November 18, 2013
In my previous report on Common Core Educational Standards I included a section on an interview conducted during the Friday morning, 11:00AM, Bishop’s Hour Program on Immaculate Heart Radio, 1620 AM dial out of Sacramento, in which Rick Maya Superintendent of the Sacramento Catholic Diocese was interviewed. The subject was the Acceptance by all California Diocesan school districts (10) of the Common Core State (education) Standards which, Mr. Maya assured us, was in no way similar to the sectarian CCSS but would be “infused” with Catholic Principles. CCSS is, he acknowledged, the roadmap to a common core of standards, but the Catholic curriculum would be the route taken (it’s called Social Justice) to attain that common core.
Apparently the Bishop’s Hour program received numerous unhappy responses to this announcement because last Friday, Nov 15, The Assistant Diocesan Superintendent, Laurie Powers, was interviewed to reassure listeners that the education of their children was not a “political endeavor.”
Further, she emphatically stated that there was no government funding behind the acceptance of the Common Core Standards. http://ihrarchive.org/archive/sbh-20131115.mp3.
She did seem a little confused about one thing. She used the phrase “the Whole person” as being the target for a Catholic education, yet did not seem to realize that that is also the mantra of the public education. She also seemed not to appreciate how impersonal and unfeeling it appears to use “person: rather than “child.” One wonders, also if she realized that the phrase, the whole person/child indicates that the educational system is, just like the public schools, presuming to take over the total development of every aspect of an individual’s life, physical health, mental health, nutrition, social skills, workforce training and preparation?
In referring to reading literacy for the 3rd grade she declared that there would be an emphasis on “informational reading” as well as the classics. Informational reading, just like in the public schools, is very utilitarian in nature. Children will read personal biographies and histories not for their literary skills, historic or creative sense but for the development of specific objectives pertaining to the training. For instance, if they were in a math class, they might read a book about a mathematician. If they were in a history class they might just be reading a book about Harvey Milk and his contribution to local history.
In the previous article I referred to above, a 4th grade public school class was reading the biography of Coretta Scott King. The class was being encouraged to draw from her life’s story certain values.
What modern day stories will the Catholic school kids read to obtain certain values? Will they read about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, George Washington Carver, St. Martin de Porres as examples of equitable justice or compassion?
The most unsettling statement Ms Powers made was that in 1997 Catholic Educators took a look at Catholic education, at least in California, and decided to develop curriculum based on the California state (public) School Standards.
What happened in 1997 to cause this? Please see below the notation on The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millenium.
About 22 minutes into the interview Ms Powers states that it is the goal of a Catholic education as reflected in the statements of the National Catholic Education Association, to create the lawyers, doctors, politicians, teachers of twenty years from now.
The question is: Will these future entrants into the professional world have any soul left?
Is reaching the top of the worldly ladder the end all and be all of Catholic education? Is it worldly prestige and power. If it is, then certainly a public school or home schooled education is less expensive, more protective of family values and leads to a better prepared, faith-fulled and compassionate adult.
Ms Powers says that when parents attempt to criticize this decision to embrace public school standards she encourages them to compare the public school’s goals and objectives with the Catholic School’s objectives. Well, I have, and it isn’t very different.
CATHOLIC SCHOLARS BLAST COMMON CORE
In an unusual statement, 132 Catholic scholars wrote a statement highly critical of the Common Core, which they sent to every bishop in the nation. They urged the bishops not to adopt Common Core in Catholic schools and to withdraw it where it had been adopted. They conclude that the Common Core standards are designed as standardized workforce training, doing nothing to shape and inspire the hearts and minds of children. To read more visit: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/11/11/catholic-scholars-blast-common-core/
BREAKING: National Catholic Educational Association Responds to Common Core Concerns and Gates Foundation Grant.. The Cardinal Newman Society, Nov. 14, 2013, Joe Giganti.
Brother Robert R. Bimonte, FSC, president of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), responded today to mounting concern over the organization’s advocacy for the Common Core education standards in Catholic schools, and a related grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to train teachers on the Common Core, as revealed by Catholic Education Daily Last week.
Brother Bimonte apparently looks to deflect criticism by publicly outing other Gates Foundation beneficiaries in the email including the Archdiocese of Seattle, Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic University of America and the Cristo Rey Network. “NCEA is not the first Catholic entity to receive a grant from the Gates Foundation,” he writes. But an examination of the other grants reveals none related to Common Core, which has been developed primarily under the sponsorship of the Gates Foundation, or to anything else controversial.
Patrick J. Riley, president of the Cardinal Newman Society said “Our schools need standards and assessments that keep the focus on key objectives of Catholic education,” Reilly told a meeting of bishops earlier this week. “Under Common Core, Catholic schools will be focused on very limited, secular goals, and their success will be evaluated with the same narrow criteria. Catholic identity is an add-on, not essential.”- See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2678/BREAKING-National-Catholic-Educational-Association-Responds-to-Common-Core-Concerns-and-Gates-Foundation-Grant.aspx#sthash.NaTH27zR.dpuff
The Catholic Schools Standards Project. This website contains an audio interview of Dr. Loraine Ozar of Chicago’s Loyola University on the new Catholic School Standards, March 13, 2012. http://www.catholicschoolstandards.org/
The Congregation For Catholic Education: the Catholic School On The Threshold Of The Third Millennium. This is a 1997 report prepared by and signed by Pio Cardinal Laghi.
The Cardinal is urging the Church to prepare itself to enter into the Third Millennium by examining the purpose of a Catholic education. Cardinal Laghi encourages the church fathers to examine the role of the church in light of a “new socio-political and cultural context.
Paragraph 16 is entitled The Catholic school at the service of society. Here the Cardinal states: “The school…must be related to the world of politics, economy, culture and society as a whole. Paragraph 17 continues this refrain by saying that: “The Catholic school, therefore, undertakes a cordial and constructive dialogue with states and civil authorities…based on mutual respect ..[and] each other’s role [in the] common service to mankind.” http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_27041998_school2000_en.html