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OTG: Common Core vs. Catholic Core

By Thomas Van (bio - articles - email) | Jan 15, 2014

Along with the general community of educators, more and more Catholic writers and groups are sounding the alarm about the new Common Core educational standards. While there are plenty of individual reasons to be wary or even hostile to the proposed standards, the Cardinal Newman Society is taking the lead in warning Catholics of a more fundamental conflict between the Common Core vision of education and the classical Catholic one. The Newman Society seeks to rally Catholics around the banner of traditional Catholic education with their new initiative, Catholic Is Our Core, which provides in-depth information about the problems with Common Core from a Catholic perspective, as well as an overview of Catholic teaching on education.

The Newman Society contends that for Catholic schools to adopt Common Core standards and then add on some education in Catholic doctrine would be insufficient, and likely deadly, to those schools’ Catholic identity. That is, Catholic education is not just a matter of teaching the facts of Catholic doctrine in a religion class, but involves a whole vision of the human person; therefore any Catholic education worthy of the name must be Catholic from its very conception. Classical Catholic education seeks to form the whole person and to teach him or her to seek what is transcendent and eternal, whereas the stated goals of Common Core are to prepare students for college and career and at best, make them into “critical thinkers.” Common Core places a high emphasis on producing adults who will help their country to compete in the global economy, something that is hardly relevant to a classical, let alone Catholic standard of education. On the contrary, it is an untested and experimental model, whereas the Catholic approach has been tested and refined with great success for over a millennium – perhaps the most obvious reason why Catholics should be slow to trade our birthright for a mess of pottage.

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  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jan. 17, 2014 8:06 PM ET USA

    Common Core has a stated goal of preparing our children to compete in the global economy. However, the proof is in the outcome and what is truly being taught. Much of what is being emphasized is not critical thinking but of dumbing down curricula. Look who put this mess together. It is like the promise that if you like your doctor and your medical insurance, you can keep it. Common core is a false promise and another grab by government for total power over the education system.

  • Posted by: FredC - Jan. 17, 2014 5:49 PM ET USA

    I remember reading in an encyclopedia the descriptions of the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. There was a great difference between the description in the section on Arabia and the description in the section on Israel. There is a similar difference between history, literature, criminology, psychology, etc., as seen from secular and Catholic points of view.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 16, 2014 11:15 AM ET USA

    "Classical Catholic education seeks to form the whole person and to teach him or her to seek what is transcendent and eternal, whereas the stated goals of Common Core are to prepare students for college and career." We have here the holistic versus the utilitarian, what is of value to the whole of society versus what is of value to the individual or the almighty "me."

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