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More on the Common Core: The nation’s Catholic bishops had better be very careful…

 

The Common Core?

“No problem!” many allegedly very savvy educators opine. “Only conservative, right-wing, nut jobs have problems with it.”

In this instance, it may very well be the case that the naysayers are absolutely correct in stating “Hold on before you enter into something you will end up regretting.”

The nation’s bishops ought to be extremely wary. Why? The Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII)—led by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) which has received more than $100k from the Gates Foundation to provide training for educators in the nation’s Catholic schools to implement the Common Core—is discovering that the Common Core’s curriculum is laden with problems…after the fact of promoting the Common Core for implementation in the nation’s Catholic schools. CCCII’s website states:

Catholic educators will never forget that our schools exist to bring our students to Christ. By adapting standards from the CCSS that are challenging, they are working to fulfill the promise of quality Catholic education that educates the whole child, mind and soul.

Really? That’s all well and good. But, let’s first consider some facts.

Over at Crisis magazine, Mary Jo Anderson has chronicled some problems, including ninth graders having to read Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye, which has been banned from several school districts for its explicit depiction of rape, incest, sexual violence and pedophilia.  The pedophile, named “Soaphead Church,” claims God as his inspiration, “I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people.”

The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has gone one step further, taking a critical look at the Common Core curriculum and finding much that should cause the nation’s bishops to be wary.

According to CNS, its findings have forced the CCCII to remove three books from the first grade English Language Arts curriculum. The books celebrate family “diversity” which includes single parents, homosexual parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.

Forget whether first graders in the nation’s Catholic schools should be reading books which have no preconceptions about what makes a family, a family. Doesn’t the Catholic Church already have a preconception about family and family life that it should boldly proclaim? And shouldn’t educators in its schools do the same?

How was it possible for CCCII to publish the following instructions for teachers first grade teachers in the nation’s Catholic schools? (the * indicates a book CCCII eventually removed)

Family -The teacher can choose any of the books below that relate to the theme:
The books listed are First Grade level unless otherwise noted.
The suggested books for the teacher to read aloud are noted.
Horton Hatches a Who (Seuss) – Grade level 2
*Who’s In a Family (Skutch)
*All Kinds of Families (Simon)
Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey) – Read aloud
*The Family Book (Parr)
The Story about Ping (Flack)
The Kissing Hand (Penn)
PurpleUmpkin (McCann)
Sam and the Firefly (Eastman)
Grandfather’s Journey (Say) – Read aloud

Did CCCII’s people even read the books before approving them?

What are CCCII and the NCEA up to? Had the folks at CNS not pushed the issue, CCCII’s approved curriculum was ready to be implemented in the nation’s Catholic elementary schools. And what about all of those other books Mary Jo Anderson has challenged? Is it the same for the nation’s Catholic secondary schools?

Previously, The Motley Monk labeled the Common Core a “train wreck coming for Catholic schools…” and a “threat to the nation’s Catholic elementary and secondary schools.”

Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

 

 

To read about the efforts on the part of CNS to question the Common Core, click on the following link:
http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2793/Catholic-Common-Core-Removes-Books-Celebrating-Same-Sex-Parents-from-First-Grade-Unit-Plan.aspx

To read Mary Jo Anderson’s article in Crisis magazine, click on the following link:
http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/common-core-sexualizes-american-school-children

To view the CCCII’s original approved curriculum, click on the following link:
http://catholicschoolstandards.org/files/CCCII-Section3/CCCII-Unit-Grade1-World-Communities.pdf

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post about the Common Core at The American Catholic, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/12/14/the-common-core-a-train-wreck-coming-for-catholic-schools/

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post in Omnibus concerning the Common Core and the threat it presents to the nation’s Catholic schools, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/5/post/2013/12/the-common-core-a-threat-to-the-identity-of-us-catholic-elementary-and-secondary-education.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.

14 Comments

  1. It’s not about education. It’s about indoctrination. The state, not parents or the Church, will mold children . . . into dutiful drones and serfs.

  2. I have to say that only a deluded leftist would put Bluest Eyes on a list of “exemplar texts”.

    But this leads back again to the point I have been making over and over. Common Core has no mandated list of “exemplar texts”. Catholic educators are free to tell the Toni Morrison admirers to take a hike and to make up their own lists, provided that the texts conform to the Common Core standards. Please see the article and links at http://commoncorestandards.com/ela/text-complexity/ for these standards. Reading this is a slog, but I fail to see how any of it prohibits the use of orthodox Christian writings.

    The focus on these Common Core standards is complexity, and Catholic writing is beautifully complex. Why not make them work together? Is the problem just that it is “work”?

  3. Hey Tom D.,
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Common Core Standards reading material have to be informational and factual texts. Something I have come to understand in research I have done, it appears these standards treat Catholic books as being based on fiction and there is no truth behind the Bible or other religious text. That being said our books are not regognized by any means. If I locate the articles I’ve read regarding this issue ill post it. I have 4 children in Catholic school and I’m beginning to wonder why ……… Unfortunately lately I feel my only belief is in Jesus Christ and his return to rid the world of this evil that is taking over on so many plains. I want my classic Catholic Education back. Please if you have anything positive to share I would love to read it. This world causes me to fear for my children and the future of humanity I can’t pray enough!!!!

