Common Core

Poverty Is Not What You Think It Is

Poverty fell off a cliff after the Second World War. It fell like a stone, including for American blacks. The economy was booming and everyone benefited. The poverty rate dropped from 35 percent in 1950 to less than 20 percent when President Lyndon Johnson, nonetheless, announced his War on Poverty. By the time the War [...]

Common Core’s Rotten Core

Despite recent defense rallies by Bill Gates, wars are raging against the embattled Common Core State Standard Initiative, now implemented in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Though criticisms can be leveled at the lack of evidence that the Common Core will lead onward into a brave new world of education, the overarching problem [...]

Read Literature to Learn and Love the Truth

The other night I testified (via telephone) before the Alaska state legislature, on the standards their public schools are adopting for classes in English.  I’d read the standards but didn’t have them in front of me, so I was taken aback when one of the representatives plucked a directive out of all the verbiage and [...]

On the Academic Hostility to Great Literature

In several recent articles at Crisis and elsewhere, I’ve been arguing that Catholic schools should reject the Common Corpse, the newest form of an old and largely successful campaign to banish good and great poems and stories from our classrooms.  I’ve been charged with exaggeration.  Surely things cannot be that bad.  The sky still stretches [...]

How Common Core Literary Standards Undermine Education

With the growing acceptance of the Common Core State Standards, a set of benchmarks that seeks to raise the literacy of our elementary and secondary school students, a debate is underway over the wisdom or folly of a federally crafted plan that aims to have a major hand in the education of our nation’s children. [...]

Quality Education is Not Rocket Science

Every week it seems I receive three or four letters from people who are establishing new schools or reforming old ones.  These letters are most encouraging, and all of the writers, without exception, are dedicated to restoring what is called a “classical” education.  Sometimes that implies the study of the true classics, the literature of [...]

The Common Core of a Child’s Heart (Part I): The Art and Purpose of Storytelling

Zeal for a national curriculum is not new, nor is the appearance of an entire well-financed educational bureaucracy obsessed with finding (and controlling) methods to justify its educational schemes.  The educational sorcerers may feel that they have conjured up some novel idea in the Common Core Initiative.  They have not, anymore than Alfred Bosworth discovered [...]

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

Sometimes the best thing you can do to a school is to raze it. The pipes leak, there's mold in the ceiling panels, rats are nesting behind the wainscot, and a strange black stain has appeared under the basement floor near the oil line. It isn't worth repairing. It might have been worth repairing, if [...]

How Common Core Devalues Great Literature

Many years ago, a prominent man wrote to one of his favorite authors about his latest book.  This man had been a soldier, a hunter, an athlete, an historian, and a social reformer, and was now employed in a post of some significant responsibility.  He had many children, and was by all accounts a bluff [...]

Common Core Education vs. Classical Education: A Thomistic Approach

 WHETHER COMMON CORE EDUCATION IS CONTRARY TO CLASSICAL EDUCATION Objection 1. It would seem that the Common Core State Standards Initiative is not contrary to classical education. For, as the classical education movement is aimed at broad-based learning, Common Core education provides standards that are broadly applied across the country to prepare students with twenty-first [...]

Common Core: Twenty-First Century Peonage

A young man and woman arrive at the office of the town clerk to procure a marriage license. They're all smiles, until the secretary hands them a document to sign, wherein they read this remarkable sentence: “The State, conceding to the parents the making of their children's bodies, asserts its primacy in the making of [...]

Common Core Sexualizes American School Children

Newburgh New York school district yanked a ninth grade book considered by teachers to be “pornographic.”  An Arizona mother launched an avalanche of protest that forced Arizona schools to pull an eleventh grade book that portrays teens in a sado-masochistic relationship.  A Catholic school superintendent admits there were two first grade books about families—that included [...]

Common Core Goes Global

 The philosophy in the school room in one generation will become the philosophy of government in the next.  — Abraham Lincoln  [A]t the request of educators I wrote the World Core Curriculum, the product of the United Nations, the meta-organism of human and planetary evolution.   — Robert Muller, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General The education [...]

Common Core’s Substandard Writing Standards

I’ve donned my boots and leggings, and done what I had no desire to do.  I am examining, with tedious scrutiny, the so-called Common Core Curriculum for literature and English, a new’n’improved set of standards for reading and writing in our schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade.  I have read the essays, written by students, [...]

Selling the Common Core to Catholic Dioceses

Just as Sister Carol Keehan and her Catholic Health Association helped to shepherd the passage of the Affordable Care Act—replete with federal funding for abortion—in the early days of the Obama administration, Sr. Dale McDonald and her “Gold and Platinum textbook partners” affiliated with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), are now helping President Obama [...]

Cross Purposes: Catholic Schools and Common Core

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 [...]

Buying Catholic Support for the Common Core

A day after the New York Times reported that a group of more than 100 Catholic scholars had asked the nation’s Catholic bishops to repudiate the Common Core guidelines, the Cardinal Newman Society reported that the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)—a Washington, DC lobbying group for Catholic education—had accepted more than $100,000 from the Bill [...]

The Federal Hand Behind Common Core

“Common Core is a state-led initiative.” This sentence is among the most repeated pitch lines of those selling Common Core.  It is an effective sales pitch, but is it true? The answer lies in the maze of money and regulation tying federal and state departments of education together. Let’s start with the money.  The money [...]

The Iron Cage of the Common Core?

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, [...]

Superior Catholic Schools Already Exceed Common Core Standards

One of the biggest marketing disasters in modern times was the roll-out of “New Coke” back in 1985. Based on its fears of being overtaken by Pepsi and the misleading research of “the Pepsi challenge” (wherein consumers seemed to prefer the sweeter taste of Pepsi to Coke), Coke changed its classic formula to be more [...]

The Common Core: Education Radically Transformed

Look at today’s newspapers and you will see that Americans are poised to fundamentally reform two huge sectors of our lives.  The headlines on page one will tell you about the healthcare sector.  Our government is even “closed” due to the fight over implementing “Obamacare.”  That’s one.  Look at one of the inside pages and [...]

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