Responding to a petition by Milwaukee Catholic school parents to halt the use of the Common Core State Standards in archdiocesan Catholic schools, Archbishop Jerome Listecki said the standards are a useful “reference” but that the schools maintain a “strong commitment to Catholic identity” in education, according to FoxNews.com.
A letter and petition with more than 1,000 signatures was addressed to Archbishop Listecki and Dr. Kathleen Capelka, the superintendent of Catholic schools. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has about 32,000 students in its parochial and private Catholic schools.
Common Core standards are a “threat to the independence and Catholic values of our Catholic schools,” the letter reads, and “represent untested, experimental standards and have paved the way for controversial teaching material.”
“Catholic parents are frustrated that school standards were changed without adequate parental notification or input,” the letter continues.
In addition to concerns about the impact on Catholic identity, parents are concerned that the Common Core standards are affecting teaching and academic performance. The group’s letter cites one parent: “Our 6th [child] is in the 6th grade, and I can tell you this year the education he is receiving is not what the others got. I have never seen so much estimating in my life. I complained to our wonderful math and science teacher and he responded, ‘Well, that’s Common Core.’”
Archbishop Listecki released the following statement:
Our approach in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is no different than the approach of other bishops in the State of Wisconsin, namely, that each of us has a strong commitment to Catholic identity, and that commitment shines through boldly in our Catholic schools… Common Core standards are a reference, not a replacement for Catholic school standards. We are not “adopting” Common Core, but rather utilizing those standards, along with our own Catholic school standards, as away of measuring the success of our students.
The Cardinal Newman Society’s project Catholic Is Our Core helps Catholic families, educators and Church leaders better understand the Common Core and protect the extraordinary legacy of Catholic schooling. For more information, visit CatholicIsOurCore.org.
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.