The Federal Takeover of Catholic Education

As teachers throughout the country introduced the new Common Core curriculum—the federal  standards for mathematics and English Language Arts—in their classrooms this fall, most parents had no idea this radical change in their children’s education was coming.  Some might have noticed over the past month that there were dramatic changes in the textbooks and tests that their children were bringing home.  Others may have noticed that in language arts, their children are now being introduced to some very different kinds of books—texts with more emphasis on technical or informational material, and less emphasis on classical literature.  It would be difficult not to notice, as the Common Core curriculum is a dramatic change in the ways in which education is being delivered.  Yet, few parents, and even fewer elected political representatives, knew this was coming.

A recent poll by Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup revealed that 62 percent of the population has never heard about the Common Core curriculum.  Now that they are finally finding out about what can only be called a federal takeover of public education, it may be too late.  The curriculum has been created, the books have been purchased, and the standards have been implemented.  Assessment testing has already begun.  Many are asking how something like this could happen without parental and local input.  Others are wondering how education could have become federalized when there are already laws in place to prevent just such federal intervention?

The answer is that it was a stealthy appropriation by the federal government to take control of the curriculum in the local public schools—and now, in some private schools also.  The federal takeover involved no parental input, and very little involvement by elected representatives.  It had to be done covertly because there are indeed laws protecting states against unwanted federal intrusion into the educational curriculum of local school districts.  The General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act all protect states against intrusion by the United States Department of Education.  The problem is that the “intrusion” has not been entirely “unwanted” by state political leaders—especially the governors of each state.   Enlisting the state governors as allies in the creation of the curriculum through the National Governor’s Association,  the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation used the lure of more than $150 million in grant money—and the promise of future federal funds—to convince the leaders of budget-strapped states to support the federal standards.

Working collaboratively with the Obama administration, the Gates Foundation helped to subsidize the creation of a national curriculum that has now been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia.  Endowing the creation of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed an additional $76 million to support teachers in implementing the Common Core—a standardized national curriculum.  This, on top of the more than 100 million they have already awarded to the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop the Common Core in the first place.

Although the Common Core was designed to address problems in the public schools, many Catholic schools have decided to adopt the Common Core standards also.  Eager to share in the largesse of the Gates Foundation, and the promise of future federal funds, Catholic school superintendents from more than 100 Catholic dioceses across the nation have embraced the federal education standards.  According to the National Catholic Register, the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), while not formally endorsing the Common Core, has been holding workshops on how to implement the standards in Catholic schools.

Many parents of these Catholic school children are unhappy with the implementation of federal guidelines in their Catholic schools.  Catholic parents groups are emerging throughout the country to try and fight against the continued implementation of the Common Core. New Jersey parents have banded together to address the problems they see with the common core, and Pittsburgh Catholics Against the Common Core have organized to protest the implementation of the federal standards in their children’s Catholic schools. The National Catholic Register published comments from Ann Hynds, one of the members of the Pittsburgh parents’ group, who declared that “Catholic parents are so angry … we are the primary educators of our children, and we are being told not to worry, that they know better.”

These angry sentiments are echoed by many other concerned parents.  Most have said that they believe the Common Core will be detrimental to Catholic education—as Hynds said “Catholic educators all say how excellent Catholic education has always been.… So why are they doing this?”

That is a good question.  While it is understandable that the governors were empowered to make the decision in collaboration with their school superintendents, it is less clear how Catholic school superintendents were empowered to make the decision about Common Core unilaterally.  Many parents are asking whether their bishops were involved in the decision to implement the federal curriculum.

Still, there are many dioceses that have refused to implement the Common Core.  Richard Thompson, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Denver Archdiocese has refused to allow the Common Core in the Catholic schools there.  In a published interview in the National Catholic Register, Thompson said that he saw no need to install the federal standards in the Catholic schools in Denver because the schools are already “exceeding most of Common Core standards.  We’re already there and more.”

Indeed, this is a major concern for Catholic school parents. One of the reasons that many of these parents sent their children to Catholic schools was because of the academic rigor that was missing in the public schools.  In a critical op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal by Jamie Gass and Charles Chieppo, we learn that Stanford University emeritus mathematics professor James Milgram, the only academic mathematician on the Common Core’s validation committee, refused to sign onto the final draft.  Milgram described the Common Core standards as having “extremely serious failings” and reflecting “very low expectations.”  Reflecting these concerns, Phyllis Schlafly, President of the Eagle Forum wrote a letter to the Catholic bishops  warning them that in the Common Core,  “conceptual math has replaced fundamentals,” and “Euclidian geometry was displaced.”  She also asserted that in language arts, students are forced to read texts “in a vacuum” without contextual information, and lamented the reductions in classical literature that accompanied the Common Core.

Parents are worried.  So concerned about the negative response to the Common Core from parents of Catholic school children that Father Peter Stravinskas, executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation, has scheduled a conference titled “Catholic Concerns About the Common Core” in Elberon, New Jersey next month (at the Stella Maris Retreat Center on November 5-6).  The National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools will co-host the event with the schools office of the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan, and the superintendent of high schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Father Stravinskas has warned that since the SATs and other standardized tests will be geared to the Common Core, Catholic schools need to pay attention to the federalized standards.

Education policy expert, Diane Ravitch appears to agree with Father Stravinskas about the standardized testing issues.  Ravitch pointed out that since David Coleman, the primary architect of the Common Core standards has become president of the College Board, “we can expect that SAT will be aligned to the standards.  No one will escape their reach, whether they attend public or private school.” Even homeschooled children will be vulnerable to the federalization of public education standards.

It is possible that some school districts—especially those in economically deprived areas—will benefit from the federal intervention in their local schools.  But, it is difficult to see how inviting the federal government into our Catholic schools to help create a new curriculum can make things better.

Anne Hendershott


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).

  • ME

    So this is where the truly Catholic Universities, need to stay away from the new Common Core aligned SAT’s and for those that want a good education, they should be able to go to Catholic schools and onto fully Catholic Universities. This is an opportunity for those Catholic schools and universities to prove how much better the traditional education approach is, by staying with the tried and true and having a group of highly rounded people graduating from these universities. I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for employers to notice the difference between graduates of the Common Core curriculum and the traditional university system that would only be available thru the Catholic (or other Christian schools) that choose to stay away from Common Core altogether.

    • Ghost

      Why is this being called a “federal takeover”? The federal government was NOT involved in the development of the standards. Instead, local teachers, principals, and superintendents — including Catholic teachers, principals, and superintendents — led the development and implementation of the common core.

      • Babagranny

        That is one of my questions also. I see the benefits of a common core because so many children move often and need to have continuity from one school to the next. I have heard good teachers say that this curriculum does not prevent any school from teaching additional material. I would like to see an equally thoughtful Catholic viewpoint that supports the Common Core–as a response to this article, which I think feeds into a frenzied anti-government hysteria that has been created by certain powerful corporations and individuals with a questionable motive. The question of vocationalizing education (movement to technical skills at the expense of broad general learning) is not new at all; it has been going on for decades at all levels of education and has only recently begun to swing back in some quarters..

        • Aimee Maddonna

          Here’s the thing – states CAN exceed the standards, so this isn’t really helping the circumstances where children need to move schools. If previously attended School A is only just meeting standards, and presently attended School B is EXCEEDING standards, there is still going to be significant gaps.

          Also, have you seen the sexuality standards?! I mean, really?

        • Gail Finke

          I have been looking and looking for a thoughtful Catholic article, blog post, ANYTHING that supports these standards. The only ones I can find (few and far between) sound as though they were written by university education departments. Ummm… don’t they know that people who are dubious about the Common Core don’t trust university education departments? Surely someone who is NOT employed by schools using CC and NOT a politician has something good to say about it, but I haven’t found any. A lot of anti-CC stuff is way off in conspiracy theory land, which doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

          • Lisa Ann Homic

            Beware of Loyola U. and it’s catholic school effectiveness department. I’ve found power point presentation that actually teaches to use coersion and shame to implement CC.

            • Lowen_Lowen

              WOuld you mind to post a link to the Loyola PP presentation??

              Thank you so much.

              • Lisa Ann Homic

                i may have it on a thumb drive, but i have to look. i found it by googling

        • Molly

          “so many children move often” – I think this is a small % compared to the large % of children that will be subjected to CCSS. Should the majority suffer for the minority?

          yes, this type of ed reform in the Catholic schools has been occurring for years…PBL…OBE…this is just the latest incarnation. Shame on those of us who trusted blindly.

        • ponerology

          Yes, “vocationalizing” education started well before the 1900s and was pushed by globalists. And it’s baloney to think the teachers can teach “additional material”. They can’t. They adhere to the methods/methodology and “content” (if one can even call it that) or they are reprimanded and/or terminated.

          • Lowen_Lowen

            Further there’s no time !!! Agh !!!

        • Shaqramento

          You’re out of touch. If you don’t have anti government sentiments at this point your head is buried deeply in the sand and it’s time to pull it out. Thanks for all your liberal ideas and for ruining the country. Your generation sucks

      • ME2

        This is NOT true.

        • Ghost

          Do the research. You will learn: a) that it is indeed true; b) that the new standards are misrepresented in this article.

          • Bob

            I’m thinking you are way too much of a proponent of this……how long have you worked for the Gates Foundation?

            • Ghost

              I’m a proponent because I have kids in public school and I obviously want to see them reap the benefits of higher standards. Your question suggests a little paranoia? Or maybe it’s just an ad hominem, in which case you might want to think about why you would want to be an opponent of common core.

              • Claudia

                Nothing has been misrepresented in this article. In fact it is all true. I am not sure why the Church would have to cheerlead these unproven Standards to fit the prosaic thinking of today. The Catholic Church has held a long well rounded educational endeavor with education. Hence the tuition fees, a Catholic education does not come cheap or should ever be aligned with nationalized standards, as we are seeing today. For their education will no longer supersede that of a mediocre public school. The burden of proof is on the proponents that claim rigor and college readiness. Which in the end have nothing to stand on but only talking points.

              • cindy

                Really? do you think teachers submit to lower standards because they want to, or because the children they have come in at a lower level? What if your 4 or 5 year old in Kindergarten can’t explain an abstract viewpoint of an author because they are not developmentally ready? Is it fair to put them in Academic Intervention until they “get it?” Really, have you actually looked at the standards?

                You may need to ramp up your “critical thinking” in order to evaluate these.

              • ponerology

                Well then why do you care what goes on in private Catholic schools? I hope you find your common core children a great joy to you.

              • Lowen_Lowen

                Dear Ghost:

                I am very concerned about my children, too. Please read up on the Common Core issues at the following website – just today released an interesting article on student data collection and the legality of same:


                • JDarbender

                  Good One. I forgot about the ‘data mining’ of each student AND that student’s family. The cameras and sensors, at each desk, which constantly monitor said student. But, I’m sure it will be wonderful.

              • JDarbender

                Inquire about the “informational text”. Ask what classic literature it has / will replace, at your school district. Ask what percentage of the curriculum it will be for each of the grades 9 thru 12.

      • Bob

        Why is Bill Gates so involved with this??? Apparently, many top academic testing companies are involved…..why????

        • Ghost

          Bill Gates wants to use his money to promote education in general. This is a very worthy, altruistic, and philanthropic goal. There is nothing ideological about this except for a pro-learning ideology. To try to deny children the benefit of an excellent education just because you think Bill Gates is A Big Scary Monster is unfair to children. Look at the Khan Academy math videos, which are a wonderful and free source of excellent math tuition and are funded in part by Bill Gates.

          • Claudia

            Bill Gates indeed is a philanthropist along with his wife that claims to be a Catholic yet they both promote extensively extreme forms of birth control as part of their philanthropic work in the world, which by the way has been injected into these Standards. These people are promoting a Godless nihilistic standard that is common, and should be repudiated by all Catholics. I think Bill Gates not a monster but an individual who wants to spread atheism at the core, and subjugate our children to their worldview.

            • Myke Carter

              I’ve been warning everyone since 1994 to stay away from the Windows – but no one would listen to me!

            • Shaqramento

              ….. In the name of progress :/

          • Proteios

            Sorry ghost. Whatever bias you are coming from doesn’t reflect what actually is happening. Too many of my family and consequently friends are educators, teachers, and academic administrators to ever think this is anything but foisted on them. This like, state testing, like NCLB and rise to the top are all vehicles which have evolved into this latest machination. And yes, the gates Foundain has some serious ulterior motives. Philanthropy? That requires. To ignor their form of ideological imperialism which they have imposed educationally here. In Africa handing out birth control rather than food…which philanthropists tend to do. And disease prevention in India, which isn’t bad, but they should have also brought vaccines or something useful.

            They are philanthropy without the love.

          • Expat Mom

            Bill Gates is not really a neutral player in the things he invests his money in. Like everyone else, he has opinions about the world, and uses his fortune to yield influence. A truly altruistic person may exist, but not in Mr. Gates. A simple google search of the subject should unearth what you need to know about his NWO point of view on many topics.

            • Mark

              I don’t think we need judge Mr. Gates. Leave that to the One. He is clearly invested in improving education, particularly math and science education. Our children can benefit from his philanthropy.

              • cindy

                I don’t agree. His philanthropy is about “population control” and “controlling the population.”

              • Adam__Baum

                rephrased, circa 1934:

                I don’t think we need judge Mr. Hitler. Leave that to the One. He is
                clearly invested in improving education, particularly math and science education. Our children can benefit from his leadership.

                Got it now?

                • G

                  When somebody starts comparing Gates to Hitler, it becomes clear that they’ve lost the plot.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    When somebody fails to understand an argument “reductio ad absurdam”, then he can’t undertand a plot.

                  • Shaqramento

                    You are ignorant, 🙁

              • Grace

                Are you kidding? The Common Core has eliminated Algebra II from the standard high school curriculum because most people won’t need to apply it in life. So there’s no value placed on education for the sake of being an educated human being. Further, classic literature and creative writing has been removed from the high school curriculum in favor of technical writing. Again, goodbye deposit of knowledge and art. Hello, trained masses.

                You know who applies Algebra II on a daily basis? Computer programmers. Are we not hoping that our high school graduates will have the the minimum prerequisites to pursue a career in computer programming? Or are we either inadvertently or knowingly preventing technical innovation from developing in the United States? Or does this have a more sinister motivation still? Could Gates stand to profit by sending more jobs overseas to lower-paid programmers? If no American workers have the skills, then he’d have no choice, right?

                • Grace

                  I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories, but this led me to make a comment to a friend recently: “Dear George Orwell, You got the year wrong. Love, 2013”

              • Shaqramento

                “Clearly” ?? No, that is a false statement. There is nothing “clear” about his goals. And to just make a blind assumption that this will be a good thing is reckless and irresponsible. Try questioning things for a change. Stop being a lemming. We have enough of those

            • cindy

              Altruism is simply the new Capitalism, and Gates knows it.

              • Adam__Baum

                Altruism is the new warfare, a form that can be practiced by geeks, and Gates knows it.

              • Shaqramento

                Altruism is the new socialism

            • Myke Carter

              When did Bill Gates begin using his fortune to yield influence? I don’t believe it!

