In concept, the Common Core isn't quite the "bogey man" as many of its opponents claim. But, it could become that bogey man as the federal government gradually uses its powers to seize upon and then devour what belongs by right to parents and, in the United States, what is constitutionally reserved by right to the states.
Unfortunately, many Catholics--especially Catholic parents--just don't "get it." Perhaps this is due, in part, to ignorance concerning the fundamental principles involved in this debate.
One group, the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), does "get it" and is doing something about it.
Responding to the concerns being expressed about the Common Core as well as their potential impact on Catholic education, CNS has launched the "Catholic Is Our Core" project. In a statement issued in support of greater parental involvement in this debate, CNS advises "caution before Catholic schools adopt untested, secular standards":
Most troubling in the public debate about whether Catholic schools
should adopt the Common Core is that parents, whom the Church
recognizes are the primary educators of their children, have been
largely absent from it. They lack sufficient information to make
judgments about the Common Core. And yet, as the Church has
clearly taught, parents deserve a strong voice in deciding whether
to embrace this “fundamental shift” in Catholic education, as the
Common Core has been described by one leading Catholic advocate.
Unfortunately, the majority of the nation's bishops haven't weighed in pro or con (and, hopefully, many will be wary), perhaps in part for the reason that they also don't "get it." After all, the National Catholic Educational Association has accepted money from the Gates Foundation to provide educators in Catholic schools training in the Common Core. If that organization isn't wary, why should a bishop be wary?
Insofar as The Motley Monk is concerned, the issue in this debate is one of principle and, based on principle, the nation's bishops should be extremely wary. In Catholic educational philosophy, the "subject" of education is the "student" not the "curriculum." A school's Catholic identity hinges on this principle. Educators form the students enrolled in Catholic schools to be a particular type of human being by providing what's called an "integral education." This formation fuses Catholic values and instruction in all disciplines (remember: "the subject is the student") in such a way that the curriculum supports an integral education, it doesn't "drive" education.
What the Common Core does is to "place the cart before the horse." The focus is the curriculum not the subject of education. What gets debated is the associated knowledge and skills not the values required for student to learn to use that knowledge and skills for the good, as God intends.
The potential threat the Common Core presents to the Catholic identity of the Church's elementary and secondary schools cannot be underscored enough insofar as The Motley Monk is concerned. Others, like some bishops and the NCEA, disagree.
What happened with Obamacare concerning abortion and contraceptive "services" in the nation's Catholic hospitals sounded a warning for bishops, parents and educators serving in the nation's Catholic schools.
Once the Common Core is implemented, it is unlikely that it will ever be undone.
Let the discussion begin...
To read about the CNS efforts, click on the following link: