Bishop Points to Concerns with Common Core Standards, Says He Cannot Endorse Them
March 16, 2015, at 2:30 PM | By Justin Petrisek |
Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon has responded to growing alarm regarding the Common Core State Standards and their impact on Catholic education.
In his “Thoughts Along the Way” column for The Diocesan Chronicle, Bishop Cary listed points of concern with the standards and remarked that he cannot endorse them.
“Catholic schools develop their own standards and design their own curriculum; they are not subject to the State of Oregon’s decision to adopt Common Core,” wrote Bishop Cary.
He explained in his column, “there are more than a few reasons to be cautious about adopting Common Core.” These concerns include the rejection of final drafts of the Common Core by the “highly regarded educators involved in drafting the standards for math and literature” and their impact on curriculum integral to Catholic education.
Bishop Cary explained further:
“[N]o one knows what standards Common Core will propose for history, health education, and social studies. These subjects treat hotly contested matters of the highest moral importance for the formation of young minds: the character of the American people, sexual development, and the nature of marriage—to say nothing of birth control, homosexuality, or abortion. Why should parents assent to the adoption of Common Core before its standards for history, health education, and social studies have even been made known?
“Common Core standards have only recently been implemented in Oregon, and more time will be needed to assess their effectiveness,” Bishop Cary explained in the piece. “The Diocese of Baker, therefore, will not adopt the Common Core State Standards as a whole. Instead, we will monitor them against national testing and public high school entrance requirements and develop our own standards accordingly.”
The Cardinal Newman Society’s Deputy Director of K-12 Programs Denise Donohue noted that "This is the time of year when schools are planning new curricula for the fall, so it makes sense to undergo a review of how the standards have enhanced student learning, or not.”
In accordance with the school's mission of the integral formation and evangelization of its students, questions such as "How have standards brought students closer to becoming the person God wishes them to be?", "How have we successfully integrated standards into a Catholic worldview?", "How are the instructional shifts required by the standards fulfilling the burning questions that students have regarding the deeper meaning of life?”, and “Are these views in accordance with Church teaching?" might be starters for discussion.
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