          • ponerology

            Bill and Melinda want to love us all….to death. Vaccines and the Gates Foundation. They especially love those on the African continent to a quick death and the rest of us to a slower death.

          • Deb
          • Adam__Baum

            “because you think Bill Gates is A Big Scary Monster”
            Apparently you weren’t around when Bill was at the head of Micro$oft and the leader of it’s FUD.

            • centermass1

              And giving authority to the NSA to Spy on all Americans through HIS operating system via “advapi32.dll” and “NSAkey”. Yeah, your hero is a big monster…your just to ignorant to see it.

          • Lee Barrios

            I though Khan Academy was free also until our state Board of Ed approved a contract with his company to train (market) teachers in Louisiana to use the Academy.

          • Shaqramento

            Step away from the federal kool aid so you can clear your head

        • Shaqramento

          Follow the money Bob

      • Kevin Kelly

        Federal takeover in that in 2010, 4.35 billion dollars of federal money, under Race to the Top funds, were given to states that accepted the “Common Core State Standards”. At the time, the CCSS were not even written. True, the federal government was not involved in the development of the standard. The Gates Foundation provided much of the funding for development of the standard. Two organizations, the National Governors Association, and CCSSO actually own the copyright on the standards, and states are unable to make changes. One of the problems, there are no studies supporting this radical change in the way we teach our children. Bill Gates himself, who through his foundation has spent well over two hundred million dollars in development and promotion, states that we will not know if this is an effective way to teach for ten years. This makes CCSS a grand experiment using our children.

        • slainte

          Will Gates’ children be subject to this experiment?

          • ponerology

            Gates doesn’t care about your children. He (and his planned parenthood daddy before him) care about the agenda. As George Carlin used to say, “It’s a big club and you’re not in it.” As a matter of fact it’s called “the lucky genes club”. Oprah is in it too.
            And as for his children, I’m not sure if he has any but they’re probably more akin to lab spawn.

            • Adam__Baum

              Sure he does. He wants them to be good little serfs, obedient to the master and grateful for whatever baubles are bestowed upon them by the master. Welcome to industrial feudalism.

          • JDarbender

            Of course not. They’re the “beautiful people”.

          • Shaqramento

            HA! Prolly not; they are insulated from the “element” known as humanity

        • Lowen_Lowen

          Further Gate is engaging in Venture Philanthropy by which his foundation will make literally billions of dollars – all from our tuition fees and public monies being paid into the monopoly they are attempting to create.
          Force your local diocese to reject common core. Its not the money, its your soul.

        • Bob

          Also, atheist Gates is a huge proponent of world population control by contraception and birth control. This is not far fetched, but by accepting his money do schools have to accept his ideology? The carrot is the money from him now, and as schools get fat on his money and they want to feed from his $$ trough in the future, will they have to accept his caveats for education, also.

          • Shaqramento

            They already do! With their uber focus on science and now technology! Gates is a perfect fit to play sugar daddy

        • DadB

          I disagree the federal government funded over half of the Education Policy Dept of the NGA in 2010 when the standards were being written. Money controls.

      • cindy

        Oh…puhlease…we’ve all done too much research to believe that anymore!

        • James Stagg

          Why not share it with us, Cindy?

          • cindy

            Are you serious? Have you done research? Have you read the standards like I have. Compare them with the developmental stages of children. Hungry children in inner cities will be no more ready to tackle more “rigorous” standards then they did less rigorous standards. Test scores will measure something other than what they are learning. Compare them to international examples of success. Finland doesn’t even test until kids are much older. Have you taken the sample tests? Go to the websites and try it out.

            • James Stagg

              Dear Cindy,

              How are these standards different from present and past grading standards?

              Children NOW are failing because of_________________.

              What precisely are the “developmental stages of children? Do all develop equally, approximately, by age, or by eating habits?

              How will YOU judge what the children are learning if you do not test them? Suggestions?

              We are looking for detailed information, not the last thought that passed Finland.

              Your serve.

              • Deb

                I’ll take this one:


                Video in which an early childhood specialist tells specifically WHY CCSS are developmentally inappropriate for young children. And if you mess up the foundation, at the beginning, what will future learning rest on?

                • James Stagg

                  Thanks, Deb. I played this video for my wife, a teacher of 50+ years experience in primary grades (1-4). Her essential reaction: This lady is playing a game of using developmental theories of children’s education which ignores the need to have a well-trained teacher. In spite of her premise that she is discussing math standards, she jumps around to personal discussions with her daughter (may we assume this lady is NOT a trained teacher?) and brings in literacy arguments which are non sequiters. What you have is a type of psycho-babble that implies a child must learn on its own…and ignores the need for a well-trained teacher.

                  My wife used and loved the Saxon method for teaching math. She could actually tracvk where her students were prepared for the upper grades due to using this method. Essentially, in her view, CCSS uses the same procedure. You may read about this in

                  Nice try. Try again.

                  • RightThinkingWoman

                    James–as a homeschooling mom I used Saxon math as well and loved it. I also used materials from The Institute for Excellence in Writing ( for writing composition.

                    I currently run the Writing Center for a high performing high school and am seeing CCCS implemented in our English department. I was thrilled to see our CCCS coaches (teachers in the school that have been trained and are tasked with coaching the other teachers on CCCS) using some of the same methods of close reading and analysis used in IEW.

                    My 8th grade daughter came home with an assignment on how to prepare for a Socratic Seminar. Her class will be using the Socratic seminar format to discuss Agatha Christie’s “And then there were none.”

                    • James Stagg

                      Thank you for your input! You have focused on a vital element to any educational change: the need for training and guidance.

              • cindy

                I think this might be a waste of time because you sound like neither a teacher nor a parent.

                Do you know who Piaget is? Children have distinct cognitive differences that only change with maturity/age/experience. So expecting a concrete/sequential 7 year old to answer an abstract reasoning question is like expecting a toddler to balance on a pogo stick. Set up to fail.

                You measure content that is taught in class, not aptitude or disposition or cognitive stage like these tests will.

                Didn’t past grading standards measure the “right answer?” Now we will measure “your explanation of how you arrived at your answer – right or wrong?” Which future doctor do you want? The one who got the right answer, or the one who had 6 methods to wrong?

                Measuring their “deep thinking” is more likely measuring their intelligence rather than anything they learned that week in school. If you don’t have the aptitude to “describe the author’s thinking” because you are 6, how is THAT a measure of learning?

                Your turn.

                • James Stagg

                  Sorry to make you think my questions are a waste of your valuable time, Cindy. I am a parent three times over (parent, grand-parent, and great grand-parent), plus a foster parent. My wife, as noted above, is my main source of good teaching information, since she taught in public, parochial and private school in the primary grades for over 50 years. I, myself, have extensive experience in adult education (no, I am not a professor), including business and religious education experience.

                  Your comments make me believe you are not a teacher, either, since you seem to have expectations of what a child wil learn on their own, not with the guidance of a good teacher, with good standards to guide that teacher.

                  Your comment about a doctor is silly. Since, at our ages, we have been through many medical procedures, including cancer treatment, a reasonable person not only wants a doctor with the “right answer”, but one who can explain the reasoning behind his diagnoses and treatments.

                  Standards are good. We need them to measure various actions in our lives. How the standards are developed and implemented are as different as the sermons you will hear at various churches. That is the real concern.

                  Let’s hear more………………

                  • cindy

                    So tell me specifically what you think will be the benefit of the standards? Be specific – standard and its purported benefit.

                    • James Stagg

                      Dear Cindy,

                      I can give you the short answer, the medium, and you will have to wait for the long answer.

                      The short answer is that, from a completely business standpoint, each employer who operates on a regional or national basis, should be able to accept a high school diploma from various states at equal consideration…..without basic testing of a job applicant. To be blunt, the employer should be able to expect applicants who can make change and read and understand simple instructions. That is not true today.

                      The medium answer is to turn the tables on you, and ask what specific standards give you pause, or that you feel burdensome. However, that would be tit for tat, and I am unwilling to play that game, since the standards are inter-related, and you would be unable to isolate one standard from another.

                      The long answer is the very information which we all seek, based on this article and the comments which have followed. I am still searching for answers myself, and am unsure a standard-by-standard review would even be respected for the amount of time and effort involved. I have invited at least four “national” bloggers/writers/celebrities who have written incomplete, negative articles (like this one) to review the entire process and comment objectively on CCSS in general and CCCII in particular. I have had no positive responses. Indeed, one very talented writer with an education background, who has written for Crisis Magazine before, demurred from taking on such a massive task.

                      So, Cindy, I will give you the choice. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that your response in not merely a flippant dismissal, but a serious request. You apparently do not want the short answer; you may be unaware of how bad current (and some past) educational standards have resulted in this push for CCSS…..perhaps you distrust business interest in adequately-taught job applicants.

                      Secondly, if you wish to raise questions about specific standards in CCSS, or, better, in CCCII, and ask me to do so, I will research your request and report as fully as possible to explain the need and purpose, based on my business and religious teaching experience, and my wife’s primary education experience. I do recognize that there are significant differences in how the standards will be applied. It would seem, that if done properly, they would begin with kindergarten and move up, one year at a time. While that takes twelve years to implement, that may be too logical an approach for the school system machinery and politicians that sometime expect instantaneous results. Witness the “lost generation” of students we have found in the Atlanta Public School system due to the mis-application of No Child Left Behind.

                      However, to do a complete review I will need some assurance of your dedication to this task, and that you are also willing to participate in the collection of data and your willingness, no, really, your promise, that you will be objective in your review. In other, (again, brutal) terms, I would not wish to expend hours of research, just to experience a “knee-jerk” reaction from anyone who will always object to any positive finding concerning CCSS.

                      Please advise.

                    • cindy

                      I am not giving knee-jerk reactions.

                      I am giving the reactions of a parent/teacher/trainer who has lived through highly successful state standards which created a very college and career ready child in a super-highly successful town, and comparing it to the youngest child whose standards are changing to fix a “national problem” who is being taught developmentally inappropriate and non-child centered ways.

                      On top of it, I am now paying for an education that does not reflect the education I believe in. Show me the proof that this new way works, because I have proof of the old way.

                    • Addie Smith

                      Your short answer is exactly why Common Core is a good thing – there must be standards across the entire nation – just as you outlined – so that an employer who has offices in say maybe 15 states doesn’t have to waste time with testing candidates for job positions as all candidates would have the exact same knowledge set.

                • RightThinkingWoman

                  Cindy–do you know who Vygotsky is? Hie theory of the Zone of Proximal Development is also key in understanding cognitive development. He made the point that abstract reasoning shows up in stages. When the Industrialists created the compulsory school model they had to aim it toward the lowest common denominator (concrete/lower ordered thinking skills) in order to create a compliant, minimally trained work force for the factories. CCCS are moving away from this approach to engagement. It’s closer to the Montessori method.

                  • cindy

                    Montessori allows a child to progress at their own pace; CCSS and testing will not, and will label them as in need of “academic intervention.” Take out the STANDARDIZED testing which appears to be more a measure of intelligence and “thinking skills,” and the standards might be palatable, yet narrow-focused.

                    • RightThinkingWoman

                      Cindy, I will agree with you on that point. The rush to testing these standards at the same time they are being implemented is really imprudent in my opinion. I am not a fan at all of standardized testing.

                      Though it is important to note that the emphasis on standardized testing is the direct result of the conservative push for accountability in education back in the late 90’s and turn of the millennium. As a conservative myself, I supported that push.

                      I don’t know if it is possible to insist on standards and accountability without a standardized measurement tool or an authority to implement those standards. Now that we have these…the same people who insisted on accountability of our schools are crying foul and accusing the authors of the standards of being subversive central planners/communists.

            • Adam__Baum

              “Have you read the standards like I have.”
              Your assertions of authority would be more convincing with proper punctuation and the proper use of the word “as” instead of “like”.

              • Guest


                • Adam__Baum

                  If she’s going to lecture everybody about education, she should exhibit some evidence of it.

                  • cindy

                    You are being obnoxious. Can you stick to the discussion and not offer a personal attack to distract, Mr. Perfect Pants? Why is an opposing view called a “lecture?” Are you not confident enough in your ability to stay on topic?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I think you’ve confused a mirror with a window.

                      “I am giving the reactions of a parent/teacher/trainer who has lived through highly successful state standards which created a very college and career ready child in a super-highly successful town”

                      Now, that is obnoxious.

              • cindy

                Oh, really? You must be quite a scholar to have picked that up.

                • Adam__Baum

                  No, I managed to successfully complete a decent high school curriculum and a freshman composition class in college-perhaps you should, as well.

      • Mark

        Ghost, don’t try to confuse this discussion with facts.

      • ponerology

        Yeah, you’re right. It’s not the feds directly; it’s the U.N.

      • iaviator

        Teachers of any stripe had only token representation…

      • JDarbender

        100% False !! Common Core was “developed” by bureaucrats and former bureaucrats while being endorsed / funded Bill and Melinda Gates (to sell software), Michael Dell (to sell hardware) and Obama Stimulus Dollars pushed it over the top with the enticement of cash to school districts. The propaganda (i.e. “informational text”) will be socialism through and through in Language Arts and (the coming) Science.

      • Deb

        “Instead, local teachers, principals, and superintendents — including
        Catholic teachers, principals, and superintendents — led the
        development and implementation of the common core.”

        You are sadly misinformed, Ghost. The primary development of CCSS had NOTHING whatsoever to do with parents and teachers and principals or public OR private schools. The few teachers who were involved in “reviewing” them expressed concerns that were disregarded. The standards are especially developmentally-inappropriate for early grades.

        Read it and weep for our children….

        • James Stagg

          Dear Deb,
          Again, we have a “failure to communicate”. What Ghost says is true; CCSS is the result of many experiments and teaching efforts which have been tried over the past twenty-thirty-forty years. He is mistaken in only one word “led”. CCSS was based on Governors and state school superintendents’ efforts for, essentially, cure No Child Left Behind. NCLB has had spectacular problems with teachers “teaching to the test”, and a great embarrassment to state school officials all over the US……but that’s another story.

          Your link to the wordpress blog is a dodge. This teacher is not upset about CCSS, but about the present administration’s attempt to promote it through less-than-ethical means. Therein lies the basic problem. If we have to bribe people to do better with educating our kids, the whole process by which this is done must come under scrutiny. But it seems that, instead of shooting the desperado off his horse as he attempts to kill us, we are trying to kill the horse he rides on.

          Standards are good. We need them. Let’s not destroy the rules because we disagree with the “rule’giver”.

          Up to you………………………………….

          • Adam__Baum

            “to, essentially, cure No Child Left Behind.”
            As if Frankenstein could be cured.

          • Gilbert Jacobi

            We always had standards. Just because the existing standards weren’t cookie-cutter identical throughout the land, was no reason to have the feds and Bill Gates come riding in to “fix” something that wasn’t broken. Please address something substantive, such as the fact that Algebra ll is being dropped.

      • MMcGovern

        Not true!

