Responding to Catholic families’ growing concerns about the controversial Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and their potential impact on Catholic education, The Cardinal Newman Society has launched the new “Catholic Is Our Core” project and issued a statement in support of greater parental involvement in the debate about the Common Core and advising caution before Catholic schools adopt untested, secular standards.
In its statement The Cardinal Newman Society said:
Most troubling in the public debate about whether Catholic schools should adopt the Common Core is that parents, whom the Church recognizes are the primary educators of their children, have been largely absent from it. They lack sufficient information to make judgments about the Common Core. And yet, as the Church has clearly taught, parents deserve a strong voice in deciding whether to embrace this “fundamental shift” in Catholic education, as the Common Core has been described by one leading Catholic advocate.
The Cardinal Newman Society is concerned that adoption of the Common Core at this time is premature. Worse, it may be a mistake that will be difficult or impossible to undo for years to come. We do not doubt the good intentions of those who advocate the Common Core in Catholic schools, and we acknowledge their confidence that Catholic schools can maintain a strong Catholic identity even while measuring their quality according to secular standards. But we do not share this confidence, in light of the sad experience in recent decades of many Catholic colleges, hospitals, and charities that believed they could infuse Catholic identity into the secular standards that they embraced.
Catholic Is Our Core is intended to be a positive contribution toward addressing these concerns, explained Bob Laird, director of programs at The Cardinal Newman Society and manager of the Catholic High School Honor Roll:
My phone has been ringing off the hook for six months with concerns about the Common Core from those with most at stake in Catholic education. Remarkably, even though the Core has the potential to fundamentally alter Catholic education, proponents of Catholic schools adopting the Core seemingly ignored the three “P’s” in Catholic schools: Parents, Principals and Pastors. CatholicIsOurCore.org is a resource for them.
The project includes efforts to educate key stakeholders in Catholic education—Catholic families, pastors, teachers, principals, superintendents and bishops—about concerns with the Common Core. Today the project introduced a comprehensive website at CatholicIsOurCore.org to share a growing number of reports and studies that reveal significant concerns about the CCSS. Beginning on December 30, The Cardinal Newman Society will release a series of papers by experts on the Common Core and its potential impact on Catholic schools.
The Cardinal Newman Society has already been working with other groups, especially the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS), to share concerns about the Common Core with bishops and school superintendents. A two-day conference for school leaders and educators was held last month in New Jersey, followed by a briefing for bishops during the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, Maryland. These were co-sponsored by NAPCIS, The Cardinal Newman Society and the Catholic Education Foundation.
The Cardinal Newman Society is dedicated to promoting and defending faithful Catholic education. Its programs include the Catholic High School Honor Roll,The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, the Catholic Education Daily news site, and the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.