t read the question.

                      Your “well known” I can’t find in the law on common core anywhere. Can you give me a reference that says that special needs students are specifically exempt from the common core standards entirely? I’d love to have that for my next IEP meeting.

                      Just because he’s not in the same classroom under his IEP, does not mean they don’t refer to him as being in the 5th grade, nor does it mean that I don’t get a “5th Grade” standardized report card on him. In fact, he recently changed schools because the majority of his classroom was 5th graders moving up to middle school, and there weren’t enough students in the elementary school he was in, so he

                      Want to come meet my child? I’d be plenty willing to have you come visit.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      Provide the name of the state and the test you claim he took. You haven’t already because you are lying. Your statements are trollish and fabricated for attention. Looking your name up online shows a lot of professional trouble making by you, especially with very little facts and spreading a lot of myths.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      By the way, you better not claim the state you are in is Oregon, because I know for a fact that Special Needs students are exempted from their standardized test. The OAKS are a test given to Juniors and parents have been able to opt out of it for years because it is not a graduation requirement. The “OAKS Extended Assessments” Is not part of the official OAKS and is done merely to judge how special needs students are able to keep up. It is not a standardize test, and special needs students can stay in high school until their 20s to help them learn skills needed after graduating.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      OAKS Extended Assessments is for high school students, not grade school.

                      And I’m talking about the psychological hit to being judged by standards you are not being taught. Something entirely different than apparently what you’re talking about. I never said that the training wasn’t offered eventually, I said that it is affecting his report card NOW.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      OAKS are the only true Oregon state standards. There is another test that is randomly provided to individuals that is part of a world wide test, but that is not a standardized test. The test you claim with the definition you claim does not exist. It cannot exist. You would be contradicting everything on the Oregon Department of Education website, news articles, and the rest about standardize testing in Oregon.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      In other words, I’m countering the propaganda with real life experience.

                    • Ottava Rima

                      I have two special needs children in Oregon who never had a standardize test, let alone one that counted against their grades. Merely claiming something doesn’t make it true. Actual words and terms were used by the person pointing out your story doesn’t add up. You had plenty of chances to put actual terms to your claims and you failed because your statements are false.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Why do you claim my statements are false, when I lived them?

                    • Desmond Smith

                      It isn’t Catholic to lie about having a special needs student to push false claims about Common Core. Why is Theodore not banned?

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      I’m not lying. You’re committing calumny.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      I thought I had. Beaverton, Oregon. Standardized state assessment tests for Kindergarten through Fourth Grade ( he’s in his 5th grade year and they just had us sign the permission slip for assisted testing a month ago).

                    • Jeff Peters

                      The standardize test isn’t called “standardize state assessment.” Further, according to the news – http://www.opb.org/news/article/testing-less-may-be-cause-of-lower-scores-for-oregon-students/ – if it affected their grade, then 40% of students would never pass into the next grade since they fail the test. Your claims are laughably false.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      OPB? Left wing OPB?

                      They pass to the next grade because they’re promoted by age, not accomplishment.

                    • Ottava Rima

                      What does “left wing” have anything to do with a report on statistics?
                      It is obvious that you were disproven. You lied about everything, and you made it
                      obvious.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      You should always consider the source when viewing any statistics. It is very easy to make statistics say anything.

                    • slainte

                      Jeff Peters… you obnoxious, elitist troll…how dare you treat the parent of a disabled child with such dismissive disdain.
                      Your conduct is the exemplar of a faceless government bureaucrat exercising overarching power to crush an individual parent.
                      Your mechanistically abusive verbal interaction with Mr. Seeber in this forum and your unfounded accusations of Fraud should be copied and e-mailed to every Catholic school administrator in this country so that those who head our schools can understand, with specificity, what to expect from Common Core, its advocates and administrators.
                      Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. You, Mr. Peters, have unequivocally proven the veracity of this maxim to this observer.
                      I am sorry Mr Seeber that you have been subjected to this abuse in defense of your disabled son, especially as the abuse issues from a self described teacher of the disabled. Your concerns appear to be well founded and they matter. Please know that you have my support.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      Merely claiming to have a disabled child does not mean you have one. The evidence shows that he fabricated many things. Go ahead and email the educators and they will see how much you are willing to lie. He made up claims about a test where his real identity is in Oregon and they clearly do not do what he claims they do. Your anonymity suggests that you are most likely Seeber who has to sock to try and derail his exposure as a fraud. Nice try.