      • Anna

        In response to your statement that the federal government had no role, I would like to share a few quotes from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in his 2010 speech to UNESCO.

        “The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities.”

        “In March 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments…”

        “But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper…”.

        The federal government financed the two assessment consortiums which will create the national assessments as well as creating only curriculum frameworks. These federally-funded tests are the tools to ensure states and local school districts are teaching to the standards and will be used as a part of teacher evaluations. Naturally, schools will feel pressured to teach to these federally-funded tests. As Bill Gates said in 2009 at the National Legislators’ meeting in Philadelphia, “When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well.”

        Also, I would like to see where you got the information that Catholic teachers and principals led the development of common core. Only one teacher out of 60 people (which includes the work groups, feedback groups and validation committees) was involved with the development of common core. 5 of the 29 people on the validation committee refused to sign off on the committee’s final report. Please read the article linked below.

        • ponerology

          Ahhh, UNESCO. Our friends.

      • momoffive

        You need to do some more research on this. Basically 5 people wrote the standards with a support team of about 60, one of them was a teacher. Call your state board of ed and ask for the names of all the educators in your state that were involved and what they contributed. They like to say it was a teacher-led effort, but I can’t find any research that supports this.

      • CATEMCK

        How blind do you choose to be –common core was handed whole from DOE to those”local teachers” read ignorant union hacks, and if Catholic school teachers participated in the dumbing down, then they should be fired immediately. This is nothing more than the wholesale enslavement by ignorance of our children.

    • Mark

      There appears to be a great deal of misunderstanding and false assumptions about Common Core. I hope this site clears some of them up:

    • america111

      Do you all remember the “Czar” of Education named by this administration earlier? Kevin Jennings with his homosexual agenda. At the end, this is also the Common Core goal, to make schools in all states like California, teaching your children since Kindergarten they can be a boy or a girl, idolizing homosexuals in every class etc. Right now they are showing only their hand in math and English, wait when they show you history, social studies etc.

  • Steven Jonathan

    Very important article! Many of the Catholic schools are climbing on board with the dreadful CCSS because they are tied to accreditation. There is no accreditation worth embracing the dreadful standards- they are not rigorous, they are not good, they are a social utopian pipe dream meant to treat our children as Hannah Arendt described the fascist machine:

    “the worshipers of war were the first to concede that war in the era of machines could not possibly breed virtues like chivalry, courage, honor, and manliness, that it imposed on men nothing but the experience of bare destruction together with the humiliation of being only small cogs in the majestic wheel of slaughter.”

    In our case, the slaughter is soul slaughter, but the ideal for the architects of CCSS is to create a work force of “cogs for the machine” and those cogs are our children. We Catholics must abandon the accreditation, the SAT and the ACT! A Catholic school that adopts these dreadful standards can not remain faithfully Catholic.

  • Susan

    Then stop accepting Federal money. The Catholic Church has Lobbyist that do nothing but beg for Federal funds. STOP IT !

    • jar

      Just because one takes money from taxpayers does not mean one loses their rights.

      • Peadar Ban

        Dear jar,

        In this exchange, one does not “take money from taxpayers”. One takes money from a government agency, which is an entirely different animal. And, in taking money (i.e. a school or a school system) one promises, under pain of law, to use the money in the manner and for the services the government agency dictates. In taking the money, then, one give up something of one’s freedom, their “rights”. And, since it is a corporate body ( a School District, a denominational private school, a what-have-you) then all of the citizens who use the services of the body taking money from the taxpayer funded government agency are necessarily having their rights/freedoms taken from them without being asked or being able to say that they agree or disagree to the taking.

        Further, I’ll bet you a ham sandwich that this Common Core thing involved possibly no more than a thousand people in its coming to life from an idea to a fully fledged and functioning (as much and as full as any government program can function) nationwide program…and that included the clerical staff and maintenance personnel in the offices and corridors where the hatching and fledging took place.

        That’s 1,000 versus near a half billion folks. How’s that for democracy?

        On behalf of the former United States, I salute you.

        • jar

          I was addressing the general principle that just because money is received one is bound to obey without regard to conscience. It is not true. Now, if you do not like some of the regulations, and if they are just, then there is no need to quibble.

        • melissatx

          It is actually the Agenda 21 brainchild, and was a spawn of the UN. Follow the money, follow the ideology, follow the teachings, all the way back to it’s inception. Follow it from Ayers, Duncan to the UN

      • PewSitter

        Oh Yes You Do!!!!!!!!! “GOLDEN RULE – Them with the gold, Makes the rules”

        This is why no Catholic school, charity, whatever, should accept money from any level of government. Take Caesar’s coin, you also take his orders.

        • jar

          No not true. The government has no authority to violate your conscience.

          • Cotswoldsrose

            They do if they take it. Your rights, then, are only under God, when all is said and done. I went to Protestant Christian schools all my life, and they did not accept government funds. I think taking government funds is the worst thing a Christian school or university can do. If God wants the school to stay open without them, it will.

            • jar

              Oh for goodness sake. The notion the government must control us at all times is a defeatist attitude. We do not want to live in Catholic ghettos. Taking money from anyone, including the government, is not a license to eradicate your conscience or rights.

              • Daniel Kane

                Accepting monies from the government is the beginning of a contract for performance. Take the federal coin, do the federal dance, use the federal texts and the federal method. True at the State level.

                • jar

                  Again, that does not eliminate conscience rights. If the texts are a “problem” meaning a moral issue one is not bound to accept it. Not bound by any unjust law.

                  That does not seem to be the issue here though. People are complaining about the educational standards which frankly are no differently morally than before. That does not mean the standard is good.

                  The funny part about all this is that the contrast with Catholic schools is minimal. If we randomly chose 20 students from different Catholic schools how many could name the 10 commandments? The corporal works of mercy? The parts of the mass?

                  I will answer for you. The same as public schools.

                  • Daniel Kane

                    The contrast could not be stronger where I live. Classically trained Catholic students are faithfully sound and intellectually solid. They speak two languages other than English – even the trade kids. They read great books. They can write logically and with force. They memorized all of your questions – 10 commandments in grammar school – the phase of classical training that stresses memorization. My Catholic school is forcing the local public schools to become more “classical” to attract top-flight students (in our score obsessed culture). At the same time, money is never a gift from the government. It is for performance. If you refuse to perform/use the text/use the method they will (correctly) ask for the money back. If you take the money on a particular level, you traded your conscience for cash or lied to get the money. There is no third path with governmental monies.

                    • jar

                      You must be the smallest minority in the country. A type of aberration. Surely, you would agree?

                    • Daniel Kane

                      Hardly, check the top 50 Catholic High Schools. Pinecrest and Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta to name but two. When Dioceses hire public school teachers & administrators for Catholic education, you will predictably get a public school model, with the mediocrity, bloat & fetish for the “latest” – today it is common core yesterday it was computer labs, tomorrow something else coupled to 8 layers of management. So part of it is the hiring of candidates that do not think that the 10 Commandments are relevant knowledge or who are not fully formed, practicing Catholics. Champions of common core miss this simple point – the human person and his educational needs have not changed in 100 years or even 200. If you want to create great engineers, look to see how the NASA engineers of Apollo 13 were educated and do it that way. This is not complex but it is hard.

                    • jar

                      But, 50 out of the entire USA? That is a tiny drop. You cannot be arguing that most Catholic schools use a classics model? Are you?

                    • Daniel Kane

                      Most are likely not classical but the best are highly differentiated from their public peers.Catholic ed in a nutshell is an anchor not beholden to fad. If you want the fastest computer, the latest trend, the greatest choice in clubs/teams you can get it for free in the public sector of education. Along with that you will take whatever they give you, like it or not, because neither you nor your kids are customers. When a Catholic school panders to the public school model, when it needs to be part of the “latest” when one can not differentiate the students by deed, accomplishment, intellect or humanity what you get is a public school with a chapel – the kind that produces kids you mention – those who do not know the 10 Commandments, etc. A Catholic education may not necessarily be classical but if not, it must be differentiated from others on a human, spiritual and intellectual plane by a vertex to base Catholicity or why bother at all to attend? Catholic schools globing onto common core is just that – pandering to the public model and we are better than that. Catholic schools run like their public counterparts by publicly trained administrators will easily morph into the public methodology which is contrary to the mission of Catholic ed. While I think for certain and especially today, the classical model is best, I know for certain that an undifferentiated Catholic school a failing or failed effort, not worth the time or tuition.

                    • jar

                      But most are not and that was my point from the start.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Ad then consider how they solved the problem of bringing home those otherwise doomed men with Pickett slide-rules under incredible time constraints.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      At least the employer would be paying you with his/her money, unlike the government which utilizes money it appropriated from you and the rest of the citizenry.

                • Adam__Baum

                  “Accepting monies from the government is the beginning of a contract for performance.”

                  Better described as the Road to Serfdom.

        • Micha_Elyi

          “GOLDEN RULE – Them with the gold, Makes the rules.”

          This is why no Catholic school, charity, whatever, should accept money from any level of government.


          I recall that Justice Antonin Scalia once authored a Supreme Court opinion that included the maxim “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

          • Adam__Baum

            Really? Then I have a bone to pick with Scalia, but especially with his buddy Ginsberg. Funny how that rule never applies to the rulemakers.

        • Adam__Baum

          “Them with the gold, Makes the rules”

          That’s a warning on the dangers of economic assymetry, not an injunction to be a serf.
          The other problem with your sohism is that the master doesn’t make, mine or refine the gold, he earns it the old fashioned way-he taxes it.
          Maybe he with the gold has too much.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      It is not money that controls the curriculum, but rather accreditation as the gate-keeper of the professions. As Bastiat wrote in 1848, “Now, what does the state do? It says to us: “Teach what you want to your student; but when he is twenty years old, I shall question him concerning the opinions of Thales and Pythagoras; I shall have him scan the verses of Plautus; and if he is not good enough in these matters to prove to me that he has devoted the whole of his youth to them, he will be able to become neither a physician nor a barrister nor a magistrate nor a consul nor a diplomat nor a teacher.””

      Substitute what you will for Thales, Pythagoras and Plautus; the argument still holds.

      • Adam__Baum

        No, money isn’t the cop on this beat-but it is his billyclub. Take away the money and federal bureaucrats have no power.

    • Gail Finke

      It doesn’t have anything to do with money, or at least at has a LOT to do with other things. Standardized tests, available textbooks and materials (they’re pretty much all going to be aligned), accreditation, and soon the education of teachers themselves (they’ll all have to study it) — those have as much to do with Catholic schools adopting CC as grant money does. Don’t think for a minute that financial independence would stop this.

      • Guest

        Exactly right. There is an impetus here that is much bigger than government money.

  • Taylor

    My concern is that the new Common Core standards will be too demanding for the average American child. Math concepts that were taught in 8th grade, for example, must now be taught in 6th grade. On the other hand, as one who knocked about from one state to the next as a child, it would be nice to have some uniformity from state to state.

    • Steven Jonathan


      Math Standards separated from Pythagorean “divinity of number”, devoid of Euclidian Geometry and completely bereft of the value that accompanies Mathematics properly understood as that discreet concrete language meant to assist our understanding of reality is rigorous in a way that benefits no human mind. The common core math standards are idiotic and a result of a fatally flawed development process called “backwards planning.” Keep your children away from all such standards!

      The idea of a “national” standardized set of standards is a totalitarian violation of our Catholic principle of subsidiarity and represents a grave misunderstanding of the human person, the true principle of diversity and the need for parents to be their children’s’ first educators. And what about that all important local autonomy? Don’t wish such a dreadful fate on this declining country because a few people cross state lines.

      • Larry

        Steven Jonathan, actually the new standards are not separated from Pythagoras at all. In fact, Pythagoras’s Theorem will, under the new standards, be taught in 6th grade instead of 8th grade, as will aspects of algebra, such as the distributive property. One of the things I like about common core is the stress on mastery of specific concepts that are too often overlooked. I expect to see our next generation of college students much better prepared under the new standards.

        • Tony

          There is no point in teaching Pythagoras’ theorem unless you also teach why it is true. As for “the distributive property” — exhibit B in my case against the Hypertheoroidism of the New New Math — caused by a swelling of the theoroid gland, located at the base of the spine. Two minutes of thinking about it — and showing by means of blocks or tiles — will show anybody of ordinary intelligence that if you double a sum of two numbers, you double each of the numbers that make up the sum. Call it “distributive” when you are ready for real algebra and not dolled-up arithmetic.
          It is NOT CONCEPTS that young children need, in mathematics, but facility with number and length and area. If you were teaching them how to paint, drat it all, you would not teach them compositional theory! You would make them as familiar as they could be with the ordinary stuff of paints and media and color. You would teach them how to draw …

          • Larry

            “Call it “distributive” when you are ready for real algebra and not dolled-up arithmetic.”
            But it IS taught when the student is ready for real algebra. Of course they intuitively apply it prior to that, but that is no reason for them not to learn the formal rule as applied to variables.

      • B

        “Math Standards separated from Pythagorean “divinity of number”, devoid of Euclidian Geometry”

        Euclidean geometry is the CORE of the new standards. There is some additional enrichment (in trigonometry and analytical geometry, for example, and, of course, methods from algebra are applied to solving geometry problems,) but the standards include basic Euclidean geometry. I’m a little concerned that so many people appear to have strong opinions about the news standards when they are completely unfamiliar with what the standards are about! Anyone interested can see the common core geometry standards for themselves at:

    • RightThinkingWoman

      Exactly right. If anything–they are too rigorous. I’m not sure how the one Stanford professor who refused to sign off on the standards came to the opposite conclusion. A dear friend of mine, a retired structural engineer from Boeing and Stanford alum, looked over the standards and concluded the same thing–he said “good luck with that! They look too rigorous, in my view.”

    • Larry

      Taylor, I agree that the standards are more rigorous, especially in math, but is that such a bad thing? The new standards were in part developed to help kids in the US keep up with their counterparts in Finland and Korea. America is being left behind technologically — something we can’t afford.

  • George Albinson

    The Archdiocese of New York has enthusiastically promoted the Common Core. Of course, the archdiocesan school system seems to be in free fall despite, or perhaps in part because of, a Rube Goldberg restructuring system.

  • Fulton Sheen Jr

    When you take the king’s coin, you sing the king’s song.
    The catholic church should stop taking government money.

    • jar

      No, we do not lose our rights simply because the government gives money.

      • musicacre

        I don’t know what jar you’re living in, but this is not a new problem; just look at Ontario, with it’s “public” Catholic schools. They have to bend for every program the government introduces, even if it’s at complete odds with Catholic teaching. The latest stuff is the pharmaceuticals getting into every diocese and forcing the little girls to have injections for diseases commonly attributed to prostitutes. The parents are brow-beaten if they dare to say that the drug is not only untested and dangerous, but their rights have been hugely superseded! Parents are waved away as irrelevant as irritating buzzing insects….

    • Adam__Baum

      And you should stop trolling under that name.

  • Pingback: The Federal Takeover of Catholic Education | Catholic Canada()

  • Jay McNally

    The Michigan Catholic Conference is officially neutral on this issue, which has been on the front burner of the Legislature for several months, with massive lobbying against it by nearly conservatives.

