Wednesday 24th August 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Common Core: The Debate Goes On

December 11, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

It is not surprising that the debate over the federal government’s attempt to set standards for the nation’s schools through the Common Core curriculum grows more intense with each passing day. Most Americans had never heard of Common Core until a few months ago. It seems the more people learn about it, the more alarmed they become. M.S.D. of Wyoming writes to join those who protest the manner in which Common Core unnecessarily and unwisely increases the federal government’s control over our local schools: “The fundamental problem with Common Core is that the federal government has neither the power nor the authority nor the competence to meddle at all in education. None.”
M.S.D. then asks the question that troubles many Americans. Americans with traditional values tend to reflexively favor the establishment of “standards.” It implies an attempt to achieve excellence, to raise up underperforming segments of society when those segments seem incapable of reforming themselves from within. But that is not always the case. It depends upon who is setting the standards.
“Who exactly,” asks M.S.D., “is behind the Common Core standards that have surfaced to date? Is it really the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School officers? Those people are responsible to the voters of their individual states. Did these groups have any sort of widespread ‘dialogues’ with the people of their states to determine what was needed in their own state? Who exactly wrote the standards that have come out so far, and to whom are those who put together the standards responsible? Why have not the standards been made public and subjected to rigorous debate?
“And why was it decided that federal officials should assume the responsibility for the standards? Where is the funding coming from? The taxpayers, whom one would assume would have the right to ask questions about the standards and to be answered in good faith? Or have various ‘foundations’ with mega-millions of dollars at their disposal and behind-the-scenes agendas been the force behind Common Core?”
The answer to M.S.D.’s question makes a difference. M.S.D. encourages us to focus on the fact that, often enough to matter, modern American foundations see themselves as agents of change for the purpose of undermining traditional values and “enlightening” middle-Americans about the value of the secular liberal agenda. The Ford Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation come to mind.
M.S.D. proceeds to ask if there may be a connection between Common Core and the resistance to charter schools in much of the education establishment. “From what I have seen, charter schools using core knowledge as the centerpiece of their educational philosophy and actual teaching far outstrip their public school counterparts when it comes to students’ test scores. Why are so many states so antithetical to charter schools? Could it be the multiple millions of federal (‘taxpayers’) education dollars that come attached to Common Core?”
On another topic: the rising percentage of women in our liberal arts colleges and in law schools and medical schools, in contrast to the ongoing pattern of women being underrepresented in schools of engineering. This topic was raised in the October 17 edition of First Teachers. Is this discrepancy a moral and legal issue? Does it indicate “prejudice” of some sort, the existence of an injustice requiring corrective measures through the force of law? Do varying percentages of different races, sexes, and religions in our institutions indicate collusion by those in power? Or might there be innate differences that explain why these differences occur?
Specifically, why are there so few women in schools of engineering? Obviously, it cannot be a lack of intelligence in women. Law schools and medical schools require high scores on standardized tests, as well as ranking at the top of one’s class. H.A.L. writes to offer his observations based on his many years as a professor of engineering. “The desire for race and sex equality started decades ago. In the late 1980s the engineering department at the school where I taught decided to join (or perhaps was directed to join) the push to obtain more women students. At the time, we had perhaps 1-3 percent of women in the school of engineering.
“Offering as an explanation the idea that men and women were different, with different personalities and career aspirations, was unmentionable in that era of ascendant feminism. So we set up an outreach program promoting engineering among the high schools in our part of the state. In addition, we would have weekend programs to give women a taste of our engineering programs.
“The result? We increased our enrollment to perhaps 4 or 5 percent. At what cost, I don’t know, but lots of manpower went into this effort. But we came nowhere near a 50 percent enrollment of women. After reading the article in The Wanderer about the underrepresentation of women in schools of engineering, I got on the phone to one of my old cronies familiar with the engineering situation around the country. His response was that engineering is still only about 4-5 percent women.”
Does H.A.L. have an explanation for the discrepancy? He does. He argues that women “just don’t want to get their hands dirty, I guess.” We know what H.A.L. means. Except that not all departments of engineering require that students work in a hands-on manner with oily machinery or on dusty construction sites. Some do — civil engineering, petroleum engineering, and automotive engineering, for example. But the same cannot be said of electrical engineering and computer software engineering. Why are women underrepresented in these fields, too?
Perhaps the answer is a version of the old nature versus nurture discussion. If women are not “born” to not be engineers, perhaps it is just a question of when and how — and if — engineering will be seen by women as an attractive profession. It can be argued that women will never be suited for — and therefore never will be attracted to — the career of an automobile mechanic, lumberjack, and deep-sea diver. But there was a time when the same thing was said about police work and the practice of medicine and law. That changed once women decided that these professions were attractive career choices. Engineering may be the next on the list. Or it may not. We await our readers’ reactions.