                    • slainte

                      What I e-mail will be your posted statements together with the entirety of your interaction with Mr. Seeber and Ms. Finke…are you admitting that you have lied?

                      You said “….He made up claims about a test where his real identity is in Oregon and they clearly do not do what he claims they do….”

                      Where is your evidence for this allegation and your credentials to make an expert determination on standards as they apply specifically to Mr. Seeber’s child?

                      You said “…..Your anonymity suggests that you are most likely Seeber who has to sock to try and derail his exposure as a fraud. Nice try….”
                      Yet another mistake Mr. Peters. You are unable to discern the difference between a man and a woman. From this vantage point, your string of errors says a great deal about your discernment capabilities or the lack thereof.
                      By the way, who pays you to attack parents of disabled children on Catholic websites?

                    • Jeff Peters

                      Go ahead. Email. Catholic schools aren’t affected, and the individual contradicts everything on official websites by the Oregon Department of Education. No such test as he describes exists. He had many opportunities to give real information and failed. I, however, provided actual names, actual terms, and the rest.

                      And you, Catholic? Doubtful. The Mel Gibson support was a dead give away that you are here to troll and mislead.

                    • slainte

                      If you doubt you are Catholic, why are you harassing parents with disabled children on a Catholic website?
                      Your actions are abusive.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      “You are unable to discern the difference between a man and a woman.” That little bit is delightful. Your aggressiveness and speech patterns show that of a young male, if anything.

                    • slainte

                      Another error in an established pattern of errors. So much for your exercise in applied apologetics.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      Oh, and Slainte, if you are going to criticize others, don’t endorse heretics like Gibson. You have trolled a lot and don’t a lot to cause inappropriate fighting and anger.

                    • slainte

                      No troll here Mr. Peters. I am a Catholic interacting on a Catholic website with other sinners just like me, including Mel Gibson whose sins, by his own admission, figuratively and literally placed the nails in Christ’s crucified hands.
                      When you decide to make specious arguments Mr. Peters, make certain to include the whole quote lest one surmise that you are engaged in a willful misrepresentation of material facts upon which you expect others to rely to their detriment….now what does this definition pertain to that you attribute to others?
                      Are you a Catholic Mr. Peters?

                    • Jeff Peters

                      I use my real name, and my real identity. I have been a Catholic ethicist and apologist for a long time. Unlike you, I have actual experience with these issues and I have helped work on Catholic policy. You mislead, fake evidence, and make false claims. I provided actual evidence and information. There is a special place for people like you.

                    • slainte

                      I call you out for the fake that you are; for the hurt that you impose on others.
                      You provide general statements with no support regarding your own background then project your own inadequacies onto others who are suffering. In this case, you are attacking a man who is tirelessly advocating for his disabled child. Leave him alone.
                      Shame on you.

                    • Jeff Peters

                      Coming from an anonymous troll, I will take your attacks as an honor. Allowing such evil people as yourself who seek only to lie and disrupt to cause good Christians to be unnecessarily frightened is the work of the devil. The owners of this site should ban you.

                    • slainte

                      Mr. Peters, are you a Roman Catholic?

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Since you are using your real name, and real identity, I’ll have to look you up. Perhaps we can meet for coffee sometime to clear up this apparent lack of understanding.

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      Thank you- I missed this earlier. I think Mr. Peters and I have actually been talking at cross purposes- perhaps my own diagnosis of autism is to blame.

                      He’s talking about actually flunking kids out for missing Common Core standards, which I missed the first 5 days of this conversation somehow.