  • RightThinkingWoman

    Common Core is not a curriculum, it is a set of standards. I am a devout Catholic, former homeschooling mom and former parish lay minister. All of my children have benefitted from all three modes of education (public, Catholic & home) at different points in their lives. I now work for a high performing public school district. The hyperbole and fear tactics that are used right now against CCCS by those who share my faith and conservative political values, is irresponsible and truly disconcerting to me.

    I will answer the embedded and misguided implications used in this article as best as I can in subsequent posts.

    • Larry

      I agree, RightThinkingWoman. The main concerns to what are some very good and necessary minimum standards appear to be along the lines of their being too modern, too government-based, too much of Bill Gates involved, and bizarre claims about Satanism and paganism being “reinstalled,” etc. The criticisms are impressionistic and emotional. I hope some of the commenters take the time to actually sit down and read the curriculum. One of my kids is taking some classes through a private company called Edison Learning, which are aligned to Common Core requirements, and they are the best classes I have ever seen. They are certainly a vast improvement on the classes I took in Catholic school. Objectives are clearly defined, superbly taught, and mastery is assured through assessments before the kids can continue.

    • Bob

      The mission statement from the common core website:

      “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”

      Is the purpose of our educational system to “compete successfully in the global economy….success in careers”?? Sounds very utilitarian to me.

      Or is it more important to teach our children virtues and values, right and wrong, what’s good, what’s evil, natural law, etc.?

      The Communist Chinese researcher that came up through an educational system designed “to compete” sees nothing wrong with creating and dissecting the live, human embryo.

      The Catholic educated researcher says “wait……the human embryo is a person, that needs to be respected and dignified.”

      • Ghost

        “Or is it more important to teach our children virtues and values, right and wrong, what’s good, what’s evil, natural law, etc.?”
        Of course these things are more important than learning math and Spanish, etc., but most of us teach our kids that at home. Whether or not they are getting a great academic education in school doesn’t affect that process one way or another. I send my kids to school for the academic learning. I wouldn’t expect any school – not even a Catholic school – to fully teach them what I want them to know about virtue. And, yes, I do want a utilitarian education for my children. I want them to grow up to be professionals and be able to function in the world and to help their own families. None of this in any way affects the education in morality that I hope to provide them at home and in Faith Formation at Church. One does not come at the expense of the other. There is no reason to believe that improving the quality of public education should in any way impact character training in the home.

        • Bob

          So……as a Catholic parent you teach your child the Church’s teaching on contraception, abortion are immoral. Your 9th grader walks in to health class her freshman year at public high and is taught when she has sex the benefits of the Pill and condoms. What’s your move then? And the majority of your child’s classmates are not Catholic (let alone, Christian)and they agree with the health teacher. No confusion for your child then, huh?

          Across town, another Catholic child that is taught at home the intrinsic evil of contraception and abortion goes to the archdiocesan high school. This 9th grader is taught the scriptural sacredness of marriage, the theology of the body, etc.

          Both kids are getting great math, English, science courses. The Catholic School child however is not getting mixed signals. What’s taught at home, is reinforced at school.

          • Ghost

            I went to Catholic school, and I dunno … Whatever they taught us, there were kids using contraception (at a surprisingly early age) and having abortions! And what you are talking about has nothing at all to do with Common Core.

            • ponerology

              Of course it has to do with common crud….core. This is the hive mind; the push for everything to be learned in group activities. You DO want to be part of the group, right? You DON’T want to have different ideas than those of the group, yes? Teachers (on Long Island) are being told by their bossees that “direct instruction” is to be used very sparingly. The children are to teach themselves in groups.

          • Addie Smith


        • ponerology

          La-La-Land. The public schools and the Catholic (sic) schools undo most everything any decent parent tries to inculcate into their children. The propaganda/indoctrination is very strong and the children are (literally) a captive audience. School lock-down anyone?

    • jasonbmiller

      Isn’t the public backlash against CCCS well-deserved though? As people have repeatedly pointed out, this has not allowed local communities to be involved in a stakeholder process. It has completely circumvented public dialogue and input. In a way, that is so Bill Gates, because, like Steve Jobs, he could be such an autocrat in the way he ran his company. But the U.S. is not a company! You can have the best ideas and intentions in the world, but if you circumvent the democratic process in this country, it is not going to be well-received. The problem with the feds implementing the standards as well is that it assumes that the entire nation is behind the rest of the world in these standards. They think the statistical mean represents everyone. The fact is that there are many counties and states that are doing fine – federal standards were unnecessary for them. Something a little more targeted would make more sense – like making schools adopt the standard who have a certain drop out rate, who produce students failing to achieve certain GPAs, or something like that. It is always annoying when the people who are performing fine have to pay the consequences for those who are not. The point is that the feds avoided democratic and consensus building processes and forced something on schools regardless of their performance. That kind of incompetence is exactly why people mistrust the feds setting any standards – they may be great standards, but they FAILED in selling their product. Should we expect anything less but more failure? Last, I would add that we know the problem with schools is WAY more than curriculum. If these folks think that curriculum is going to fix the problem of our educational system, that is a laugh. You’re still going to have dead wait – bad teachers who are protected by unions. You’re still are going to have district mismanagement that results in waste of millions of dollars of funding that could be used directly in schools. You’re still going to have schools that are rigid in their approach to the differing learning styles of students. You are still going to have schools which fail to get parents more involved in owning their child’s education and owning their role in bettering their school. Standards won’t fix ANY of that. In a way, these ridiculous standards represent so much of what was wrong with Bill Gates and the way he ran Microsoft. He squashed innovation and competition – he wanted to make his operating system the standard and destroy anything else that got in the way. It would have been far better for the foundation to create a stakeholder process for communities to create their own approaches, then reward those who were able to achieve certain benchmarks. Then the innovations developed by communities could become best practices. And of course we know there are already some best practices out there with the successful schools that already exist – they were completely ignored!! What a completely offensive joke! And given extensive research indicates that homeshooling children already outperform public school kids, there is absolutely NO reason for them to adopt this standard other than it being forced on them because the standards will ultimately be forced into things like SAT content development and such.

      • Ghost

        Each state can decide whether or not to implement the new standards. State’s determine standards in any case, so this is no different. I hope most states rise to the challenge, as the new standards are more rigorous than most of the old.

  • RightThinkingWoman

    “Some might have noticed over the past month that there were dramatic changes in the textbooks and tests that their children were bringing home. ”
    I have spent an inordinate amount of time responding to blogger posts and articles touting some new outrageous assignment that children are expected to complete…usually they have to do with some kind of “fuzzy math” problem or a literature exercise where the passage used is either sexually inappropriate (e.g., a variation of the infamous “Heather has Two Mommies” for kindergartners story). The headline screams “New Common Core homework pits children against their parents!” or “New Common Core math prioritizes race and gender equity over correct answers!”
    Let this sink in: Common Core is not a curriculum. It is a set of standards. The curriculum industry will spends millions labeling their textbooks, workbooks and software as “Common Core aligned!” because the goal of private business is to sell their stuff to school districts and get in on the textbook gravy train. The school districts, as they always have been, are tasked with selecting curriculum that will help accomplish the goal of getting kids to the standards. This means that some school districts, where the politics are liberal, will be more politically correct than the ones where the politics are more conservative. There will still be terrible curriculum materials and there will be excellent ones. CCCS doesn’t change that.

    • slainte

      What are your educational qualifications (ie., which colleges did you attend and what degrees do you possess)?

      • RightThinkingWoman

        What is the premise of your question? I noticed you haven’t asked any other posters the same question.

        • Bob

          It’s a good question slainte. RTW, you’re trying to portray yourselves as an “expert” on the subject, or possibly you have your own biased agenda?

          “Reading exerpts from the Declaration of Indepence is a far better exercise in critical thing……” Explain? Prove your point? I know of many people that incorrectly dangle a line or “exerpt” from scripture without taking in to context the exerpts meaning in the chapter, book, or testament, or what the author intended. You can take any line from the Declaration and incorrectly do the same.

          • davidshockey

            I am a trained engineer and work in information technology. I also had a career as a military officer. Not once in all my years of work has any supervisor asked me to read one of the classics and give me an opinion on it.

            But I have read many manuals, white papers, and textbooks on my fields of study both to enhance my knowledge and render an opinion for my employers.

            That is the reasoning behind the emphasis on “informational texts” in common core state standards. To prepare for college and career, it is useful to be able to read and understand non-fiction.

            Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the classics and believe they are useful. I just finished reading Anna Karenina and Of Human Bondage only for the pleasure of it. But to prepare students for life they must be able to read and understand works outside of fictional literature.

            Common Core does not replace the classics as some misinformed critics say. The requirements for informational texts is across all subjects. An English literature teacher need not remove any of the classics and can still meet the standards without assigning any informational texts in their reading assignments.

        • slainte

          The weight given your opinions is directly proportional to your qualifications as an expert in the area in which you profess expertise.
          Will you now answer the question? What are your educational qualifications which would qualify you to render reliable opinions on the efficacy of Common Core?

          • James_Kabala

            It probably would be better if everyone on this site used his or her real name. Since neither RightThinkingWoman nor Slainte has chosen to do so (although the former does have a picture), neither has the right to challenge the other.

        • Cormac_mac_Airt

          RTW, apparently you haven’t been stupefied by enough “education” degrees to express your opinion. Keep up the good fight.

        • jasonbmiller

          It is a reasonable question given that the Obama administration has been found and admits to hiring public relations firms to go around to sites like this and post information to sell their ideologies. This isn’t paranoia – it is reality. So while you are at it, could you also make a legal statement that you are not connected to the Obama Administration, the Bill Gates foundation, or the developers of Core Curriculum in any way.

          • Bob

            Agreed. I was on a site debating the concerns/cons of the Affordable Healthcare Act using real life scenarios and there was constantly a poster on the site replying to myself and others on the site with what appeared to clearly be “Obamacare speak.” When the person was pressed if they were any way affiliated with the HHS, Obama administration, or, that person never responded. One had to wonder.

    • jasonbmiller

      Standards, to a greater or lesser extent, set curriculum, depending on what the standards are and how the standards are articulated. If my standard says “all children need to explain the scientific method by the age of 10” – well then…that says something about what my curriculum is going to be about, doesn’t it? It sure doesn’t mean I’m going to be teaching music theory. Curriculum may not be explicit, but it can be implicit. So when you make statements like Common Core is not a curriculum, it just isn’t accurate and it makes it appear like you are not completely objective.

  • RightThinkingWoman

    ” Others may have noticed that in language arts, their children are now being introduced to some very different kinds of books—texts with more emphasis on technical or informational material, and less emphasis on classical literature.”

    This claim is similar to an article from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), to whom I once proudly supported, made a similar claim; “Common Core will replace great works of literature while forcing our kids to read computer manuals or Executive Orders from President Obama.”

    This criticism is based on the Common Core new emphasis on “informational texts.” For instance, instead of reading about what a great leader Winston Churchill was in a textbook, it is far better to read excerpts from his speeches and learn to characterize his ways of thinking, his values and viewpoints and how he influenced history. In Language Arts, it takes on an interesting twist. One brilliant English teacher I know has decided to explore excerpts from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu (informational/non-fiction text), while her class is studying epic war poetry like “Beowulf” and “The Odyssey.” “The Art of War” is a classic work from an ancient culture. Students will learn to synthesize the principles of great leaders/warriors according to Sun Tzu and analyze whether Beowulf or Odysseus met such criteria. They must cite from all three works and make their case: was Beowulf a warrior? A good leader? This kind of analysis.synthesis exercise serves the purpose of understanding enduring values (or examples where values were brutally trampled on).

    Reading excerpts from the Declaration of Independence is a far better exercise in critical thinking than reading a textbook description of the Declaration of Independence. Articles on current events help students bridge the gap of comprehension between their social media world and the serious happenings taking place across the globe.

    My 8th grade daughter brought home an assignment “how to prepare for a Socratic seminar.” As a class they are reading “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. The homework is not a written assignment–she has some questions to ask herself in preparation for the seminar. This is the second year Common Core Standards have been used in our school district. I am quite happy with them.

  • RightThinkingWoman

    There is much more, but I’ll stop for now. I apologize for the sloppy editing of my posts. I copied and pasted excerpts from former posts and did not adequately transition at times.

    • slainte

      No problem. Your colleague and co-advocate “Larry” does not appear to mind at all.

  • Tony

    Right Thinking Woman’s premises are faulty. She and the people implementing the CCC believe that human beings are information-processing machines, and that texts can be treated as information. The example of Beowulf is instructive. She praises her child’s teacher for assigning Sun-Tzu’s Art of War in conjunction with the medieval poem. I can think of nothing more likely to make a kid hate Beowulf than something like that, because it reduces the poem to a tedious instance of war-making according to plan, and not a POEM, a work of art — and in this case, a work of art by a wistful Christian monk, looking back upon his people’s past, and their noble but severely flawed or incomplete ideals.
    As for too much rigor in the math standards: that depends on what you mean. If you mean that students will be able to do sophisticated problems in arithmetic (yes, there used to be something called Higher Arithmetic) by grade six, forget it. They won’t. It’s not emphasized. What is emphasized is a return to the horrible New Math from the 60’s. That New Math was set theory for children, with all of the terminology of set theory, and what, for most people and most purposes, was nothing more than obfuscatory verbiage to complicate what is simple, and to prevent students from immediately intuiting what the right answer was or the right way to arrive at it.
    I defy anyone to name for me a SINGLE idea implemented in our public schools in the last sixty years that has been anything other than foolish or disastrous. Basal readers, look-say reading, New Math, elimination of geography, folding of history and geography into social studies, conversational teaching of languages, elimination of systematic grammar and grammatical definitions, “creative” spelling, creative writing in the early grades, elimination of survey courses in American and British literature, dispensing with memory work in the early grades, replacement of classical texts with “relevant” and forgettable new stuff, hatred of religion, vapid electives, “pods,” open classrooms, “unit” studies …

    • Larry

      What’s wrong with set theory? It offers an essential grounding in logic, leads to an understanding of AND/OR gates, and is fundamental to some of the math taught in computer and engineering courses. It’s also helpful in understanding many math concepts, e.g., number theory, absolute value inequalities, etc. How else would one describe a possible domain or range? Set theory is generally very simple and doesn’t take up much time. It’s also an essential part of math.

      • Tony

        What’s wrong with set theory? It confuses children with the verbiage, and it makes it hard for them to acquire natural facility with numbers. I want to see kids who can, at a glance, tell that 237 x 298 is going to have five digits and will begin with a 6 and end with a 6. I want the brighter among them to be able to tell, at a glance, that a batter who has 152 hits in 511 at bats is batting just below .300. I want the brightest among them to see that it is going to be .297. Set theory can come later.

