Catholic schools and dioceses across the country will have to decide whether to adopt the CCSS. Although the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) isn’t endorsing the controversial Common Core State Standards, the NCEA is helping Catholic schools across the nation prepare for CCSS implementation.
“What we have done at NCEA is develop what we call the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative,” said Presentation Sister Dale McDonald, who holds a doctorate in educational administration and serves as director of public policy and educational research at the NCEA.
The NCEA is scheduled to host a Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative Conference for Catholic educators from around the country June 30-July 2 in Nashville, Tenn. Sister Dale said that Catholic educators will discuss, for example, how to introduce Catholic ideas into what is being studied.
The NCEA website characterizes the standards as a “call for excellence in academic programs,” adding that “one way” many schools are “ensuring excellence, appropriate challenge and relevance in their curriculum is by utilizing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”
In many states, Catholic schools that get money from vouchers already are required to participate in standardized state tests to continue in a voucher program. If those states have adopted the Common Core State Standards, those standards will become the basis for state tests, replacing previous tests that were based on statewide standards.
Erin Tuttle & Heather Crossin who started the push to fight the Common Core in Indiana did so out of concern about what the Common Core was doing to their Catholic school.
But it was the quality of her son’s math homework that led one Catholic mother to become involved in a fight to block CCSS in her state.
When Erin Tuttle, an Indiana mother, whose son was enrolled in a Catholic elementary school, looked at her son’s third-grade math homework in 2011, she was immediately concerned.
“What struck me was the difference between what my daughter had done three years ago in third-grade math and what he was doing,” she said. “That set off alarms.”
Tuttle was also concerned about the reading material. Instead of poetry or fiction appropriate for a third-grader, her son was coming home with children’s versions of popular magazines.
Tuttle and a like-minded friend, Heather Crossin, who had also been concerned about what her children were — or weren’t — learning, organized thr group Hoosiers Against Common Core, which proposed legislation blocking implementation of CCSS without more review. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law on May 11.
“Thank heavens Heather and I have thick skins, because this wasn’t fun,” Tuttle said, noting considerable pushback against their efforts from CCSS supporters. “We were outmanned, had no money and no lobbyist — and yet we came out ahead.”…
….“I think our concerns are that the Common Core imposes top-down, centrally controlled, one-size-fits-all standards,” Tuttle said.
“It changed education from what we traditionally think of as education,” said Tuttle, who believes that adoption of the CCSS will deal a death blow to the classical education many Catholic parents regard as the defining characteristic of Catholic education. She called CCSS “a radical shift” in American — and Catholic — education.
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