                      I’m talking about the emotional hit of a kid being asked to *repeatedly* take tests that they don’t have the slightest hope of passing, or on the other end of the spectrum, the appearance to a more brilliant student that school is useless to them because they’re being asked questions that have nothing to do with their interests and aspirations.

                      That, in addition to the attitude of Oregon Education Association teachers that advocating for a children on the ends of the bell curve is somehow a bother to them (I get the same attitude in IEP meetings every year- like nobody involved in this team to advocate for my child wants to be bothered with a student who learns differently), is what has already increased the dropout rate in Oregon- and with Common Core, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

        • Jeff Peters

          And I work with special needs kids. I volunteer with therapeutic riding, with special olympics, and taught/worked with many directly. I am closely affiliated with my Arc. Your implied attacks are disgusting and really inappropriate.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            The attack isn’t on you, it’s on the eugenicists in our government who push common core.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Back up to the beginning- for try number two. Just got this from my child’s principal:

        As you know, the report card your child will bring home will look different than in previous years. In previous newsletters, you have read about the new scale. This new scale (4=Highly Proficient; 3=Proficient; 2=Nearly Proficient; 1=Developing) will indicate your child’s progress towards mastering each learning target. While we have not yet completed our work in defining the levels, we will soon have a more consistent and reliable way of assessing and communicating your child’s growth.

        The scale is an obvious change, but the more important underlying shift is the way teachers will communicate progress in the areas where the new scales have been clearly defined. For example, one of the learning targets for 3rd grade Writing is “write opinion pieces on a topic or book, stating an opinion with supporting reasons.” This is a year-long learning target.

        For perhaps 80% of students, this is a good target to try to hit in the third grade.

        For another 10%, they’ll have hit this target with a 4 in September, and show absolutely no progress during the year.

        For another 10% (and this is where my son is) I doubt he’ll ever hit this third grade standard, though he’s learning to do it verbally, he will NEVER write this well, and his report card will be stuck at a 1- for the rest of his schooling, no matter how long he is in school.

        In what way does that not communicate to both children and parents that their child is a useless failure, unable to cope with the New World Order, and thus a target for euthanasia rather than health care by Cover Oregon?

  • Nancy

    Stravinskas is also notorious as a sneering opponent of homeschooling. Stravinskas is a fan of institutions because institutions make money. Just do a simple search and discover all the trouble that follows this fellow where ever he goes….it’s always about the money, strangely.

    • Fr. Phillip W. De Vous

      What a hateful uninformed comment. Anyone who has made the sacrifices to have and administer Catholic school would find this comment laughable. Catholic schools are definitely not about the money and they certainly don’t make any. Fr. Stravinskas is one of the most accomplished Catholic educators of his generation.

  • Adam__Baum

    “Writing in the early 1900s, sociologist Max Weber depicted the coming modern world as an “iron cage” in which a caste of functionaries and civil servants monopolize power over the lives of citizens.”
    Sounds a lot like the “charientocracy”.

  • Steven Jonathan

    I think the time for seeing a “disenchantment of our Catholic schools” was long ago. The truth about Common Core is so obscured, even to most Catholics, it helps to illustrate how regular Germans could have gone along with such malevolence. Hind sight is 20-20, do we really want to look back at an intellectual and moral wasteland strewn with the souls of our children?
    Think about it, national standards—- and utterly bankrupt standards at that. Every single last one of them represents a complete misunderstanding of human learning, so backwards that the fruits are mistaken for the roots, first things for second things, and as C.S. Lewis reminds us, “when we go after second things instead of first we lose both first and second.” All the Common Core Standards are second things- I ask anyone to illustrate one truly good thing about the common core standards, there isn’t one, not one single good thing.

    • Adam__Baum

      “it helps to illustrate how regular Germans could have gone along with such malevolence”

      Long before Hitler, the Germans were conditioned to accept centralized direction. It was the reason people like Henry Carter Adams and others of his ilk went to study public administration. It was pyrotechnics for pyromaniacs.

      Shickelgruber merely grabbed the existing levers of power, he didn’t erect them.

