Yesterday, I attended the N.C. Legislative Study Committee on Common Core. Mom and mom gave gut wrenching testimony about the disastrous effects of developmentally inappropriate standards and nonstop testing on their child’s psyche — high anxiety and loss of confidence. A nine-year old girl spoke letting us know how she pleaded to be homeschooled. At the end of the session, moms gathered in the plaza asking if anyone knew of schools not using CC. It was heartbreaking to hear, “I’m Catholic, but I can’t send my kids to Catholic school, because they’re using Common Core.” Indeed, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh has adapted Common Core in its curriculum.
Perhaps, there’s hope afoot. Yesterday, Bishop Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh released a letter assuring parents that the Diocese is not using the CC in its schools. He emphasized that “parents are the first and most important educators of their children” and thanked parents for expressing their concerns about the Common Core. The group “Pittsburgh Catholics Against Common Core” have been working to stop implementation of the standards so that Catholic schools “may continue to achieve excellence through moral, traditional, and classical teachings.”
Catholic parents groups across the country have organized to annex CC from Catholic schools. In addition to Pittsburgh, there are Catholic groups in South Carolina, Milwaukee, Tennessee, Florida, and the most successful Indiana, Hoosiers Against Common Core, convinced the governor to remove CC from all schools in the state. This needs to be the goal of all groups opposing Common Core– the total and complete eradication of CC from all schools, not just Catholic schools.
The Diocese of Raleigh in a position statement noted that CC was included as part of the resources in the Diocesan curriculum to expose students to highly rigorous and authentically relevant standards in math and language arts. A new study conducted by Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy reviewed math achievement in states using standards similar to the Common Core for the past three or four years and concluded that these states did not have higher growth in math achievement than in other states.
Parents in North Carolina are looking for options. For many home-schooling is not a viable alternative. Catholic schools have a long track record of academic excellence. Despite the good intentions of those who made the decision, Common Core is an unconstitutional, untested, one-size fits all, set of standards that is beginning to reveal its destructive impact on the psychological and intellectual well-being of children. The time to organize is now — Tar Heel Catholics Against Common Core.