In a “Welcome Back to School” letter, the Diocese of Palm Beach in Florida announced that its Catholic schools would not be adopting the “Common Core State Standards for Math and English/Language Arts,” and that it would be undertaking a diocesan-wide initiative to strengthen its schools’ Catholic identity.
“The Common Core lacks the key component that has made our schools successful—all that we teach and do in our schools is rooted in our Catholic faith. Our administrators and teachers have always, and will continue to, carefully and prayerfully select the best resources possible to educate our children,” says the letter. It also dispels rumors that the diocese will be eschewing all Common Core materials, simply because they have to do with the Common Core.
The Cardinal Newman Society launched its Catholic Is Our Core initiative in order to “provide those concerned about faithful Catholic education with solid information, analysis and arguments to more fully understand the potential impact of the Common Core on Catholic education and to advise caution about the Common Core until it can be further studied and evaluated.” The Society continues to post information regarding the Common Core, including the piece “10 Facts Every Catholic Should Know About the Common Core.” Basic concerns mentioned include: the Common Core is rushed, untested, designed to foster skills and career readiness over reasoning and vocation, and not intended for Catholic education.
The Palm Beach letter also announces that the diocese is implementing an initiative called “Catholic Identity Links,” wherein certain Catholic virtues or values are emphasized in school each week, and parents are provided with accompanying materials at home. According to the letter, Palm Beach will be “among the first few dioceses to use this as a diocesan-wide program.”
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