        • Larry

          Set theory shouldn’t confuse children at all. What is taught as set theory in K-12 is extremely simple and straightforward. It should be taught as a means of helping kids learn to classify and to develop logic. Nothing related to set theory is going to prevent or inhibit children from learning to do the very simplistic arithmetic problems that you set above. Most young children could solve the first of these problems because they’re taught to estimate. It doesn’t take smarts to learn to solve the latter (152/511) in one’s head. It takes practice, drill, and a few fairly mechanical techniques. Most children of average intelligence are capable of learning the techniques of performing relatively complicated mental arithmetic, but the goal does not need to be to stamp out human calculators. We have hand-held calculators these days. There’s a lot more to math than arithmetic. Personally I prefer the more algebraic approach that uses the distributive property to solving mixture and solution problems. It is more elegant and descriptive.

          • Tony

            Have you ever actually taught children? Do you know how their eyes glass over from the mystifying verbiage and terminology? If children of average intelligence can solve the problem I gave above, how come we have so many grownups of average intelligence who can’t figure out what 15 percent of their bar bill is? You sneer at facility with number — why? You would use the distributive property to solve the mixture problem — why? That would entangle the poor kid in a morass of the unwieldy and the irrelevant. In the saline solution problem above, the endpoints and the result are all irrelevant. Instead of 3, 10, and 15, they could be .2457, .2464, and .2469, or 455, 462, and 467. The only thing that is relevant is the ratio, 7 to 5. Teach a kid that — and THEN going on to simultaneous linear equations, when you really need them, will be a breeze.

            • Mark

              My kids didn’t find the verbiage and terminology of set theory “mystifying.” It’s so easy! They did get bored with arithmetic, however. I would be curious to know how many of the kids you have apparently taught went on to excel in math-based professions? One of my own kids took very little interest in math in elementary school but became fascinated with the idea of a limit in middle school. From there, he went on to teach himself calculus in short order. He quickly picked up everything he should have learned in elementary school. Holding him back and making him repeat material he hated would have damaged him irreparably.

              • Adam__Baum

                Conduct an experiment: Play “store” with your kids and tell them you are buying something for $15.87. Now hand then a twenty and a dollar bill.
                If your kids immediately realize that you are trying to obtain change in the form of a five, then their boredom is justified, and they are significantly advanced above the present crop of young people working as clerks across America.

    • Eric

      “If you mean that students will be able to do sophisticated problems in arithmetic (yes, there used to be something called Higher Arithmetic) by grade six, forget it. They won’t. It’s not emphasized.”
      Tony, I think you’ll find that arithmetic has been heavily emphasized in the past several years, at least since my children began attending public school (I have six children, five to 17 years old, all publicly schooled.) “Old” has been “in” since my oldest started, and they’ve all had rigorous backgrounds in phonics and been drilled to death on their tables and higher arithmetic.
      What is more important is that, over and above a thorough grounding in the basics, they are learning to problem solve creatively. My sixth grader, working to common core standards, came home the other day very pleased with herself because she was the first in her class to solve this problem: “How many liters of 3% saline solution and 15% saline solution do I have to mix in order to get 20 liters of 10% saline solution.” She’s in a GT class, but that’s not bad for sixth grade. The techniques she needed to get the answer are taught to all sixth graders in her class. I could not have solved that problem at her age because I didn’t have the basic algebraic building blocks.

      • Tony

        Eric — you have to look at the old textbooks. I mean really old — arithmetic textbooks circa 1900. That would not have been considered a very sophisticated problem. In John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley, the young Roddy McDowall is set exactly that form of an arithmetic problem — algebra is not needed for its solution. The problem above does not require algebra, but rather what used to be an ordinary sense of number. You basically have to move the solution seven of twelve units in the strong direction. So you need 7 parts of the stronger mix to 5 parts of the weaker mix. If you want 20 liters, 7/12 of them will be of the stronger solution. That’s an ordinary problem in multiplying a fraction by an integer. The answer is 11 2/3, and therefore 8 1/3 of the other. To use algebra will muck up the problem considerably…. with unnecessary x’s and y’s; and will render it hard for the young students ever to acquire that natural facility I’m talking about. If every student in a class can, without pen and paper, immediately answer the question, 7 is 21 percent of what? — then I will believe you.
        Look at the old textbooks — that’s all I ask. Know what was abandoned.

        • James_Kabala

          Where do 7 and 12 come from at all? I find the algebraic way much easier to understand. At least I can get the second question easily – 33 1/3, right?

          • James_Kabala

            Oh, I think I get it now – from 0.03 to 0.15 is 0.12, and 0.10 is 7/12 of the way there. Is that the underlying idea? An interesting approach. Easier or harder? I’m not sure.

      • Mark

        I also don’t see much point in training children, through drill and kill, to perform complex feats of mental arithmetic. Kids don’t need that anymore. When my daughter was in 6th grade, her school offered an after school class in mental arithmetic. She learned to find cube roots in her head and to do long division without paper or a calculator, as did several of her friends. It made them all look a lot smarter than they really were and led to others being very impressed with their seeming “brilliance”, but the reality was that they weren’t applying high level cognitive skills and the tricks they learned were really just that. They became a bunch of performing seals. I would rather have seen her spend the time learning higher-level math concepts. She matured far more in her math by taking another class in the math of games and puzzles, which led her into some fairly sophisticated stats and game theory.

        • Tony

          Sorry, that’s baloney. We don’t have calculators all the time. What we do have are minds, and if you are not familiar with the ways of numbers, you won’t understand things, and that includes the answers you get from your stupid calculator. Drill and kill? Have you any idea how much you need to UNDERSTAND in order to do mental arithmetic? You don’t, do you? You don’t understand that the same facility with number will be of tremendous use when you learn about probability and so forth …

          • James_Kabala

            You know, I think your arguments have more in common than you think – “There is no point in teaching Pythagoras’ theorem unless you also teach why it is true” and “I would rather have seen her spend the time learning higher-level math concepts” are actually pretty similar statements. You both want people to learn deep underlying concepts – unfortunately, you disagree on what those underlying concepts should be!

            • Mark

              James, I think you’re right. For me, it’s not either/or; it’s both. Or all.

          • Mark

            My kids love learning concepts and got bored to tears learning their multiplication tables and practicing long division. They enjoyed set theory and found many practical applications for it. They loved algebra and used it to re-explore the boring arithmetic techniques they once learned by rote and could not always prove for the general case. They love stats and calculus. Some of the kids who were calculating cube roots in their head along with my daughter back in the day aren’t able to rotate 3D figures in their heads or to understand calculus or regression analysis. Calculation is a lower order skill. It has its place up to a point, but it shouldn’t squeeze out mathematical advancement.

      • Addie Smith

        I’ve been discussing the Common Core with my now 27 year old son (he’s been reading some of the informational posts on various sites, he’s read quite a bit, and this is what he told me: “Mom, I wish to hell they would have had Common Core when I was in school instead of having us memorize and going over it a thousand times that 2 plus 2 equals 4 – I was so damned bored by the time they’d repeated that the one hundredth time that I just tuned them out and said to hell with them, I’ll learn on my own in my own way.” He’s just like his father and I both were in school – we hated school due to all of the ridiculous repetition and memorization with no real substance – no real thinking.

    • davidshockey

      “obfuscatory verbiage to complicate what is simple”, said Tony in words dripping with irony.

  • Lynne

    Anne, Thank you for publishing this so that more Catholics are aware of this program. It was just accepted in the Catholic school that my grandchildren attend and I seem to be the only one outraged. I think it is time for my family to pack up and move out of here!

    • Pat

      Linne, check out Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church/Academy at in San Antonio Texas.

      • Molly

        Yes, Atonement has firmly stated, in one of their school newsletters, that they will NOT adopt CCSS or CCSS-aligned curriculum, which is very good. If the TX Ed Dept. changes accreditation requirements, however….I’m not sure how they will receive accreditation, unless they have made some backdoor agreement with the Archdiocese in return for staying in the diocese rather than being permitted to join the Anglican prelature? Hmm….

        As for other dioceses, perhaps Lincoln NE?

  • Lynne

    By the way, once we accept money from the gov’t – they will own us and implement their population control programs into our schools. Look out – here comes Planned Parenthood!

    • Addie Smith

      Population control by way of birth control is the responsible way to be in this, the 21st century. We aren’t living in the 17th century anymore.

  • Susan

    Common Core removes ALL Classical Education—which is the only “way” to truly educate. Without understanding ideas throughout the ages, children are reduced to third world ignorant people, who do not have a written language. They will be trained like a dog and sexualized (Miley Cyrus) (Sex Ed (Lukacs) is designed to destroy Virtue in children) to do work for the corporations and/or State-—they will be “happy” amoral slaves-—the object of Marxism-—to remove Knowledge and Wisdom (Classical Ideas) and morality and remove the ability to use “Reason” to find Truth (Marxism=Big Lie).

    Natural Law/Reason developed and spread by the Scholastics (Catholics) infused all of Western Civilization and led to the Age of Reason and Excellence and the USA–the most brilliant, free, and “just” government in the history of man.

    This removal of Virtue (Excellence/Truth/God) makes people complacent with mediocrity—with being controlled in every aspect and begging the State for tidbits.

    Without Knowledge (Classical Education) children will be like the slaves of old and people of cultures with unwritten language….and unable to understand those concepts which created Newton, Einstein and the concepts of “Individual Rights from God”.

    Common Core is all about reinstalling paganism/Satanism—the removal of Judeo-Christian ideas so they can flip Good and Evil—which destroys Justice/Truth and removes God. That way– the State will be able to sell their Big Lies—like the death panels of obamacare as “Good” and kids will be happy ACORN type thugs—like the Homosexual Brownshirts of Hitler–amoral, evil people who will do dehumanizing acts on everyone.

    • Tom

      Susan, please get some help.

      • bordm

        Susan is not the one that needs help…..

      • Susan

        “Knowledge is power”. Why would you ignore everything JS Mill stated in “On Liberty” about the evil of allowing the State to control education. He stated very clearly that the government will never educate—it will make the kids into slaves for the State. (I recently took some classes at a California State U—and the “kids” were as dumb as stumps—hadn’t been exposed to such stupid ignorant people—it was shocking–since my kids went to private schools and I was exposed to bright kids). 89% of kids go to the crappy public schools to be sexualized (de-Christianized/paganized) and made ignorant since they are filled as the ex-KGB stated—with misinformation (Lies) so they can’t EVER REASON—their foundational knowledge is none-existent—they believe any absurd lies–such as there is a God-Given Right to sodomize people –and condition little boys into muslim ethics—with Pride in anal sex.

        But you don’t seem to be able to grasp Logic and Reason and why our brilliant founders loathed “majority” mob rule and knew that men were not angels and needed controls—and restricted Federal power over the “masses” and States.

        You must have went to the public indoctrination centers—I went to private schools. I firmly believe in God—I have all the help and love I can stand. Ha!

        • Larry

          “You must have went to the public indoctrination centers—I went to private schools.”
          I’m not sure that “wenting” to private schools helped.

          • Susan

            Well, it is true the public school curricula infected Catholic curricula because of the infiltration that Bella Dodd wrote about—the homosexual Marxists who flooded the seminaries to destroy the Catholic Church from the inside. Molesting boys is their MO to discredit the Church. Vatican II was the “Smoke of Satan” and I was influenced by the post-Vatican II “church”.

            But, the Catholic Curricula was still far superior to the sexualization/destruction of Virtue in public schools who believe in the Darwin Myth and that everything erupted out of scum.

            By the way—went is the past tense of “go” and there is no such word as “wenting”—but then, you probably weren’t exposed to verb tense or diagramming sentences.

        • Addie Smith

          So, you’d much rather they be sodomized by Catholic priests huh? And, by the way, that sodomizing of little boys by Catholic priests has been going on for centuries.

  • john

    The most sensible objection still ought to be that if it’s good enough for the public schools, it is far from good enough for Catholic schools. If a Catholic school is content to produce graduates who meet public schools “standards,” no sensible parent should send his or her child there.

    • Just saying

      Too many Catholic schools have aped the progressive education dogmas that have destroyed public education over the past generation. CCSS can’t be blamed for this.

      • ponerology

        Right; so what does that tell you? Are they actually Catholic or CINO?

      • Lowen_Lowen

        The problem may be that the Catholic church like everyone that embraces traditional American values, has been too trusting and let the progressives, whose “religion” is social justice, populate the Catholic (and all other) school system and its administration, and now we’re stuck with a bunch of progressives that we have to weed out.
        First though, preside over the extraction of Common Core from the Catholic system and reinstate the superior Catholic curriculum. The Catholic system doe not need Common Core and can only have implemented it out of fear or funding promises. A principled system has to be reinstated or the system will be morally compromised. THis would be a big victory for the Progressives.
        Its difficult to think of anything more socialist that a centrally controlled school system surreptitiously implemented without the knowledge of congress and circumventing the strict statutory (Constitutional) prohibitions against centralized education.

      • Adam__Baum

        No, but we don’t have to embrace the latest installment in this serial drama.

    • Ghost

      John, bear in mind that they are MINIMUM standards. There is no law against providing additional enrichment.

      • Zmama

        Schools are only permitted to add 15% additional curriculum to the CCSS.Please research this and you will find this to be a fact.

        • Mark

          Common core isn’t a curriculum. It’s a set of standards. Also school districts determine how much curriculum they want to add, which is usually different for different children. Kids in GATE programs are going to be taught much more than 15% over and above the standard curriculum.

          • James Stagg

            Well done, Mark. At last, some critical thinking after real investigation. Kudos!

            • Zmama

              Standards dictate curriculum Mark-you should realize that. Just wondering-what is your background in education? As well as being a parent who witnessed first hand the impact of the CCSS on our daughter’s education last year in our parish elementary school, I am also a teacher with years of experience in both parochial and public schools, in both urban and suburban settings. I have a B.S. in psychology and prior to entering the field of education, had years of experience in the mental health field dealing with a variety of populations, mainly children with various special needs. I have an M.Ed. with certification in early childhood ed and elementary ed. We chose to transfer our daughter to a private Catholic school that is choosing to “ignore” CCSS and maintain its already high standards of education. I am concerned about the impact of CCSS on the children whose families cannot afford an alternative setting, particularly students like those I taught in the inner city, where I witnessed first hand the superiority of the standards we had in our archdiocese in contrast to those of the public school.
              I would like to know what your first hand experience with these standards has been. Unless you are in the trenches dealing with the impact of these standards on curriculum ( I’m going to parse my words carefully here so you don’t jump all over me again for saying CC is a curriculum.) then I question whether your “research” is really not just more CC soundbites.
              I do believe we need to have strong expectations of all students and there are a few good elements to CCSS. Generally speaking however, many of the standards are not developmentally appropriate for young students. Moreover, while the trend in education for the past decade has been towards differentiated instruction to meet the individual learning styles of students, CCSS contradicts this trend, Despite your assessment of the 15% rule, it stems from the fact that the CCSS are copyrighted and may not be altered or added onto more than 15%. That means 85% of the standards must remain in place for all students. Perhaps your children are among those lucky few who are part of special GATE programs. I don’t know. The article was about the impact of CCSS on Catholic education. In our archdiocese we do not have any GATE programs at the elementary level. We have schools attempting to follow CCSS to the letter and after just one year, parents are pulling their children out in droves..