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford, CT 06492.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

BREAKING: Leaked e-mails show George Soros paid $650K to influence bishops during Pope’s US visit

August 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Leaked emails through WikiLeaks reveal that billionaire globalist George Soros – one of Hilary Clinton’s top donors – paid $650,000 to influence Pope Francis’ September 2015 visit to the USA with a view to “shift[ing]…Continue Reading

Catholic school faculty member sues school after she’s fired for being gay

A lesbian teacher was fired from Paramus Catholic High School after administrators learned that she was married to a woman, according to her lawsuit. Kate Drumgoole, 33, was the school’s head basketball coach and dean of guidance when the school…Continue Reading

Scottish Catholic Church denies supporting ‘mandatory’ LGBT activist school program

GLASGOW, Scotland, August 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Church in Scotland is flatly denying that it is lending its support to advancing a pro-homosexual curriculum in Catholic schools, despite secular as well as gay news sources claiming the opposite.…Continue Reading

Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms

target

NewsGenderThu Aug 18, 2016 – 2:57 pm EST Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms  #flushtarget , bathroom bills , target , transgender , transgenderism MINNEAPOLIS, August 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Facing…Continue Reading

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Signs New Book Deal with Bloomsbury

Indeed, it’s official. Bloomsbury is announcing that Pope Benedict has a new book coming in November 2016, entitled, The Last Testament. It appears to be 224 pages. Ever since Bloomsbury merged (“bought out?”) T & T Clark, they have been…Continue Reading

Transgender Bathroom Access Extended to All Federal Buildings–Including Prisons

The Obama administration is set to unveil a new regulation this week that will expand transgender people’s access to restrooms consistent with their “gender identity” to thousands of federal buildings and facilities across the country — including prisons. Buzzfeed News…Continue Reading

Satanic ‘Black Mass’ held in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — A small group attended an event held by a satanic church in Oklahoma City Monday night. The ‘black mass’ was met with Christian masses and prayer rallies. Leaders of Oklahoma City’s Church of Ahriman set the…Continue Reading

Uplifting Story . . . Gymnast Simone Biles soars to Olympic gold while grounded in Catholic faith

olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, August 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — When three-time world champion gymnast Simone Biles flew to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, the 19-year-old carried a rosary her mother gave her and a St. Sebastian medal from…Continue Reading

Satanic Black Mass Still Scheduled at Public Venue Despite Protest

Amid growing protest Satanists plan to stage a second Black Mass at the public Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City on August 15, 2016. The public sacrilege against God and the Catholic Mass will include the desecration of a…Continue Reading

Margaret Sanger Award Recipient Nancy Pelosi on Zika: ‘This is About Babies’

nancyp

(CNSNews.com) – At a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Zika virus threat is “all about babies.” “The Zika in the Southern part of our country is in our country, and because…Continue Reading

Thousands of Colombians join nationwide protest of gender ideology in public schools

August 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Thousands marched yesterday in protests held throughout Colombia to protest a new initiative of the country’s homosexual Minister of Education to implement homosexualist and transsexualist gender ideology programs in Colombian schools. “No to gender ideology!…Continue Reading

98% Of CRS Employee Political Donations Go To Pro-Abortion Candidates

Contributions for political campaigns are recorded and monitored, and made available as public information in order to ensure transparency in the political process.  The information found in these recorded contributions are closely monitored and analyzed by political parties and research…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Baton Rouge Establishes Special Flood Victims Fund

By KATHLEEN NAAB The Diocese of Baton Rouge, La., is welcoming assistance as so many thousands of people have lost homes or property and many have been killed in the massive flooding affecting the state. “The historic flooding that has taken place has impacted nearly every corner of our diocese, and our parishes and schools are struggling to recover in an effort to provide for the spiritual and educational needs of their parishioners and students,”…Continue Reading

Catholic Politician Defends Abortion, Says Catholic Church Doesn’t Think Unborn Babies are People

