screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-11-44-27-amThe Pioneer Institute and American Principles Project have jointly released a white paper “After The Fall: Catholic Education Beyond The Common Core”  by Anthony Esolen, Dan Guernsey, Jane Robbins, and Kevin Ryan, which examines the incompatibility of Common Core Standards and a Catholic education.  The paper is a good study of the the issue and the key points are shown below, but the best reason of all is found on page 21

“The Common Core is clear that it seeks to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare students for college and career. If there is any other purpose to education, the Common Core does not recognize it. The mission of a Catholic school, though, is much broader. Vatican II states that through Catholic schools the Church seeks to provide students with “an education by which their whole life can be imbued with the spirit of Christ” and which can “promote for all peoples the complete perfection of the human person, the good of earthly society and the building of a world that is more human.”

Or as my favorite statement from law professor Patrick Deneen of Notre Dame University puts it.

“In our modern push to standardize and make uniform and to equalize, we necessarily must end up discarding any higher aspirations of education‘s end in an embrace of what can only be widely secured agreements about lower and debased ends, an education based upon the lowest common denominator. With Common Core Standards, our civilization thus shows in its ultimate commitments to how we educate our young, that we think them incapable of anything higher than being workers in a deracinated globalized economic system.”

The paper is divided into four sections.

Part 1 – Chronology of the relationship between Common Core and Catholic schools.

Part 2 – Eight Arguments used to incentivize Catholic schools into adopting Common Core.

Part 3 -Philosophical concerns about the use of the Common Core and its effect on the goals of Catholic education

Part 4 -Moving Catholic Schools Forward in a Post- Common Core World

The eight arguments the white paper sites as typical for  CCSSI proponents to use to promote the standards adoption by Catholic schools are:

[1] The Common Core standards are high-quality, and for self- preservation reasons Catholic schools must adopt them in order to stay competitive with public schools;

[2] Some states require Catholic schools to take state-derived tests, which will be based on the Common Core standards;

[3] College admission tests will be based on the Common Core standards and thereby threaten the competitive position of Catholic-school graduates;

[4] Teachers, both in their initial preparation and in-service developmental work, will be trained in the Common Core standards, and thus their training will be misaligned with the curricula of non-Common Core Catholic schools;

[5] Most textbooks and materials will be based on and derived from the Common Core standards;

[6] The criticism of the Common Core is based on political objections rather than educational principles;

[7] Catholic schools can safely adopt the Common Core by simply “infusing” Catholicism into the existing standards; and

[8] Since the Common Core standards are not a curriculum and therefore will not really affect what, when, and how Catholic schools teach, there is no serious objection to their adoption.

If you would like to read a good short summary of the paper’s rebuttal to each of the arguments, go to The Pulse

If you would like to download a copy of the white paper to read and share click here, “After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core.”

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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