      • musicacre

        I also meant the previous administration of Germany….

  • hombre111

    How could Crisis survive without alerting its instinctively paranoid readership to the latest horror from Big Brother? But until we see the thing at work, we really have no idea. You quote Fr. Peter Stravinskas, who is one of the most conservative priests I know. If he is not alarmed, then maybe Dr. Henderschott should mellow out with a cup of hot chocolate.

    • Adam__Baum

      “But until we see the thing at work, we really have no idea.”
      healthcare.gov

      • Shannon

        Adam,

        It might interest you to know that Mr. Bill Gates who funded most of this garbage (who by the way stands to make millions from the software) was quoted in an article in the New York post 9-21-2013. “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but we won’t really know for probably a decade.”

        This is an experiment that is a global, environmental movement that is intended to indoctrinate our children with “collectivism.”

        Our son is in the 5th grade. They are studying a UN document on “human rights” for weeks, this is followed by a book called Esperanza Rising. Only proving this further. As if these people in the UN care about human rights, this is to say the government give you rights, as oppose to God.

        Food for thought.
        Shannon

        Respectfully,
        Shannon

        • Adam__Baum

          It does interest me. Thank you for the first hand account of this perfidious content.

    • Art Deco

      How could Crisis survive without alerting its instinctively paranoid readership to the latest horror from Big Brother?

      It survives because it has a readership not addled by pathology but committed to the Church and its teachings. Which rather sets them apart from most clerical sinecure-holders.

      • hombre111

        I was being sarcastic, and regret it. Crisis does survive because of its faithful readership, and they are to be congratulated. When I read the comment threads, only an occasional crazy shows up. As for clerical sinecure-holders, in my diocese, most would call themselves Pope John Paul priests, and they are very committed to the Church and its teaching.

        • Art Deco

          About a third of them are committed; somewhat north of a third are Anglicans vicars, ordination class of 1949 (but with much worse taste in music); and about 30% are, in the words of Fr. Wilson, “Jungians, unitarians, and goofies”.

          Oh, and then there are the religious orders, especially the Society of Jesus, on fire for single-malt scotch and sodomy.

          • hombre111

            Since you have chosen to slander the Jesuits, men I know and admire, I choose to stop replying to your remarks.

  • WRBaker

    Having used the precursor to CC in math as a teacher, it is more a summary of how math works. In general, a class went like this:
    Show a video (that may/may not be related); explain the math topic; show examples; work examples with students on board; give homework (no more than ten questions WITH answers); review next day; give quiz in which students pick one (1) question to do from hard, relatively hard and easy examples. The worst grade possible is 50% and you can’t spend more than two days (one preferred) on any one topic.
    As with public schools, having too many failing students in a Catholic school brings increased attention on the teacher, because the school has spent too much money on the program and the fault couldn’t possibly be the system, now could it?
    Unless colleges change their ways, when these students get there, they’ll all be in remedial math (does anyone remember New Math and a whole generation of students who can’t add?).

    • Adam__Baum

      “Does anyone remember New Math and a whole generation of students who can’t add?).”
      Everytime I try to complete a retail transaction, I see them in action.

      • Marcia Brown Castro

        You bet! I purchased items totaling $3.20 . The clerk gave me back $1.30. I had to show her on parer that she had shorted me 50 cents. My grand daughters , both 3rd graders who hate Math, were really impressed that I could realize I was short changed just by looking at the amount of money I was given. They now recognize the importance of knowing Math facts!

    • Gail Finke

      Thanks for explaining in some detail how this works. Most of what I’ve read on CC is general ranting or glowing praise without any specifics. Much of what seems to be a problem with all education these days (catechetical education too) is slavish adherence to a method. A method that works because good teachers implement it is different from a method adopted by indifferent and/or bad teachers, who rely on the method to do the job of teaching.

