The U.S. bishops’ recent document on the Common Core State Standards is an effort to focus on Catholic identity, according to Dr. Dan Guernsey of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools in a recent article in the National Catholic Register.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Catholic Education released a document in April answering frequently asked questions about the Common Core.
Guernsey, who also serves on the advisory board of The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic High School Honor Roll, writes that the bishops’ statement is an “effort to encourage thoughtfulness and to focus on Catholic identity. The opportunity for Catholic schools to refocus, enhance and articulate their unique academic and spiritual goals in response to the Common Core is ripe for development.”
The bishops’ document considers the Common Core "through the broader lens of the purpose and mission of Catholic education and the principle of subsidiarity," writes Guernsey.
The Common Core provides an opportunity, Guernsey argues, for all stakeholders in Catholic education—school administrators, teachers and parents—to step back and review the academic strength and the Catholic identity of their schools.
“The benefit of the Common Core controversy is that it has surfaced some of the threats of secularization in our schools,” writes Guernsey.
“[T]he standards brought attention to the fact that many Catholic schools had been following state standards for a while, perhaps without the sort of discussion about particularly unique Catholic educational standards that has burst forth in recent months,” Guernsey points out.
The Newman Society launched Catholic Is Our Core last year to provide Catholic parents, educators and Church leaders with guidance and resources in exploring the Common Core and concerns about its potential impact on Catholic schools and students. More information is available at CatholicIsOurCore.org.
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