              • James Stagg

                Thank you, Zmama, for your well-chosen words and your thoughts based on your real-world experience.

                I don’t want to argue the application of CCSS to Catholic schools, because it is completely up to the appropriate bishop and his education department how, when, and to what degree these standards are applicable.

                My wife, to whom I read your comment, is retired from teaching primary grades for 53 years. She asks, why did the original parish school adopt CCSS? Was this a pastor’s decision, or a diocesan direction? Use of CCSS is completely optional for all Catholic and private schools. If the parish school did not meet the standards, and this was the reason for the “upgrade”, were the teachers trained in applying these standards?

                Your concern about inner-city schools is well-founded. But then, CCSS does not have anything to do with their present inability to teach (reach) children. As a psychologist, you are well aware of the many circumstances that affect inner-city schools, especially those without the discipline normally associated with inner-city Catholic schools. Remedial work, as you have done, may even become more important under CCSS. Just establishing the “standards” will not improve the result without additional effort to train teachers and provide a learning environment.

                Again, thanks for your valuable reply.

        • Mark

          I researched this, and it’s clearly not true. What you may have seen is “To allow for some state-level customization, a provision in the voluntary adoption guidelines allows states to supplement the common core standards with state-specific standards, up to an additional 15 percent.” What this means is that the standards are somewhat flexible and can be customized up to a point while still considered to be common core. I cannot stress how different this is from adapting a curriculum (NOT a set of standards — the standards are NOT a curriculum) for a particular child or group of kids. If a teacher has a group in his class that wants to go ahead, of course he can enrich above and beyond the standards. My kids’ teachers do that all the time. They break up the class into groups and one group may be doing three times as much math as another. They have pull-out GATE groups for the top kids, which allow the children to move ahead at far more than a pace of 15%. Their school sends them on to high school or college classes if they outgrow what the school can offer. Sorry, Zmama, your information is wrong.

  • Josh

    I want to puke

  • verilinon

    You’d think a professor would, at the very least, have a tenuous grasp of the differences between “curriculum” and “standards” before jumping on a soap box to rhetorically dismember a shift in education. If you have no understanding of the fundamentals of a thing, slow your roll before you do a disservice to those expensive letters following your name.

  • Mack

    Regrettably, only half the electorate voted last November, and almost no one ever votes in local school board elections, which arguably are more important than presidential elections. People complain – and write articles and books – but they don’t vote.

    • Guest

      The problem is those running are just like the voters. Not much difference.

    • ponerology

      Voting doesn’t matter when every “elected” government is a sham. Those in control are sitting in the U.N. building voting on ratifying treaties which overshadow anything the “elected” governments do. There is no grass roots anything. You’re made to believe there is so that you keep spinning like a top, but you stay in place.

      • Adam__Baum

        Voting is a charade when the voters regard the government as their father, their paymaster and their lord. They are owned and to borrow a phrase “have no skin in the game”, but can still pass go and collect $200

  • Lou Baumer Fort Myers, FL

    Please name the 4 states that had the good sense not to adopt the CC baloney.
    Thanks you!
    Lou Baumer Fort Myers, FL

    • Ghost

      They are Alaska (ranked 32nd in SAT scores,) Nebraska (ranked 8th,) Texas (ranked 45th,) and Virginia (ranked 33rd.) All but Nebraska need to be reviewing their current state standards. Perhaps, for these states, Common Core would be an improvement.

      • Randall Ward

        You would make a great government worker. Things are not that simple. When you say Texas are you talking about the white Texas, the brown Texas or the black Texas, or the yellow Texas. That is how the scores are divided up. Race is more important than the teaching method. Nebraska is mostly white and the scores are high.

  • RightThinkingWoman

    I have yet to see a criticism leveled against Common Core that actually cites the standards themselves. The criticisms (from Phyllis Shlafly, et al) are philosophical accusations that conflate general criticisms against progressive education theories and federal intrusion on education. Hanging these on Common Core is a convenient tactic, but it is little more than a straw man tactic. Ms. Shlafly and the Eagle Forum used almost verbatim the same language to criticize Outcome Based Education (OBE)in the 90’s. (For the record, OBE was an awful accommodation and was pretty much killed off when No Child Left Behind was passed).

    The problem with Common Core will be how it is implemented. I believe progressive approaches will fail because the standards are based on skill sets, not actual knowledge content. So, can the student read a passage and summarize the author’s point, using appropriate citations? I think it is too soon for testing and I think our own school district may have a bumpy ride transitioning into such high standards.

    For the person who asked why more public input wasn’t sought, all I can think of is how truly terrible it is to relegate educational policy to public consensus. Margaret Thatcher rightfully called consensus something that happens in the absence of leadership: “To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” I applaud the Governor’s association for using a solid source from which to create new standards (Mortimer Adler and Ed Hirsch).

    I might also add that a premise in this article is that Catholic education itself is monolithic in its claim that CCCS will bring its downfall. My kids attended very good Catholic schools. My oldest attended a Jesuit prep school and is now a senior at a Catholic Jesuit college. In High School he routinely battled liberal teachers who promoted progressive moral values. The school participated in the pro-gay “Day of Silence” and one priest’s attempt to start a pro-life group was fought against by several teachers. Yet, this school continues to shine as an example of what a fine education should be, because its kids go on to Ivy League schools and test in the higher percentiles on the ACT.

    I agree that education should be about developing virtuous human beings, but I am not really seeing that happen in Catholic schools any more than in public schools. Since moving to the south my younger kids are in a public school where they have learned more positive things about Christianity’s influence on Western Civilization than they ever did in Catholic schools. They have the opportunity to study five levels of Latin (not offered in any of the Catholic schools they went to on the west coast). In English literature they are reading “The Inferno,” and in World History my 7th grader learned more about the influence of the Jesuits on Asia than my oldest did going to a Jesuit High School.

    For the ones who demanded to know my credentials, I guess my question is “what are your credentials that entitle you to critique or judge mine as worthy?” My primary credential, according to the Church, is as a parent. I have a BA in political science from a state university, an MA in theology & ministry from a liberal Jesuit University and am now working toward a doctorate in Education (Curriculum & Instruction) at Liberty University, a conservative evangelical school. That anybody thinks those credentials entitle me to a more (or less) worthy opinion than a concerned parent with a just high school diploma or another with a PhD from Catholic University, speaks volumes.

    • Guest

      You have done a great job here holding up your position. I applaud you. I do not defend common core with vigor. I see it as one more education fad. I do not see it as some liberal problem. It is the usual from our overlords. There may be good points and bad points.

      As you say Catholic education is nothing to brag about. The Catholic schools that usually stand out to the culture are the ones you mention that get kids into elite schools but do not teach the faith.

      • RightThinkingWoman

        Thank you, Guest. I completely understand the skepticism. I am not confident that every (or even most) district(s) in the country can pull this off, but I will say that since schools have been forced to meet specific standards, they can’t get away with the status quo. Principals and superintendents can not just sit back and collect a paycheck without some accountability.

        My desire is to someday lead a Catholic school in the classical Ignatian tradition. My frustration is that too often people who share my values jump on the latest anti-public education bandwagon.

        I don’t think I have all the answers, or maybe any answers for that matter, but we can not improve if we waste our time on flame throwing. There are some good public schools out there and there are some good Catholic schools and home schools. There are, unfortunately, just as many bad examples of all three. To pretend that any one venue is superior and flawless while all others are spawn of Satan….well that just doesn’t help.

        Common Core is definitely an improvement in our state, but I am sure there will be plenty of examples of bad implementation. For every bad example of poor implementation, though, I can cite several bad examples of Catholic school corruption or homeschoolers who are “faking” it through as well. I would like to read a genuine criticism of the standards, though, and not more oversimplified characterizations of Common Core.

        I am inspired by Pope Francis’ zeal to engage the world with “intelligence, candor and good will;” the Socratic conditions for dialogue.

        • jar

          I am no expert but having lived long enough I can say that this is one more educational fad. Maybe it will work maybe not. The thing that puzzles me is why this has become such an issue? Catholic schools educate in much the same way as public schools.

          The folks that are making this big dichotomy between public education and Catholic schools must live an an area where that really is the case.

    • Bob

      If your public schools are that good, I commend you. But it does leave my head scratching. My experience with the Southern “bible belt” public schools is they are primarily run by Evangelical Protestants that are hostile and negative towards the Catholic Church and its teaching. Quite frankly, Liberty University does not have the imprimatur from the Vatican.

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  • hombre111

    The article gets things wrong from the first sentence, by talking about “federal standards for English and Math.” Please, all you have to do is Google the Common Core website to discover that this is a state led effort flowing from the National Governor’s Association. Participation is up to each individual state. You can see what the English and Math standards are and how they were determined. Dr. Hendershott is a scholar who knows better than do such shoddy research.

  • Molly

    To those claiming that CCSS will not influence curriculum, please look at Sadlier’s recent offerings. To a school that is required to adopt CCSS in order to be accredited by AdvancEd, what curriculum will be purchased? Sadlier/company X’s CCSS-enriched/aligned curriculum, or curriculum from a company that refuse to align? Regarding predictions that schools and teachers will go “above and beyond” CCSS, please be realistic. What is easier for a busy teacher – to download a CCSS-aligned lesson plan “exemplar” and use it, problematic curriculum and all, or create a lesson plan from scratch and spend time to align it? And if the proponents of CCSS in Catholic schools (Loyola etc.) don’t mean to drive curriculum, why did the CCCII website and all the CCCII exemplars go away when concerned parents started asking questions about the problematic books we found in the exemplars? (FYI – all source documents archived at Pittsburgh Catholics Against Common Core.)

    Moreover, the goal IS to drive curriculum, Arne Duncan stated this in his Sept. 2010 speech “Beyond the Bubble Tests: The Next Generation of Assessments”

    “The Common Core standards developed by the states, coupled with the new
    generation of assessments, will help put an end to the insidious
    practice of establishing 50 different goalposts for educational success….

    “By contrast, 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

    Gotta love the inherent contradictions….”developed by states”…”insidious practice…50 different goal posts”, what rot.

    I won’t even get into the constant assessments and the accessibility of student data by outside educational “research” companies. Huge invasion of student privacy.

    Serious violation of the principle of subsidiarity. Parents – stop being frogs in hot water – jump out of CCSS-adopting schools!! Homeschool! Regina Coeli! Great Hearts! Become thorns in the sides of your bishops!

  • Aimee Maddonna

    And people wonder why more and more Catholic families are opting to homeschool. From an academic standpoint, why on earth would I pay tuition for my child to receive at Catholic school, the same education they would receive at public school? What – the once a week religion class? They can get that at CCD. Beyond that, any Catholic schools that align themselves with a common core that proposed the sexuality standards that CCS do propose (even if Catholics schools do not use them), will not see my children in their hallways. <—– From a faith and morality standpoint. As a home educator, I had always found comfort in that we had several academically rigorous Catholic schools in the area, should I find the need for one. Now? No.

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  • Bob
  • James Stagg

    It would be good to engage in study first, then discussion. It would also be wise to investigate exactly how Catholic schools are approaching Common Core State Standards (CCSS) either as individual schools, diocesan schools, archdiocesan and nationally. There are all flavors, just as in the implementation of CCSS by public and private schools. Most of the comments I have read here are very emotional and some are distinctly incorrect.

    Please have the decency to study this very complex question before contributing your two cents’ worth of “outrage”. If you are truly “outraged”, you have been asleep for twenty years and have missed substantial changes in education in general, in the private, parochial and public sector.

    This article is very incomplete in study, application and implementation of CCSS nationally, as well as the USCCB (national) approach to a basic Catholic education.

    Slow down, take a deep breath, read and research, and form an honest opinion….(you really don’t HAVE to like Bill Gates). Ditch the inflamed rhetoric and the “scare” quotes; they do not help the honest assessment of this standardization attempt.

    And, in the meantime, let’s put aside this “need” to inflame opinions about something most of us (yes, even me) are still studying to find truthful answers. This article is, mostly, worthless in stating basic foundations and development, as well as how people are reacting to this state standardization called CCSS.

    We await a COMPLETELY OBJECTIVE report on, not only CCSS, but Catholic Education’s national response to CCSS.

    • Randall Ward

      Your post mostly said “calm down” over and over. But what information do you have for us? Many parents and concerned others have looked at CC and don’t like it at all. Does their opinion matter, after all they are the parents?
      There is no such thing as a completely objective report on anything. Most people that say such things usually work for the government.

      • James Stagg

        Dear Randall

        I have been in contact with a gentleman who is currently teaching in public school in CA, a recent Catholic convert, who is rabidly opposed to CCSS. I have tried to encourage him (a gifted writer) to publish an objective view of CCSS and the Catholic “response”, if you will, called CCCII. You can go to either internet site for more detail. I speak as an accomplished teacher of adult education; no, I am not a professor, but my work involves substantial research, and I can spot a phony argument a mile away. My wife, and advisor, has spent over fifty years in all three venues, public, parochial and private, as a primary grades teacher. My last note to my friend follows:

        We desperately need you to research NCEA and CCCII so thoroughly that you become the “go to” guy for good, balanced and complete information.

        It appears that many folk have confused CCSS (Common Core State Standards) with the CCCII project linked in your email. And part of the reason for the confusion is the lack of an objective description of the aims, plans, content and expected outcome of both projects, and a disciplined examination of each part.

        An additional point that irritates me is the constant drumbeat in many of the negative articles on both projects between “standards” and curriculum or even curricula to achieve those standards. If there were more articles like your “R.I.P. The Good Story”, people like Shirley and I would have some meat to chew, even if you are a little “over our heads”. You spelled out specifics of concern, something parents could take to principals and school boards, and that is desperately needed.

        But the drumbeat that the fault lies with the standards sounds hollow to me. Better to recognize what the standards actually are, and then discuss the real difficulty, implementation. In a way, the negative arguments, so far, are like what the Israelites said to Moses about the Ten Commandments: “What? You expect us to abide by THESE? We won’t be allowed to do ANYTHING!”
        Also, from what I understand, the present federal administration has muddied the water considerably by offering money to the states that “accept” the CCSS. Stupid move, but, then…….. You think bankrupt Illinois and California and New York are not going to jump at the prospect of “free” cash? Now, from what I read, Massachusetts (and maybe some other states) has a legitimate beef with CCSS. Their EXISTING standards EXCEED CCSS. Yet, unless they adopt the lower standards (CCSS), they cannot get the money.

        And another fly in the CCSS ointment is the textbook industry. They never met an education change they didn’t like, because all these new “standards” will be rehashed into new curricula, which will need….wait for it…..NEW TEXTBOOKS! There’s an old saying, “Follow the money” to identify the likely suspects, and the textbook industry stands to profit handsomely from CCSS. What I don’t see is any benefit to the NEA or other unions. And, of course, the governors and heads of state education departments can’t wait to see the federal bucks roll in. Got to get money for those new football stadiums from somewhere!