  • JeffB

    Those that run our federal government are not on the side of the Catholic Church. In his very 1st homily, Pope Francis told the cardinals that “when one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.” Our government wants to replace God and has been doing so quite effectively for a long time. Nothing good will come from common core. We should not “wait and see.” The Church needs to stop compromising and start teaching the fullness of His Truth.
    Top 10 Intrinsic Evils perpetrated by the US Government:
    10. Wealth Redistribution & unabated expansion of the National Debt: Theft sold as “social justice.” In reality, it has enslaved generations and crippled our economy causing a growth in poverty.
    9. Legalized & Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research: an insidious form of cannibalism.
    8. Legalized & Promoted Pornography: breeds lust & destroys the ability to properly bond in marriage.
    7. Attacks on Freedom of Conscience (e.g., HHS mandate): erodes our ability to live & practice our Faith.
    6. Attempts to Redefine Marriage: denies the primacy of God’s Word. Promotes acceptance of disordered sexual behavior, thus encouraging more of the same.
    5. Non-Abstinence only Sex Education: Promotes & encourages sexual acts outside of Holy matrimony.
    4. No Fault Divorce Laws: destroys the foundation of civilization & breeds selfishness with no regard for children.
    3. Legalized & Funded Hormonal Contraception (despite it being a category 1 carcinogen): separates couples from the Grace of God and leads to the acceptance of all the other top 10 evils.
    2. Legalized & Funded Abortion: 58+ million innocent lives ripped from their mother’s womb. And know that Jesus has watched each and every one.
    1. Removal of God from public life: a clear disregard of the 1st commandment.

    “Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending Life.” Pope John Paul II, 1993
    “More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” Our Lady of Fatima, 1917

  • Elise

    Homeschool! Homeschool! Homeschool!

  • Denise Donohue

    Thank you so very much for your continued articles on the Common Core Standards and their effect on Catholic schools. I am involved with the November conference and I can say that the conference by no means was organized to exclude parents or others deeply concerned about their children’s education or the the future of Catholic schooling in the country. This conference is one of many different types of activities that individuals are undertaking across the country to try to understand how such a massive national educational reform movement within government schools could so quickly become advocated within so many of our Catholic schools. To understand this reform and it’s merits, or lack thereof, analysis needs to happen on multiple levels – by parents persisting to ask questions of their school principals, school boards, elected officials, pastors, superintendents and bishops and by education professionals in consultation and meetings with each other. As Father Stravinskas said in the interview cited, a press release with conference proceedings will be available after the conference and a follow-up conference in March is being planned by the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools for its membership and others interested in further discussion on Common Core and Catholic Schools. Please pray for those attending the conference that the Holy Spirit enlivens their souls with wisdom and direction so that attendees may go back to their dioceses across the country with renewed conviction and zeal for authentic Catholic education.

    • finishstrongdoc

      Let me guess what will happen at that meeting. There will be a moderator who will give a nice speech and congratulate everyone for being there. He will then assign everyone to a small group. At the small groups, each will be asked to answer a questionnaire and write down questions to submit to the moderator. Discussion will take place in each of these groups; people will air their concerns. The leader of the small group will gather up all the questionnaires and submit them to the moderator.Then, the groups will break up for lunch. After the lunch, there will be a panel discussion. They will address the questions that were submitted to them from the small groups. You haven’t heard your question addressed by the panel yet, and the panel discussion period is about to end. You begin to feel anxious, but, to be compliant and not wanting to cause a scene, you wait politely and don’t interrupt the panel discussion. Then the moderator will address everyone and tell everyone what everyone has decided to do. He congratulates everyone for being there and dismisses the conference. Everyone applauds. You look at your goody bag and go home, hoping someone will take a look at the question you submitted. You try to remember exactly how it was worded. You feel a little confused. You can be assured I will be praying for your efforts at that meeting.

      • gordiduk

        You seem to have gone through these Catholic School Conferences before. I, too, experienced this thoroughly useless waste of time and money. It is a feel good festival with a free lunch involved. The experts who give the introductory speeches and keynote addresses always reminded me of a graduation ceremony. The only thing missing were the caps and gowns. I worked in both public and Catholic Schools and the only difference between the educational conferences was that you got paid to go to them while you were on the public’s dime and it was an unpaid day off when you worked for the Diocese.

