And every student deserves to be prepared for a life of the imagination, of the spirit, and of a deep appreciation for beauty, goodness, truth, and faith.
Gerard Bradley and Catholic Scholars October 16, 2013
Valerie Strauss’s post about Catholic scholars rejecting the Common Core is an important read http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/11/02/catholic-scholars-blast-common-core-in-letter-to-u-s-bishops/. That so many Catholics find it necessary to come out against Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is at first glance puzzling.
Catholics have always been fiercely independent when it comes to their own brand of school instruction, so why don’t they leave the CCSS alone and move on? Why do they even care about it?
Likewise, why are homeschooling parents crying foul when it comes to Common Core? If they originally removed their kids from public school because they didn’t like the curriculum and wanted to do it on their own, why don’t they just…do it on their own? Why are private schools signing on to CCSS as well? No wonder so many Republicans are in a tizzy about the CCSS. The way it is taking over all the schools leaves them no choice…none at all.
So why is Common Core, a program with no pilot testing, sweeping the nation?
David Coleman, you remember, the CCSS heavy hitter who is considered the “architect” of the Core, who never was a teacher or studied teaching or children, etc., and who also said no one gives a “bleep” about student narrative writing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu6lin88YXU, now sits as president of the College Board and is busily devising a way to align the CCSS with the ACT and the SAT and the Accelerated Placement (AP) tests parents must buy for their students. Parents and students know all these tests are a portal into college. If you have to learn the CCSS in order to pass the ACT, SAT, and the AP tests, all students, no matter where they attend school, will need to understand the CCSS to do well on the tests. If they don’t do well they can kiss college goodbye…or so it seems.
More and more parents point to colleges and universities which have stopped requiring the ACT, SAT, and AP. Here they are http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional. There are certainly some great schools here and a lot of obscure ones too. But you will notice most state schools and certainly the Ivy League still do require these tests. And even if your child chooses to attend one of the colleges on the list, they still have to endure the Common Core in their classes (the exception is homeschooling).
Ironically, one of the complaints of the Common Core, and the gist of the Catholic letter, is that the Common Core doesn’t look like the kind of curriculum that will really prepare students for college. Instead, young people will receive a very minimal education. This worries a lot of people…including Catholics. Instead of so much fiction there will be more nonfiction. Studies will focus on informational text. One commenter noted students would need to read refrigeration manuals. One wonders why the universities not on the list haven’t spoken out against the Common Core. Don’t they care about the kinds of skills applicants will come to their schools with eventually?
Common Core is seen as dumbing down the curriculum. You have to wonder why such an effort exists. What possible good can come from a country that is mediocre and where students will have to struggle to learn more on their own if they are to succeed? And why all the talk about college prep when it really isn’t college prep?
I’m afraid, though, that the Catholic Scholars’ letter, as important as it is, will, like other voices against the Common Core, be lost. But thumbs up anyway. It’s nice to see that they get it and want the rest of us to get it too. It’s also great they are on the side of the anti-CCSS group. I mean if anyone is going to pull off a miracle it will likely be them.