Catholic Parents Clash Over Common Core

Parents of Catholic children in the Milwaukee are at a face off with the Milwaukee archbishop over implementing Common Core standards in Catholic schools, a sign that the controversial standards are not limited to public schools.

In this Jan. 4, 2011 file photo Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki answers questions in St. Francis, Wis., after announcing the archdiocese would file for bankruptcy. Listecki said Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has proposed setting aside $4 million to compensate the victims of clergy sexual abuse in its bankruptcy reorganization plan. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

A letter, from Milwaukee Catholic Parents Against Common Core, this week demonstrated the parents are not backing away to Reverend Jerome E. Listecki, the Archbishop of Milwaukee, who called the petition from more than 1,000 parents “insulting at best.”

“The standards of our Catholic schools far exceed the Common Core standards,” Listecki’s June 9 letter responding to the parents’ petition said. “And, parents already are welcome to review any and all aspects of our schools curriculum, but to think that parents are more qualified than our academic experts to select said curriculum is ridiculous.”

The archbishop stated, ““Quite frankly, I am at a loss as to what more I can say about this topic.””

In the parents follow up letter to the archbishop on June 16, they stated that information from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee clearly stated the schools were moving toward Common Core.

“However, the Archdiocese it self states on its website: “’The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is in the process of aligning our existing curriculum with the learning goals outlined in the Common Core State Standards The new curriculum for Mathematics will be implemented in fall, 2013 and English Language Arts will be implemented in fall 2014,” said the parent letter, which referred to an attachment.

The parents further asserted that documents from the archbishop labeled “Key Instruction Shifts of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.”

“Further, the Catholic schools in your diocese have introduced new conceptual math, and there is a definite impact on curriculum as the math textbooks themselves are clearly marked“ ‘CommonCore,’” the June 16 letter said.

The parents letter this week stated, “We are asking that you instruct your diocese to resist the need to adopt this educational trend. First, see how the standards actually work in public schools. If their performance exceeds ours, then you can take another look.”

With regard to education experts, the parents asserted that the Archdiocese of Green Bay rejected the standards and that “major educational changes in the diocese should be subject to an open and public discussion prior to approval and implementation.”

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2223) states that “’Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children,’” the letter said. “In his 1994 Letter to Families, St. John Paul II wrote,“’Parents are the first and most import ant educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators, because they are parents.’”

The controversial Common Core standards are backed by the Obama administration and were adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia for public schools. However, recently Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have opted out of the standards.

The standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. However, opponents on both the right and left have charged Common Core is a de facto federal mandate because it is tied to federal education funding for schools.

(H/T: Maclver Institute)


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