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After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core

October 12, 2016
By Anthony Esolen, Dan Guernsey, Jane Robbins, and Kevin Ryan

Study Finds Common Core Incompatible With Catholic Education

From the accompanying press release:

"The workforce-preparation focus of the K-12 English and math standards known as Common Core puts them at odds with Catholic education, and the standards should not be adopted by parochial schools, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project.

As most states rushed to adopt the standards at the beginning of the current decade, the National Catholic Education Association urged Catholic schools to get on board, and many adopted Common Core.  But the tide began to turn, and in 2013 a group of 132 Catholic scholars sent a letter to American bishops asserting that adopting Common Core would be detrimental to Catholic education.

"In 'After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core,' authors Anthony Esolen, Dan Guernsey, Jane Robbins, and Kevin Ryan argue that the national standards’ unrelenting focus on skills that transfer directly to the modern work world conflicts with Catholic schools’ academic, spiritual, and moral mission.

"Catholic schools have traditionally provided a classical liberal-arts education, using lessons from great literature to reinforce moral lessons and educate and inspire students toward a virtuous life and a fuller understanding of the human experience.

"But Common Core cuts literature, drama, and poetry by more than half compared to the previous Massachusetts standards.  When great literature is included, it’s often only in excerpt form, robbing students of critical context.

"The result, according to co-author Anthony Esolen, is 'a strictly utilitarian view of mankind; man with his soul amputated.'

"Common Core’s math standards largely end with a weak Algebra II course and don’t prepare students for college-level coursework in science, engineering, and math.  Even supporters have conceded that the math standards only prepare students for community-college-level work.

"The authors argue that Common Core’s shortsighted focus on workforce preparation is incompatible with the larger goals of human excellence, spiritual transformation, and nurturing faith and character that are at the heart of Catholic education."