Recently, on the AP news site, an article was published entitled Backlash Over Common Core Extends to Catholic Schools, which portrays the difficulty in implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) not only in Catholic schools, but even in current schools across the nation.
The article takes the main position that the Catholic Church is in a position to approve the CCSS, and uses as its argument that “many students will eventually enter public high school, therefore the standards are imperative to prepare them for success” (Thompson, AP, 2014). This quote within the article is taken from a statement made by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), who in recent years have just become the “catholic” alternative to the ultra-liberal and freedom bashing National Education Association (NEA) which advocates big labor and retention of poor teachers because of certain collective bargaining agreements which put the teacher before the education of the child against every foundational principle of the Catholic faith, which we learn of in the Gospel of St. Mark: “and whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (St. Mark 9:41).
To advocate for the standards citing merely natural reasoning (meeting supposed standards in a public high school) is a mere smoke screen to make the true intentions of the NCEA which is to become “equals” if it were possible with the public schools who receive immense amounts of financial assistance through the federal government.
The CCSS are not just “standards” to “help” children become more enlightened and engaged in their learning, but they also attach high-stakes testing to these standards which were created through the partnership of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Council of Chief School State Officers which in no way represents the Catholic faith, or even public teachers in general. The aim of the CCSS is not to engage students and not to help them attain a level of academic maturity that is needed in order to make sense of the world around them. The real goal of the CCSS is to strip every child of their innate knowledge of God, to confuse children by having them complete mathematical computations that defy logic and reason, and most importantly, a curriculum that is hostile to the classical literature and teaching methods that have sustained generations of students throughout history, and of which has made men into Saints.
What is the response to such an attack on the education and faith of our children? First, we must understand that the education of children is firstly the duty of parents. Parents are to educate the intellectual, moral, and spiritual domains of their children in every way, for it is in these ways in which parents will be judged by Almighty God at their particular judgment. Responding to Our Lord with ignorance, or by stating that the public schools are the ones who failed will only bring about a stricter and swifter punishment for neglecting the needs of one’s children. So, firstly, parents must regain control of their children’s education. Whether it is by placing them in a good Catholic school where emphasis is on Thomistic philosophy and the Great Books curriculum (which is the first option), or whether it is through home schooling through great programs such as Our Lady of Victory School, parents do have choices which not only protect the child from severe attacks against faith and reason, but more importantly, provide a safe environment where ideas and issues can be explored and discussed without being tainted or rebuked for maintaining traditional standards according to the perennial teachings of the Church.
Finally, do not fear what men and government may do to you, but fear more importantly the judgment of God. Making necessary choices can be difficult, but the souls entrusted to our care are worth more than we can even imagine in the eternal plan of God!
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!