This is a watershed moment. Bishop David Ricken of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WI wrote in an article published today by the Diocese’s official newspaper The Compass that he was instructing his schools not to “adopt or adapt” the Common Core State Standards.
Basically he said, if the public schools surpass our performance we’ll revisit it, but until then we’ve got our own standards.
Here’s an excerpt:
Is it necessary for us to “adopt or adapt” the “common core standards?” No, it is not necessary. Some Catholic schools across the country are “adopting” these standards, while others are “adapting” them, in the hopes that the standards will improve their academic performance. Private schools are not required to adopt or adapt the “common core standards.” Several years ago, in the Diocese of Green Bay, we developed comprehensive standards of our own and these have served us very well.
I have instructed our diocesan Department of Education staff, school principals and school system administrators that they not “adopt or adapt” the “common core standards,” but may use them only as a reference to improve the curriculum we already have. It is my directive that the schools of the diocese utilize the diocesan standards previously in place and not substitute for them with “common core standards.”
The verdict is still very much out on the “common core standards.” All of the subject area standards have not yet been developed, let alone proved to be successful over time. There is no track record or existing data to help us determine if these standards will actually improve our students’ performance. My position and my direction for the diocese is to first see how the standards actually work in public schools and, if their performance exceeds ours, we will then take another look.
This comes on the heels of a letter sent to all U.S. Bishops by 132 Catholic scholars.