        Now, I gave you my “business and corporation” reasons for CCSS; you don’t need to hear those again. I don’t see the colleges involved in this much… really does not matter if you have basic educational qualifications at all, if you can pay the price, you are in. Yeah, some private colleges (universities) will use CCSS testing as an entry measure, but I think they want the money, more.than the student.

        So CCSS can be dismissed, as Shirley originally said, as the “latest and greatest” new idea to make kids smarter (or in Massachusetts, maybe dumber), and it is simply that, a new idea like Outcome Based Education. CCSS will work if teachers work it properly, but we all know the record on No Child Left Behind, where kids were taught to take the tests, not to learn anything useful. We have eight years of lost education in the Atlanta Public Schools here, just to show high test scores.


        Now. let’s shift to CCCII.

        Say you were a Catholic educator of some importance.

        Say you observed the upheaval in public education that caused the creation of “Achieve” in 1996.

        Say you watched the political machinations that resulted in the “great” educational standards bill passed in 2001, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

        Say you witnessed the agony of various states, like dirt-poor Mississippi, attempting to implement these “standards”.

        Say that at the same time, you witnessed the Republican President get behind school vouchers, and the desperate cry that arose from the NEA and the national media about how DEFICIENT these Catholic schools were which were in poverty-stricken cities, because they taught the Catholic Faith (even though they did not for non-Catholic students). You heard the screams from the public school administrators how all their funds were going to go to these “rich kid” schools, and they would be left penniless.

        Say that you observed the Catholic schools in New York City offer to take poorly-performing students from the city’s public schools for rock-bottom tuition, only to be turned down flat by the city school board (with no obvious influence from politicians or the NEA. Right!). I think that was in the early 2000’s, but not sure….maybe in 1999. Obvious prejudice.

        Say that in 2004, you read the “Achieve” foundation report that even NEWER, STRICTER standards were needed than NCLB.

        Say that in 2005, as a well-informed Catholic and educator, you read the American Bishops’ letter on “renewing their commitment” to Catholic schools.

        Say, maybe that you discussed the potential future focal point of all this with your Catholic educator friends. You became slightly perturbed that the proposed Achieve agenda would corrupt the entire American school system.

        Say that in early 2008, you are motivated by an address to American Catholic educators by Pope B16. You begin defining what makes a Catholic school Catholic. You receive help, criticism, and support from other Catholic educators, plus the support of the USCCB to establish these CATHOLIC standards in view of the coming CCSS standards.

        Say that in 2009, your worst fears are confirmed by the release of curriculum standards for CCSS, which are copyrighted so you cannot reproduce them (limited only to states who buy, fully, into the CCSS). You continue on your Catholic standards work with renewed energy, and gain the support of Chicago-Loyola University in 2010 to lead your effort.

        Say that in March, 2012, you and your colleagues are able to release, publicly, the FIRST National Standards and Benchmarks for Catholic Schools. These benchmarks identify what makes Catholic schools Catholic, not from a curriculum standpoint, but from the marks of the Holy Catholic Church.

        Say that today…..right now…….you want to say to Catholic and non-Catholic parents: “Because we will be judged by other schools, accreditation committees, colleges and universities on the basis of formal state standards (CCSS), we will meet or exceed those state standards in all our schools, using our present curriculum. But, we assure you, we will not diminish our Catholic identity for these schools. Here are the documents that attest to this.” And you publish the CCCII standards.

        How does that sound for a scenario? I have no “inside” information, but we, Shirley and I, will take Dr. Ozar at her word.

        Now, Randall, for your studied reply, you need to visit the CCCII site and listen to Dr. Ozar’s interview. Then, give us your considered view.

        We actually do have experience (at our advanced ages) with CCCII; we are sending (paying for) our two great-grandchildren through a Catholic grade school in Illinois. We are AMAZED at the quality of education and religious training these kids receive….NOW….in a small-town Catholic school. They have no plans to change anything, except to continue to strive to meet the goals established by CCCII. We also received a copy of the statement signed by all Catholic school superintendents in Illinois that pledge those goals. We think they are on the right track.

        Your serve.

        Peace be with you..

        • Randall Ward

          I am a homebuilder and a carpenter; my wife and I homeschooled all of our children in the seventies and eighties. They are grown and all doing well. I am not a believer in the national government having anything to do with educating children for one simple reason; the government cannot resist brainwashing our children. This has been going on since the Prussian state started the public school system to indoctronate the young people into Calvinism, away from the Lutherin Church and the Catholic Church.
          Since the State always hates the Church in the modern world, I am against the State.

          • James Stagg

            I agree with you, Randall. This has, unfortunately, been the goal of public school education that Mr. Dewey bequeathed to us. If you really want to know how badly that has gone off-track even from Dewey’s initial mistakes, read some of the books by John Taylor Gatto, an experienced teacher and severe critic of public education. I particularly recommend “The Underground History of American Education”.

            And my compliments to you personally. We builders and carpenters do have a sense of proportion. You used yours well.


        • Molly

          The desired ends do not justify the means. To impose these standards on the majority via accreditation as stick or access to federal funds as carrot, without and now in frank opposition to parental wishes is a violation of the principle of subsidiarity. Where are the bishops who approved use of CCSS in our schools? Are they just rubber-stamping the superintendents’ decisions?

          As to Dr. Ozar, i.e. the major person
          behind the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic
          Elementary and Secondary Schools Project, which CCSS was folded under, the very Dr. Ozar who seemingly unilaterally decided our schools needed CCSS and got the NCEA and CACE to convince individual superintendents and curriculum directors of their value…. well, FEC records show a Lorraine Ozar of Chicago contributed to Obama’s 2008
          campaign. Tweets from Catapult Learning staffers, who contributed to the standards development, indicate support for homosexual marriage. So…I’m not exactly sure Ozar et. al.’s motivations are the same as those of us
          concerned about Common Core in Catholic schools.

          • James Stagg

            Your reply is so scatter-shot, Molly, that it is difficult to know how to reply. But, let’s try.

            1. Statistics, please on “frank opposition to parental wishes”?

            2. “Subsidiarity”, as a term, is meaningless unless you tie it to “something”. In your case, true subsidiarity would mean educate your children at home; if so, go for it! But subsidiarity and “national standards” are not compatible in this instance. Do you want a high-school diploma to mean something to an employer? I don’t think very many accept a HS diploma written by a parent.

            3. The Bishops have not approved CCSS; Your proof?

            4. Would you like a larger brush with which to tar Dr. Ozar? I know a few people who actually believed in Obama’s promises. and voted for him in 2008. Did she also contribute in 2012?

            5. The only way you will find if CCSS is being used as the basis for curriculum in YOUR Catholic school is to ask the principal or Pastor. To my knowledge (allegedly defective), there is NO NATIONAL or STATE plan to implement CCSS is ANY Catholic School. If you actually have proof of such plans, please provide the details.

            Rein it in, Molly. This is not a crusade. This should be an effort to actually understand what CCCII is and how it will be used by Catholic schools. Not talking about CCSS, now, but CCCII. Please recognize the difference.

            Peace be with you.

  • Molly

    All – a prominent conservative Catholic speaker will be discussing CCSS in Catholic schools with Rebecca French on Wednesday evening in a live-streamed episode:

    • James Stagg

      Who is this expert who will be talking with Mrs. Frech, a home-schooling mother? Perhaps we could have some bona fides?

      • Molly

        sure thing. i put his name in earlier comments but the comments both disappeared, so i left it out just in case it was flagging, although more likely a browser kink.

        Michael Voris of The Vortex fame will be doing a “Mic’d-Up” session on Wednesday, and from the description, second half of show will focus on Common Core.

        His “bona fides” are easily found within his bio at his website.

        I didn’t actually say the speaker was an expert, please note.

        • James Stagg

          Yes, I am very familiar with Mr. Voris. I discontinued my support for (St.) Michael’s Media three years ago, due to his antagonism towards the Novus Ordo. You might have better described him as an “ultra-conservative”.

  • Tony

    Meanwhile … a survey of those of my Honors Students — freshmen at Providence College — who went to public school produces these results. Most of them had never heard of Milton, Wordsworth, Longfellow, or Tennyson. A few of them had never heard of Chaucer. One of them, who went to school in Nashua, NH, had read a poem by Robert Frost — one poem, a few years ago.
    Add to this abandonment of the heritage of English literature the moral toxicity of the schools, and the default “philosophy” of lazy nominalism, and for the life of me I cannot fathom why any responsible Catholic parent with any choice in the matter at all would send his or her child there. Or perhaps you are all right with the moral toxicity?

    • slainte

      Why aren’t the educational deficiencies you reference identified by the SAT examination in the form of lower test scores?
      Perhaps if Providence College administered a separate and independent entrance examination (in addition to the SAT) focused on measuring student proficiency in English literature, grammar, math, and other relevant subjects, Providence might then be able to deny admission to less qualified applicants.
      Rejection notices do get noticed by parents.

  • Laura Van Overscheld

    This will END excellent Catholic education as we have known in the past. Catholic Bishops better wake up or they will be steeple just like many were in Nazi Germany!

    • jar

      When was it excellent? Which decade?

      • musicacre


  • Tony

    I’m going to repeat my challenge below. Name for me a single innovation in the public schools in the last 60 years that has not proved foolish or disastrous. All I want is one. There are a few I forgot to add — I forgot all about multicultural bosh. I forgot about the ditching of the trades for the older lads who aren’t going to college. I forgot about relying upon calculators, so that the sense of number never develops. I forgot about modal addition. I forgot about “relevance” in the readers.
    Here is a typical problem on percentages, from Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic (meant for youngsters, not high schoolers), published in 1877:
    “A watch-maker sold two watches for $30 each; on one he gained 25 percent, and on the other he lost 25 percent; how much did he lose by the sale?”
    I declare that there is not one high school student in 20 who would not immediately say, “He didn’t lose anything!” He lost $4.00 ….
    As for Ray’s Higher Arithmetic — that was meant for more mature readers — forget it.

    • Larry

      If I may say so, you either mix with extraordinarily dim students or something in your attitude causes them to “look at you as though you are speaking Welsh.” Perhaps one advance in the past 60 years is that most teachers have learned to engage their students in such a way as to make them actually want to answer questions. Stressing them by being confrontational or intimidating is likely to make them freeze or disengage. I would think most elementary school children would understand that the watch-maker spent $40 on one watch and $24 on the other. Why do you think that is particularly difficult? And I would be very surprised to find a college student who didn’t know the difference between “continuously” and “continually.” My own children, much younger than typical college students, could answer these questions. In any case, none of this has any bearing on whether or not the common core standards are going to improve general education or not.

    • Mark

      Oh, come on. The watch-maker problem is a joke. Most 5th graders would get that one.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      > “A single innovation in the public schools in the last 60 years that has not proved foolish or disastrous.”

      Adam’s meta analysis done at the request of the U.S. Department of Education Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print which has led to the ubiquitous teaching of phonics for beginning reading instruction.

      The direct instructional approach which includes an anticipatory set, objectives, direct teaching, individual, paired, and small group guided and independent practice, and closure activities.

      Teacher effectiveness research done by the likes of Good and Brophy.

      Democratic questioning and wait time.

      The character education movement, including developments like the Smart and Good schools initiative and the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs.

  • Tony

    And then there is Euclidean geometry … which warrants an entire year at least, and which students haven’t gotten a whole year of, in a long time. They’ve gotten a dumbed-down year of it in high school. When I showed my Honors students — college freshmen — that if you bisect two non-parallel chords of a circle, the lines will meet in the center, they looked at me as if I were speaking Welsh….

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      When Blaise Pascal was asked for his advice on the teaching of mathematics at Port-Royal, where his sister Jacqueline was a nun, he told them that he could not understand why children were taught Euclid’s theorems. “If they know the ten axioms, they can work them out for themselves.”

  • Tony

    I submit this passage, which I found thirty seconds after I opened the magazine in which it was published:
    “This, briefly, is the outstanding accomplishment of the last five years in aviation that caused the National Aeronautic Association in 1922 and 1923 to give the air-mail service the award for the most notable contribution to the advance of aeronautical science. Mail fliers have solved the problem of fast transcontinental travel in the United States by laying the foundation for a coast-to-coast airplane passenger service. Incidentally, it is prophesied that if the air-mail proves continuously profitable, the next step taken by the Government will be to build and operate passenger and mail liners or enter into agreement with a private concern so to do. On the other hand, if the service is not patronized, it will be abandoned.
    “The surpassing feat of the air-mail service was the abolishing of darkness in the zone through which the planes must pass at night. An aerial pathway of light across the sky, an artificial Milky Way 885 miles long from Chicago to Cheyenne produced by the glow from 450,000,000 candle-power arc searchlights, guides the pilots through the foggiest, stormiest, darkest night.”
    That, ladies and gentleman, was considered standard fare for ordinary twelve year old boys to read, back in the day; it appeared in the September 1925 issue of Boys’ Life Magazine. It is a representative sample of the non-fiction in that issue. Or do you wish me to give you more?

  • Tony

    Not one student of mine in the last ten years could tell you, by the way, why the author below wrote “continuously” rather than “continually.” Not one student in fifty would grasp the meaning of the noun “concern.” Not one student in a thousand could parse the first sentence of Paradise Lost …

  • Tony

    But of course they needn’t ever parse the first sentence of Paradise Lost, since they don’t even know of the existence of that poem, and have never heard of its author, John Milton. That is rather like never having heard of Johann Sebastian Bach, or Raphael, or Aristotle, or Augustus Caesar. What in the name of all that is holy do they DO in these schools for twelve years?

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  • Mick

    The Common Core became a very big deal in my state (Tennessee) just last May. Most of the objections were similar to those I see here except the concern was mostly generated by parents and teachers in the public school system. I was fortunate enough to have received the first seven years of my schooling in Catholic schools – the contrast between what I experienced there and what came later was remarkable. Enough so, that I have followed developments in the education system ever since.

    To put it bluntly, our public schools, like any industry (and it is an industry) produces a product. And that product is its graduates. That relatively few are assiduously sought after is testimony to the quality of the merchandise. Since my own children (and now grandchildren) have been/are captives of this system, my interest has not waned.

    The first great advance I found in public education was put forward by E.D. Hirsch and was based on his book, Cultural Literacy. It was published first as an essay with the same title; shortly thereafter, the much lionized Diane Ravitch urged Hirsch to expand it to a book. It hit the #2 spot on the Best Seller List, second only to Allan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind.”

    Hirsch subsequently developed a complete course (Core Knowledge Foundation) of study based on his approach. It has proven remarkably successful in Massachusetts and selected New York City schools. And it is from this that the Common Core is patterned. Rather than going on, I have added three sites that have further details on the original program, its successes, and reasons why Ravitch and others have become skeptical.

  • Eamonn McKeown

    I’m not going to talk about CC right now, sorry. But I will add a link to a text of Patrick Pearse’s ‘Murder Machine’ where he bemoans the English model of education for the Irish – some good lines therein.

  • Bob

    The ultimate goal of a Catholic education is to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ. In the public school, Jesus is left outside of the double locked, security doors. For this reason alone, Caltholic schools will always be better. As with everything in life (especially education), Jesus is the Alpha, and the Omega. You can put what ever “core” education you want in public schools, without Christ, it will always be lacking.