Minnesota state Rep. John Lesch is a Catholic and a politician in the conservative mid-west. He also supports abortions. Lesch, a board member of the pro-abortion group Catholics for Choice, wrote a column for The Hill this week explaining why he supports abortion and why other Catholic politicians should, too. “I came of age in a time when we learned to respect a woman’s conscience-based decisions, and we were more cautious of the institutional church’s…Continue Reading

New interview: Cardinal Burke says ‘I will never be part of a schism’

cburk12

August 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In a new interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke has revealed that he and other “serious-minded” Church leaders are calling on Pope Francis to release a document correcting the confusion emanating from his recent apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. He also decried characterizations that he is an “enemy” of Pope Francis. The cardinal says clarification of Amoris Laetitia is essential “for the sake of souls” because of the rampant confusion…Continue Reading

Life Issue Is Not Front and Center with Pennsylvania Catholics . . . Catholic voters split, perplexed by presidential choices

By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The conversation flowed freely at the school cafeteria tables as families sat Thursday over a dinner of chicken and ratatouille at Our Lady of Grace Church’s annual parish festival in Scott. But when a reporter brought up the presidential election, there was more head-shaking dismay than enthusiasm for any candidate. “I can’t see myself voting for Clinton,” said Bob Bauer. But as for Donald Trump, he’s still going “back…Continue Reading

Lifesite editorial . . .The first step needed to get the Church out of the current crisis

August 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In his book Magisterial Authority, Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD, says “the Church will not climb out of this tumultuous period” without reversing the “practice since the Second Vatican Council onward not to police the doctrinal integrity” among bishops, priests and theologians. The crucial observation comes at the end of nearly fifty years of destructive leniency, which has in the Francis pontificate taken on new dimensions. While under the pontificates of…Continue Reading

Summer 1916 . . . The Second Apparition Of Angel Of Portugal

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The previous article on this topic (April 28, 2016, p. 8A) looked at the first of the three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal, or the Angel of Peace, to the three Fatima seers, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, and Lucia dos Santos, in the spring, summer, and autumn of 1916. This…Continue Reading

ISIS And Other Useful Fictions

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh) and al-Qaeda are useful fictions. “Islamicist” is another ill-used word. Has anyone ever identified the borders of the so-called Islamic State, identified the site of its central government, attributed to it a president, prime minister, cabinet, parliament, or congress, or anything resembling such? Even the most…Continue Reading

The Real Existential Threats Of 2016

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN On September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion. With spending on the four biggest budget items — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense — rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion. National bankruptcy,…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… A Frontal Challenge To The Left: Taking On The Homosexual Movement

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Truths And Trends

By DONALD DeMARCO Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, declares that “it is right also that philosophy should be called knowledge of the truth.” This statement contrasts sharply with Pontius Pilate’s famous assertion, “What is Truth?” If we cannot know truths, there is nothing to build on and philosophy is a vanity. Pilate, on the other hand,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Divine Mercy And Justice

By Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke Part 2 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the Consecration Weekend, The Marian Catechist Apostolate, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wis., July 23, 2016. Because of its length, we are publishing it in two parts; part 1 appeared in last week’s issue. And also because…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Moral Outrages Mount While Bishops Snooze

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The U.S. bishops’ conference is a leadership disaster. Joe Biden presiding over the marital simulation ceremony of two men who work in the Obama administration was the latest unanswered provocation to assail the American portion of the Body of Christ. Vice President Biden has completely sold-out on Church teaching. He enthusiastically promoted the rainbow revolution…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . The Historicity Of The Old And New Testaments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 14 Is the Book of Genesis historical or simply allegorical? Many have spent hours and days and years trying to prove one view or the other, as if God our Lord left to individuals the ability to decide about it. The truth is that some things are historical and some things are allegorical and some…Continue Reading

The Baptism Of Jesus

By DON FIER Much that regards Christianity and the Catholic faith we profess to believe is prefigured in the Old Covenant; signs and shadows which prepared the way for the New Testament abound throughout the pages of the Old. And as we saw last week, this is especially true for the Sacrament of Baptism: “[In] water, seen as source of…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. At the time when Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, was the original intent of the Fifth Commandment to be a proscription against murder? — P.C., California. A. We would say yes. Beginning with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain long before Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, God had told His Chosen People…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Euphrasia Eluvathingal

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1605 Fr. Robert De Nobili, a Jesuit priest, arrived in India to evangelize the people. He found them to have a noble bearing and a deeply spiritual life filled with fasting, prayer, and meditation. Difficulties presented themselves to him as he struggled to convert them: “If these people did not see me do such penance, they…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading