Letter to Catholic Bishops: Catholic Schools Should Reject the Common Core
Brittany Corona /
One hundred and thirty-two Catholic professors have sent a letter to each Roman Catholic bishop in the country pleading for them to reject the Common Core national standards in their parochial schools.
Over 100 dioceses and archdioceses across America have signed on to the Common Core—an effort supported by the Obama Administration to establish national standards and tests in English language arts and mathematics. The National Catholic Educational Association supports the standards.
But, as the 132 professors argue, the Common Core could have devastating effects on the curricula, the educational decision-making authority of parochial schools, and even the overall mission of the Catholic Church:
We write to you because of what the particular deficiencies of Common Core reveal about the philosophy and the basic aims of the reform. We write to you because we think that this philosophy and these aims will undermine Catholic education and dramatically diminish our children’s horizons.… Common Core was approved too hastily and with inadequate consideration of how it would change the character and curriculum of our nation’s Catholic schools. We believe that implementing Common Core would be a grave disservice to Catholic education in America.
The Common Core national standards’ mission is to impose one set of standards to define what every public school student will learn. The Catholic Church’s mission in education is to provide an excellent education while orienting students to the values engrained in Catholic teachings. The one-size-fits-all approach embodied in Common Core rejects the premise that individuals have different goals of education.
Common Core is a centralizing force over the content taught in public schools throughout the country. But its influence on private schools and homeschoolers—as a result of textbook spillover, some state regulations, and alignment of college entrance exams—is already being felt.
But for Catholic schools to willingly hand over their curricula and educational authority to the administrative state is terribly misled. Catholic education necessitates that educational decision-making stay within the Church and at the smallest levels of civil engagement: parents, teachers, schools, and churches. And it has flourished from this principle of subsidiarity.
As the letter’s signatories plea:
Promoters of the 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.… Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education.
The professors are right to question the decision of Catholic schools to adopt the Common Core. As states consider pulling away from the standards, Catholic schools should likewise determine if implementing national standards and tests is good for Catholic education. There is still time.