Common Core standards seen at odds with Catholic education
October 12, 2016
A Boston think tank has released a report strongly criticizing the federal “Common Core” educational standards, saying that they are incompatible with traditional Catholic approach to education.
“After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core,” produced by the Pioneer Institute, argues that the Common Core standards are designed simply to train students for the workplace, rather than to provide a genuine liberal education and instruction in virtue. The authors write that “the national standards’ unrelenting focus on skills that transfer directly to the modern work world conflicts with Catholic schools’ academic, spiritual, and moral mission.”
The Pioneer study observes that the Common Core shows no interest in introducing students to great literature, which can inspire young people and broaden their understanding. Anthony Esolen of Providence College, one of the study’s authors, says that the Common Core shows “a strictly utilitarian view of mankind; man with his soul amputated.”
In a preface to the report, two former US ambassadors to the Vatican—Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon and former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn—agree that the Common Core gives short shrift to moral development, a crucial concern for Catholic schools.
Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society described the Pioneer report as a “devastating critique” of the Common Core standards that demonstrates “the need for new standards to ensure faithful Catholic education.”
The National Catholic Education Association has endorsed the Common Core, and encouraged Catholic schools to adopt the standards. But resistance to the Common Core has been growing among Catholic educators.
The authors of the Pioneer study, along with Anthony Esolen, are: Dan Guernsesy, an education professor at Ave Maria University; Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project; and Kevin Ryan, a retired professor of education at Boston University and founder of the Center for Character and Social Responsibility.
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