The Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., will be “neither adapting nor adopting” the controversial Common Core State Standards, the Catholic school superintendent has told The Cardinal Newman Society. And last week, Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., joined a growing number of diocesan leaders who are refusing to conform to the Common Core in their Catholic schools.
Writing,“Our Catholic schools are great treasures, both of the Church and of our society,” in a letter co-signed by Michael J. Lancaster, superintendent of the diocese’s schools, Bishop Morlino outlined the reasons why “Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Madison will not adopt the Common Core State Standards.”
He cited four main reasons for the decision: quality of the education currently given, the excellence of the existing diocesan academic standards, the Diocese’s demonstrated “record of success” and, “Lastly, and most importantly, it is undeniably clear that the success our schools have had and continue to enjoy stems directly from the Catholic approach to education which seeks to model all things on Christ.”
The letter concludes with the unequivocal declaration, “The Diocese of Madison stands firm, both behind our standards, and behind the mission and philosophy of Catholic education which far exceeds any other common standards.”
This announcement comes on the heels of a similar declaration from Bishop David Ricken, shepherd of Green Bay, Wis. As reported by Catholic Education Daily, Bishop Ricken stated in his regular column for The Compass diocesan newspaper, “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.”
Catholic Education Daily spoke to another Wisconsin diocesan education leader this week on the topic. “We are neither adapting nor adopting [the standards], we are using Common Core as a resource,” Dr. Susan Holman, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of La Crosse, told CED by phone. She explained that since the standards will drive the creation of and content for standardized testing, it is important that the diocesan education system monitor the standards because, “we need to know what is expected of our students.”
Holman went on to make clear, though, that “there won't be any change in how or what we teach.” She also stressed the centrality of the Faith in their education system, “What we do in the diocese is teach according to our curriculum, and we have a Catholic curriculum.”
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