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Catholic Identity and the Common Core

Catholic Is Our Core is concerned, most especially, with the identity of Catholic education. The success of Catholic schools is dependent on the integration of faith into all aspects of a curriculum based on a proven pedagogical approach, good literature, the integration of reason and ethics, and personalized attention. Our Catholic identity cannot be an add-on or reduced to values and traditions that are simply “infused” into secular standards. Whereas the goal of the CCSS is simply to prepare students for “college and career,” the mission of Catholic education is focused on assisting students to encounter Christ and always be in pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness, thus preparing students not only for college, but for life.

Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly on "The World Over with Raymond Arroyo" discussing the Common Core standards.

The World Over with Raymond Arroyo and the American Principles Project present - The Common Core Controversy:

“Emmett McGroarty, director of education at the American Principles Project and Michael Brickman, national policy director at the Thomas Fordham Institute discuss the lawsuit against the federal government filed by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal over the implementation of Common Core, the pros and cons of the Common Core curriculum, and their vision for high quality education in American schools”.

Key Information

Bishop's Statement on Common Core Puts Catholic Identity First: New Resource Dr. Dan Guernsey, an adviser to The Catholic High School Honor Roll recently wrote an important article published in the National Catholic Register noting that the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education’s statement on the Common Core puts the Catholic identity of our schools first. Here is the link to the original USCCB document.

Do Catholic Schools Need the Common Core?: Footnoted summary of reasons why Catholic schools should carefully evaluate the Common Core State Standards before either adopting or adapting them. This document was provided to the Catholic bishops in November 2013 by The Cardinal Newman Society, the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools, and the Catholic Education Foundation, which together sponsored a session on concerns about the Common Core for bishops attending the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Principals of Top Catholic High Schools Fear 'Common Core' Would Harm Their Schools: A Cardinal Newman Society survey of principals at high schools on the 2012 Top 50 Catholic High School Honor Roll shows that they are concerned about the impact that adopting the national “Common Core” standards could have on their schools’ Catholic identity.

10 Critically Important Adaptations to the Common Core for Catholic Schools Dan Guernsey, Ed.D. | National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS) | 2.14.2013

"Register Radio: Catholic Schools/The Common Core" Elena Rodríguez talks with the US bishop conference’s head of education, Sister John Mary Fleming about the state of Catholic Schools during Catholic Schools Week.  Father Peter Stravinskas, executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation, responds to questions surrounding the Common Core in an interview with Dan Burke.

Newman Society Grounds Common Core Debate in Catholic Identity Kelly Conroy | Cardinal Newman Society highlighted in article in US News & World Report | 1.13.2013

Letter from Catholic scholars to U.S. Bishops: An October 2013 letter signed by 132 Catholic scholars urged the U.S. bishops to reject the Common Core.

Patrick Reilly with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN Discussing Catholic Schools and the Common Core: Reilly pointedly stated that Common Core is “something that we don’t want, and it’s something that we don’t need,” and reflected on the negative impact the Common Core could have on the Catholic identity of Catholic schools.

"Common Core a Divisive Issue for Catholic School Parents TooAllie Bidwell | US News & World Report | 1.13.2014 (see also "Newman Society Grounds Common Core Debate in Catholic Identity" Kelly Conroy | Cardinal Newman Society highlighted in article in US News & World Report | 1.13.2014

"Pittsburgh's Bishop Zubik Rejects Common Core": Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh stated in a recently press release his opposition to the use of the Common Core in his diocese. Our Sunday visitor examines the details and Patrick Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society, provides some insights.

Register Radio – Common Core and St. Mary Magdalen College President George Harne: Dan Guernsey from Cardinal Newman K-12 Division is interviewed regarding the CCSS. President Harne speaks about Catholic identity on a college campus.

Catholic Dioceses and the Common Core
Several Catholic dioceses have made public statements against the implementation of the Common Core in their schools, others have fully embraced the Common Core, and most have mixed responses. Most interesting here are the FAQs used by the dioceses in discussing this issue with the parents, teachers, and other stakeholders.

The following are news articles related to dioceses’ responses to the Common Core:
The following are materials issued by dioceses in response to the Common Core:

NCEA, Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII), Catholic School Standards Project and new Catholic Identity Curriculum Integration (CICI)

LockersThe National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) advocates the use of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Catholic schools, and together with Catholic textbook publishers and others, established the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII) to help schools attempt to integrate Catholic elements into curricula based on the Common Core. Receiving this pressure by individuals and organizations recognizing the close ties between the NCEA and the CCSS, the CCCII has transitioned to a new format and name, the Catholic Identity Curriculum Integration (CICI). They will now include standards used by diocesan schools from other professional organizations such as the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE).

The NCEA has actively promoted the Common Core through a series of workshops around the country, and as first reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, the NCEA received a $100K grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to assist it with teacher training on the Common Core. Also sponsored by the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness in the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago is the Catholic School Standards Project.

In an effort to lobby Catholic organizations who staunchly oppose the oppressive federal encroachment into state, local and familial decision-making of education for their children, and in particular, to target these Catholic 'hold-out' organizations, the Gates funded Council for a Strong America has launched a campaign to contact to garnish their support. See article here.

Other Related Materials


Catholic Identity Concerns

Common Core Standards

Nationalizing Education


About Catholic Is Our Core

Catholic Is Our Core explores the controversial Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and concerns about their potential impact on Catholic schools and students. The site is a project of The Cardinal Newman Society, which promotes and defends faithful Catholic education and sponsors the Catholic High School Honor Roll. The Newman Society is committed to helping Catholic families, educators and Church leaders better understand the Common Core and protect the extraordinary legacy of Catholic schooling. Check back often, as the material on this site is updated frequently.


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