Pittsburgh, PA – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the largest private professional education organization in the world (according to their website), had its first national conference on June 30, 2103 in Nashville, TN in support of the very controversial Common Core State Standards. The NCEA is actively promoting and marketing these Nationalized one-size fits all standards by providing teaching materials to Catholic Educators all over the country. They have formed a partnership with the Catholic School Standards Project, and have helped create a Catholic version of Common Core, called the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII).
Common Core is being hotly debated right now. Citizens and legislators in cities and states nationwide have sounded the alarm about Common Core and have decried its content and inferior standards. And yet – the NCEA is forging ahead in building and promoting a vast network of resources for Catholic schools centered on Common Core instruction and content. Sadly, over 100 Diocese across the country have succumbed to the secular influence of the Common Core proponents.
We are hearing from our sources in several cities that parents simply cannot get answers from their Diocesan school leaders. What parts of Common Core and CCCII have been approved? How will it be implemented? What impact will it have on Catholic schools? Parents are being left in the dark about these major shifts in how their children will be taught and how they will be expected to learn. This has led us to believe that Diocesan leaders are either very uninformed on this significant shift in Catholic education, OR they are purposefully being elusive.
Under the direction of Dr. Lorraine Ozar, from Loyola University Chicago, and Sr. Dale McDonald, Director of Public Policy for the NCEA, the CCCII has created a massive amount of materials and detailed teaching guidelines, even showing the controversial philosophies that it is based on (Bloom’s taxonomy, Understanding by Design, Backward Design, outcome based education), weeks of unit content by grade and theme – including book lists for 1st grade that contain books referencing same-sex marriage, website links and books promoting social activism, and secular ideas such as building a Facebook page to make friends.
The NCEA has declared in a statement on their website that it does not “endorse” the Common Core State Standards. Yet it has fully embraced them; they were a “Launch supporter” of CCCII, according to the CCCII website. The NCEA is also holding conferences in major cities this summer to aggressively market this “Catholic” version of Common Core.
According to Dr. Lorraine Ozar in a July 2012 presentation, “Catholic schools need to pay attention to the fact that the common core standards are here and it is important to get on board”. And Sr. Dale McDonald said in an April 2012 video, “even though these are called ‘secular’ standards, there are ways in which we can make them personal to the Catholic School”.
Why do Catholic schools “NEED TO GET ON BOARD?” Are they worried about accreditation? Will they lose funding from the government in some way? Are they fearful of losing their alliances with Public-private organizations and partnerships? Why are they embracing such an insidious agenda that is so diametrically opposed to the Catholic faith?
Why are Dioceses being pushed in this direction and swooned by the NCEA and why are they not seizing this opportunity to proclaim the accolades of Catholic traditional classical education? If Common Core is implemented in Catholic Schools, will it be worth the sacrifice that families are making to send their children to them? These are many of the questions that have gone unanswered. We keep asking – WHY?
Catholic schools surely do not “need to get on board”. There is always a choice. And as this moves forward, we will hear from many more Catholic parents with the same questions, and who want to take their Catholic schools back.