    • slainte

      Well said.

  • Lowen_Lowen

    You’ve sold your soul, Catholics. I removed my two daughters from the local catholic elementary school after they gave me hedged on my Common Core query and I researched it online. Sure enough, they were going “all in” on Common Core. I withdrew my children at the end of the year.
    The article doesn’t even touch on the extremely intrusive information gathering on each child and their families. Further, there are many SAT equivalent tests, and the Catholics are so big you can create your own testing regimen and it will be accepted first by Notre Dame, and ALL the other universities will follow them. So with all due respect to Father Stravinskas, I think he’s either a leftist or he being overtaken by fear.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the best defense is a strong offense.
    Its Time to man up and get the federal government out of the Catholic School system. Reinstate your superior curriculum. Catholic Schools have produced some of America’s finest citizens. You don’t need common core. Common core by their own admission, defines their trademark “College and Career Ready” as “nothing in particular for career prep, and prepared only for a nondescript community college !!!
    Here’s a link I recommend you take the time to view it:

    Good luck and God Speed.

    • musicacre

      Interesting; a while ago I read the Closing of the American Mind, and it breathtakingly exposes the elaborate means of “data mining” (info about the children and their families) allowed by the schools by outside interests… scary enough to make even the most hard-core home school!!

    • Addie Smith

      Okay, just what kind of “information” are you so terrified about that they are collecting? Are they asking how many times a week a child’s parents has sex? Are they asking how many times a week a child’s parents feeds them french fries? Are they asking how many guns are in the home? Are they asking how many times the kid is going to the doctor? Are they asking for ages of other children in the home? Some of those types of questions are intrusive (like how many times a week the parents has sex, how many times the kid is going to the doctor, and home many times a week the kid eats french fries); but, other questions like the others I mentioned are quite relevant on many levels. Even questioning about medical and emotional issues about kids is quite relevant. No, I don’t like a lot of the surveillance; however, there are very relevant things that the schools need to know in order to be able to teach things within the Common Core but addresses certain issues such as mental illness.

  • Anne Hendershott

    The discussion here has been helpful–and productive. I just would like to remind those who maintain that “standards” have nothing to do with curriculum, that they are wrong. The federal standards for the assessments do indeed drive curriculum. Our Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said that himself in a speech he gave in 2010. These are Mr. Duncan’s own words:

    “…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.

    The PARCC consortium will test students’ ability to read complex text,
    complete research projects, excel at classroom speaking and listening
    assignments, and work with digital media. The SMARTER consortium will test
    students by using computer adaptive technology that will ask students questions
    pitched to their skill level, based on their previous answers. And a series of
    interim evaluations during the school year will inform students, parents, and
    teachers about whether students are on track.

    Better assessments, given earlier in the school year, can better measure what
    matters—growth in student learning. And teachers will be empowered to
    differentiate instruction in the classroom, propelling the continuous cycle of
    improvement in student learning that teachers treasure.

    A first-rate assessment system provides data for teachers and parents on
    academic progress and performance. It must measure what students have
    learned–not just the skills that students bring with them when they arrive at
    the schoolhouse door.

    The use of smarter technology in assessments will especially alter
    instruction in ways that teachers welcome. Technology enables the use of dynamic
    models in test questions. It makes it possible to assess students by asking them
    to design products or experiments, to manipulate parameters, run tests, and
    record data. With the benefit of technology, assessment questions can
    incorporate audio and video. Problems can be situated in real-world
    environments, where students perform tasks or include multi-stage scenarios and
    extended essays.

    • Addie Smith

      It seems to me that a lot of the opposition to Common Core is the use of technology. I cannot understand being opposed to technology as technology is the future. We must not regress – we must progress – and we must improve in order to try to catch up with other nations.

  • Caroline Haydu

    Forget the SAT and educate for excellence. In the long run, a well-educated person will excel regardless of which university they attended, or even whether they attended a university at all.

  • George Albinson

    I came across this item from “The College Fix:”

    Child safety advocates are fighting to reform the federal government’s
    common core English curriculum after parents complained about graphic
    sexual material in assigned material. Specifically, one novel on the
    Common Core list of recommended texts, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, portrays pedophilia in a sickeningly sympathetic light.

    • musicacre

      That should tell the story, though I feel sad most will miss it. A long time ago (in Canada), we had a very theatrical PM who pushed through an omnibus bill that had so many things on it no one noticed the divorce and abortion laws were changed by it. No one even blinked. Same with this huge curriculum; buried in its innards is the filth they want the kids to digest and regurge.

  • Ford Oxaal

    Catholic educators should glance at the core, but realize they cover it anyway without blinking. But Catholic educators have already dropped the ball. Not until the Catholic Church explicitly “renews its vows” as the steward of Western Civilization (which gave us all the poetry, literature, philosophy, mathematics, etc. that we have), and requires its priests to learn, and its schools to teach **Latin** and teach it well, can we expect to free ourselves from the slavery of modern day Babel. Hide from Latin, the archival language and depository of Truth, and you start to resemble a bug hiding from the light. If Catholic educators ever outgrow their vocational, union card, ditch digging roots and discover the classics and get their collective head out of the sand, the flood gates of a classical curriculum can begin to be re-opened, and minds truly enlightened. (Protestants have always been better at education because they never abandoned the classics.) Catholic educators in America are sitting on the greatest educational gold mine in existence, and they keep it locked up in the basement. Catholic education in my diocese amounts to an extraordinary act of barbarism and idiocy. The fact is all you need for a great education is a blackboard and a piece of chalk, a steadfast teacher, willing parents, and a classical curriculum. This is not a new discovery. Oh, but what about a job you say. Look, you can get your vocational training at any time you feel you have had enough of a real education — and you will be better at absorbing your vocational training, say brick laying, or a law degree, or a degree in computer science, or whatever it may be if you have SOME understanding of grammar, geometry, and how levers work. Here is where we are going instead with all our precious technology: countless numbers of young kids now go to the public library (oftentimes nothing more than loud daycare centers with unmonitored Internet access) and bring up games where they can, for example, shock their friends who look on as they carve up a human body in bondage with a chainsaw giggling and looking around furtively as they cultivate more and more perverse pleasures. Yes, technology can be a fantastic resource — no doubt — but then the challenge is how to incorporate it into a real curriculum, a classical curriculum, in a non-destructive manner. I can’t even believe what I see in the public libraries. I dread to imagine what is on the ubiquitous hand helds in the public schools. Probably not looking at, e.g.,

    • Guest

      I agree with a classic liberal education, but most do not want it including most Catholic parents. When in recent decades did any significant number of public or Catholic schools teach such a curriculum?

      This new Common Core business is just another new fix from the professional teaching class. This is why I do not understand the recent kerfuffle. What has really changed? The emphasis on concepts? I ask because the technocrats are not new. That is what people want. They go to college to get a job not to become educated. That concept was lost decades ago. Why the dust-up now?

      • Ford Oxaal

        If you agree that a classical education is necessary for good citizenship, then you must not be silent — the advent of the common core is an opportunity to discuss education in general — parents are listening for a minute or two as they look up from chewing their cud. Besides, just as the common core has crept upon the schools, so too could a classical education creep up upon the Catholic Schools. Catholic parents want their kids to be successful — they need to be *told* that a classical education will make their children more successful and that if they can’t actively support the curriculum, they need not oppose it, but rather, should step aside a little bit.

        • guest

          I agree with you. To me it seems a very hard sell. People are indoctrinated in technocracy that they see it as the solution. It would take a huge paradigm shift to wake up people to what education is and should be.

        • Beth

          You hit the nail on the head–they need to be *told*. We have to understand that we are educating the second and third generation without the classics. The parents of today’s elementary students had very little classical training if any at all. I learned about the classical method when I pulled my kids from the local Catholic school and started homeschooling. It’s been the greatest learning experience in my life. (I was educated in Catholic schools k-12) There is no doubt classically educated children will be able to ‘compete’ on a larger scale. I would go so far to say that our nation desperately needs these children in the future… pick up the pieces.

    • Addie Smith

      Yep, there it is, fear of technological advances is what drives the opposition to Common Core. And, fear that children will learn facts, truth, and not a bunch of made up BS from centuries ago.

      • Ford Oxaal

        Do you really not understand the difference between pressing some buttons on your stupid windows box or iPad, and the ability to crank out the math long hand on a blackboard? We just returned from the Harvard MIT math tournament which was held at MIT this year. I have never seen so many blackboards in my life. They get it. You don’t.

  • ponerology

    Cmon Ms. Hendershott:
    “…the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), while not formally endorsing the Common Core, has been holding workshops on how to implement the standards in Catholic schools.” So what does that tell you? Why aren’t you even mentioning the elephant in the room? It’s the U.N., stupid. It’s that army of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who run the thousands of ‘think tanks’/NGOs around the world and who are accountable ONLY to the Royal Institute for International Affairs, aka the Council on Foreign Relations –the REAL power behind the many presidents, prime ministers, senates, etc., around the world. As a professor of sociology, you should know ALL about this but you pretend you don’t. We are to believe you are a useful idiot?

  • Anon

    Common Core standards are often LESS than anything Catholic schools ever required!!! Why then, should they “pay attention” by conforming exactly to them???? Silly!!!

  • ponerology

    It’s not a federal take-over; it’s a U.N. takeover and the author of this article knows that but doesn’t mention it.

  • Roberto Sena

    Sorry for the bad english.

    But here in Brazil have long education has been transformed through one curriculum prepared in the cellars of the KGB.

    Care, their children are in danger of becoming little Marxist revolutionaries.

    If they want to find out how this happens, please study this phenomenon which has been implemented in Brazil for three decades.

  • John

    Time to invent a C-SAT — the Catholic version of the SAT.
    First question should be the one Bernadette flunked (Who are the three persons of the most blessed trinity?)

  • Tony

    Lost in all of this mad rush for “skills” — and their mystifying and pretentious titles — is the truth, that a real education for a human being is an education in the ordering of loves.

    • Facile1

      Tony said “that a real education for a human being is an education in the ordering of loves.”

      And I agree.

      Jesus radicalized LOVE when He commanded us to ‘LOVE GOD FIRST’.

      It is only when one truly loves GOD FIRST can one put one’s love for anything else in its proper place — whether it is the love for one’s government or the love for one’s church (clericalism); the love for one’s family or the love for one’s neighbors (humanism); the love for one’s sexual partner or the love for one’s self (narcissism).

      Language (including mathematics) is a human invention. The TRUTH is NOT.

      TRUTH begins with GOD (read Genesis) and cannot exist outside of GOD (read John’s Apocalypse).

      No amount of invention (ie human) can change the TRUTH (ie GOD).

      Anyone who loves the truth will not escape GOD (ie TRUTH. Read John 14:6) .

      We are commanded, therefore, to LOVE GOD FIRST (read Matthew 22: 34-40 The Greatest Commandment.)

      LOVE GOD FIRST and go in peace.

  • JDarbender

    For more insights and discussion into this “Obamanation” of Catholic
    Education, please tune in tomorrow (Wed Oct 16, 2013) at 8:00 pm Eastern
    time to It can also be accessed after the show on a tape replay at
    under the free program content, mic’ed up.

    God Bless us all!

  • R Gary Valiant

    Common Core and the other federal education reform initiatives are all about money, not about “progressive” values (other than money). Too bad parochial schools are getting sucked into this. We’re going to have national public/private partnership McSchools, ours will have a religion class attached. I’m sure McLearnin’ will be imensely popular – and just as good for our kids as Big Macs.

  • givelifeachance2

    This conference of Fr. Stravinskas is curiously oriented towards answering questions along the lines of “What can we embrace of the Common Core”. Which aligns well with his historic antipathy towards homeschooling, the true bastion of educational freedom in this world tilted totalitarian. What’s very interesting is the fellowship of NAPCIS with Fr Stravinskas. I hope I’m wrong, but they seem to be accommodating to Common Core rather than fighting it. Didn’t work against abortion, didn’t work against Obama-Care, won’t work with Obama-Ed.

    • Nancy

      Stravinskas is all about money. If he can’t financially benefit, it’s of no use. So since a pastor would make less money from a homeschooling family, he’s agin it.

  • Sanders212

    This is not about the federal government “taking over” your precious Catholic schools, it’s about YOUR catholic schools wanting more money thus they CHOSE to accept the Common Core. From the article: “Eager to share in the largesse of the Gates Foundation, and the promise of future federal funds, Catholic school superintendents from more than 100 Catholic dioceses across the nation have embraced the federal education standards.”

    Take it up with your local diocese if you don’t like it.

  • Eugene1976

    It will be interesting to see if the future federal grants come with strings that limits may be applied to religious teachings and activities in Catholic and other religious-based schools that adopt the “Common Core.” It is certain that if there is significant commonality to the program, it will also share any deficiencies as well.

  • Dave Hahn

    I posted this article on face book a friend responded with this from ncea, any comments

  • Ohso

    In his Totalitarian Tale for the Ages – Animal Farm, author George Orwell describes how all the newborn puppies are taken away from the egalitarian farm community for special training.

    They return a pack of vicious attack dogs – used to keep order amongst the masses, who now must learn the Real Revolutionary Truth – that while Four Legs are Good, Two Legs are Better!

    In the 1930s the Boy Scouts in Germany were destroyed and all were required to join the new instrument of ‘change’ – the ‘Hitler Youth’ – under party founder (and boy raping homo-anal coprophile terrorist) Ernst Rohm & his prostitute protege Hitler.

    So too the Gaystapo Attack on the Church Today – just with updated costumes and a campier musical score, kind of like glee does rocky horror, in an Age of Abomination
    Family Research Council said:

    “…join us this Thursday, October 17, at 10 AM, as we bring you the next live webcast on the effort to repeal the awful law known as AB 1266, the “Bathroom Bill.”

    We will be hearing from key leaders on the front lines, including:
    Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, a dear brother and friend, who has been the tip of the spear in this effort;

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the San Francisco Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, sharing with us how the Catholic Church in California is working in this effort;

    Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, sharing with us the latest updates and the strategic plans.

  • Mr Lou J Apa

    As is so correctly said on http://www.ChurchMilitant.TV…Pope Pius VIII calls all Catholics to battle in the world of EVIL by saying ‘Catholics are born for battle”…….God help us all..Amen…lja/JMJ
    Be attentive, be attentive, be attentive…….

  • ponerology
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  • Plagiarism?

    I simply cannot take Professor Hendershott seriously since so much of this article was lifted directly from Charlotte Hays’s “Common Core Commotion” at the National Catholic Register on September 12. What happened to academic integrity? What contribution is this regurgitation-without-citation making?

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  • Shaqramento


  • Shaqramento

    Anyone who thinks CCS is a good idea needs to read this article: CC is not about altruism!!!!! Wake up you lemmings!!! It’s a program installed to standardize education so our mushrooming , spying, socialist feberal goobermint “stakeholders” can get normalized DATA to control the school system. Anyone should be able to grasp this. Hello

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  • Jack Bilko

    Everything Obama does is about changing the country through the backdoor. Man, he sucks.

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