Catholics Against Common Core

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/11/catholic_scholars_urge_bishops_to_oppose_common_core.html

To jump right to the italicized punchline:

…we are convinced that Common Core is so deeply flawed that it should not be adopted by Catholic schools which have yet to approve it, and that those schools which have already endorsed it should seek an orderly withdrawal now.

I find this very interesting, not so much from the religious angle as from the “whole student” angle.

It’s very well-phrased: the people writing the letter acknowledge that the Common Core proponents genuinely want to improve education, but they disagree that this is a good way to do it. In fact, they’re not even taking issue with the idea that the CC would improve the things at which it is aimed! They instead focus on the things that the CC doesn’t focus on, and thus pushes out of the core of education:

Promoters of Common Core say that it is designed to make America’s children “college and career ready.” We instead judge Common Core to be a recipe for standardized workforce preparation. Common Core shortchanges the central goals of all sound education and surely those of Catholic education: to grow in the virtues necessary to know, love, and serve the Lord, to mature into a responsible, flourishing adult, and to contribute as a citizen to the process of responsible democratic self-government.

It goes on to say some things that I agree with and some that I don’t. It is defensive and protective of religion to a level that is both understandable and unfortunate.

I’m not religious, so I couldn’t care less what the Common Core says about it (hint: it says practically nothing about any religion). I care deeply when I see that these religious officials and professors are worried that their schools – focused around a particular philosophy and goal – won’t have the time to pursue that goal. I really love schools with a philosophy and a goal. I might not love every philosophy or every goal, but I love that different schools can do things differently and pursue what they see as best in humanity.

The cynic in me says that the secular parts of the letter might have been added as afterthoughts, but I don’t think they’re wrong. This quote hits it on the nose for me:

Professor Anthony Esolen, now at Providence College … “We are not programming machines. We are teaching children. We are not producing functionaries, factory-like. We are to be forming the minds and hearts of men and women.”

Very much so.

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About Colin Fredericks

By day I help to create online courses at HarvardX. By night I write roleplaying games.

Posted on November 20, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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