    Be well and God Bless

    Concerned Mom

  4. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the link to Catholic Exchange. I think it is an accurate assessment of Common Core, as far as it goes. If any educators takes a Common Core text and apply it without additional exemplary materials, then they are doing a disservice to their students. Common Core requires exemplary texts to go beyond the core needed for the workforce, and those exemplary texts are not mandated. Yes, the Catholic Exchange article cites some of these example texts, but remember that they are only one educator’s (or educrat’s) opinion. You and I could come up with a list of others.

    BTW, I don’t see that Common Core can regulate Catholic texts, assuming that we are talking about religious studies texts. That would be a First Amendment violation. Now math, literature, and science texts are a different story. I myself am a proud product of Catholic schools, and I can recall that in my time these texts were virtually the same as those used in the public schools. And remember, with Common Core being widely adopted it will be harder to find non-Common Core texts for Catholic schools. So, it is probably inevitable that Common Core texts will be adopted by Catholic schools; the alternative will be to have Catholic schools develop their own texts, which will raise the costs of Catholic education even further.

    Now for the “factual” criteria. That cannot be applied to literature classes, or else all novels and other works of fiction would be disallowed from schools. I have to conclude that is not the objective. Rather, I take it to mean that in, say sociology, a text that uses statistics would be favored over one that was mainly philosophical opinions. This is good and bad. Karl Marx would not make the grade, but I could see where papal encyclicals would not either. Besides, we all know that statistics are manipulated by “progressives” to get what they want from us. My thought is that a Catholic high school should be teaching its students how to deal with progressive B.S., and so the encyclicals in a religion class could very well be used to counter any crap that might be slipped into a text in a sociology class. My great concern with Catholic education today is that we are not equipping our young adults to resist the culture of death, and they will not be able to resist it’s arguments if it appears nowhere in their education. They will graduate as innocent as lambs, but not as wise as serpents.

    Personally, I would love to develop an exemplary literary text list for a Catholic high school. I’d love to put Fr. Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World and Michael O’Brien’s Fr. Elijah on the list.

  5. Anything from Bill Gates – EVERYTHING from Bill Gates – should be viewed as suspect. Bill Gates’ company sells Microsoft Word to the world. Word functions as if it were designed by Satan. Bill Gates can take his common core and his Planned Parenthood funding and take a hike.

    The History Channel did a series this past year, The Men Who Built America. I hold Vanderbilt, Carnegie (pronounced car-NAY-gie – I’m from Pittsburgh), Rockefeller, Morgan and Ford, as well as Tesla and Westinghouse, in much higher regard than Gates. Those men did build America’s economy. Microsoft has produced substandard software and it has made Gates a billionaire.

  6. The $100k is not the only Gates’ money to find its way into Catholic education. A quick search of the Gates’ Foundation site for “Cristo Rey” and you’ll find millions of dollars have been given over a decade or so.

  7. Agenda, agenda, agenda …. sound familiar? Parishes, dioceses and towns and states are all affected by the same similar “reminder” realtors will use, “location, location, location.” to justify why some people get shafted more than others. Also, if you get the chance, go to your nearest college or university’s education library and poke through the periodical lit, especially the stuff pertaining to “social justice.”

    Alas, you may also need a lot of Gates’ money to have your eyes reshaped back to where they were before you pored through the racks.

    Do I remember well my days spent stocking the shelves of a college library (whose name I will NOT reveal out of respect to my former employer… it’s only fair since it wasn’t the only library stocking some of the books, etc. listed above.) Wow, I never would’ve guessed that the old blueberry pickers’ book would’ve lasted this long. LOL. I’m betraying my own “age-ist” or geezer’d ideas when the idea of a “core education” would mean the mandatory inclusion of so many books mandating all sorts of inclusions. In the meantime, I’ll bet, it’s like, y’know, the good ol’ reliable “Dick and Jane” books must’ve been placed on the mandatory non-inclusive lists eons ago. It sure shows, y’know.

  8. The books celebrate family “diversity” which includes single parents, homosexual parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents. – Does Catholicism object to mixed-race couples or grandparents raising kids?

  9. It wasn’t the Cardinal Newman Society that pushed and got them to remove those books (and there are still others on it – see last link here). It was a small group of Catholic moms – who spoke up. It is a testament to what our voices can do. And it took a very long time to get the Catholic media to notice. And thankfully they are stepping up and covering it and putting even more pressure on and taking up this cause.

    See each of these links for some background.

    http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/ncea-promoting-controversial-common-core-standards-across-the-country/

    http://www.pghcatholicsagainstcommoncore.com/Press%20release%202-5.pdf

    http://dawnkazmierzak.com/common-core-catholic-identity-initiative-exemplar-texts/

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