  • Christine

    I feel I should state my qualifications before I add my thoughts to this discussion. I have 4 children ranging in age from 19 to 6. My oldest attended public school and then after several years of chaos and lack of academic challenge we moved him and his younger brother to Parochial school. I substitute taught in 3 different public and 1 parochial school for 1 year. My 2 younger children entered parochial school as my sons moved on to public high school. My oldest son is now at a service academy.
    Last spring a note came home from school about a uniform change and buried at the bottom of the note was one sentence stating that our Catholic school was switching to Common Core for this year. I asked the principal, teachers, our pastor and the superintendent (who is a nun) about why we were doing this and what it would mean. I was told to educate myself on the Common Core website. The superintendent told me I was making too much of this. When I decided to take my 2 youngest out of our beloved school, my pastor told me leaving because of Common Core was “not a valid reason”.
    While I discerned my choice to home school I discovered how very little my children were learning in a normal day at school. My feeling is that our specific catholic school was not much different that public school, just more expensive. The discipline and order that were present when my sons attended has diminished. Our school is increasingly becoming a private school which use to be Catholic. Common Core is just another nail in the coffin. I now Home School with Seton. It is authentically Catholic and academically challenging. My children will not have to have a public school 5th grade teacher “fill in the gaps” nor do I feel that after parenting and teaching 4 children that I am woefully under prepared. I am sad that my pastor did not support our decision nor does he seen to take the state of my children’s souls as seriously as I do. When it is all said and done-Common Core or no, it is the state of our children’s souls that ultimately matters.

    • Adam__Baum

      You’ll have thevlast laugh when your kids smoke his Valedictorian (do they still confer that, or is it verboten by zee ministry of truth)

  • musicacre

    “creating a technically ordered, rigid, dehumanized society—”

    Subdued prisoners is my choice of synonym!

  • Pingback: The Iron Cage of the Common Core? #stopcommoncore #commoncore | Stop Common Core Illinois

  • Lady Truth

    None of the posters have mentioned the most distasteful aspect of Catholic schools turning Core. Our precious children are being sold for a few pieces of silver in the courtyard. The priests and diocesan leaders are all too happy to sell our children for “grant” money that comes with taking the Common Core bait. Sadly, they are not only selling their souls, but the souls of our children as well. Catholic schools turning Core while 13 states have organized coalitions to back out of it exposes that there is a real motive behind this revolution in education. The motive is money. If we do not stand strong and prevail against this, we will lose our Catholic schools. All we will have left is public schools disguised by plaid uniforms and tuition.

  • Ruth Rocker

    The best thing I can say about the Common Core Curriculum is that I no longer have children in school. Unfortunately, I do have grand-children and those poor little mites are probably going to suffer through this dreck.

  • Tony

    We should no more desire “standards” to be dictated from Washington than from Brussels or Alpha Centauri. The Catholic educrats are as foolish as the public educrats. A pox on them all.

    • Art Deco

      Agreed. Branding does not do much good in the realm of liberal education, nor does central co-ordination and control. As for vocational instruction, some degree of transparency in the realm of certifications might be more helpful, but this can be accomplished by a variety of means. CPA and ASE certifications are not federal diktats.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    I very much appreciate this article by Dr. Hendershott, my new colleague at Franciscan University. She has described perfectly the bureaucratic, government takeover of the schools, a situation that has led many of us to prefer homeschooling for our children. I only wish the administration at Franciscan University had a better understanding of what Dr. Hendershott knows about education! Here, the faculty have been forced to adopt an “outcomes based” approach that is the very opposite of a real, liberal education. The same “assessment culture” that has miserably failed in secondary schools, and that will now be expanded with Common Core, has somehow become the model for university professors to emulate. Foolish and frustrating.

  • Jeff Peters

    Common Core is a test. It is only taken by public schools. Catholic schools aren’t allowed to participate in the test. Common Core has nothing to do with private schools.

  • Pingback: Common Core creates educational ‘iron cage’

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