Tuesday 28th February 2017

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

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Leaders call for Catholic sanctuary movement to blunt deportation crackdown

MODESTO, Calif. (CNS) — The push for sanctuary was on a lot of minds at the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements. Concerns about President Donald Trump’s intention to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants rose throughout the Feb. 16-19…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: If a Bishop or Pope Commands Me to Sin, “I Have to Refuse”

Bishop Schneider: Aspects of Second Vatican Council Might Be Corrected in the Future; Priests Must Also Come to Resist at Times On 16 February 2017, Rorate Caeli published an interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, conducted in Mexico by a very…Continue Reading

Pro-Abort . . . Kaine discusses refugee crisis with Pope Francis during Vatican visit

Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineWashington-area lawmakers request GAO report on DC MetroKaine discusses refugee crisis with Pope Francis during Vatican visitA guide to the committees: SenateMORE (D-Va.) met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing refugee…Continue Reading

Trump to Drop Transgender Bathroom Mandate

Obama’s controversial mandate attempted to force schools to let boys into girls’ locker rooms WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) – President Donald Trump is expected to revoke Obama’s transgender bathroom mandate insisting that students be allowed in opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms. The…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke is ‘de facto’ suspended, claims Knights of Malta condom promoter

February 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Knights of Malta official at the center of controversy over the Order’s Catholic identity and sovereignty says its patron, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has been “de facto” suspended. Albrecht von Boeselager, a German aristocrat, was…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen says ‘naïve’ Pope and bad advisors are betraying underground Church in China

February 21, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Joseph Zen says the Vatican is betraying Catholics living their faith out clandestinely in China. In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, he says he has been urged to speak out by Catholics who lack…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen on dubia: ‘Very respectful request by those bishops and Cardinals to have a clear statement’

February 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Joseph Zen in an interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo expressed his support for the four Cardinals’ dubia that asks for clarification on the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia’s chapter 8. “I suppose it is a…Continue Reading

These Catholic parishes openly celebrate LGBT. Why aren’t bishops stopping it?

January 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – As controversy continues to rage over Pope Francis’ doctrines on communion for the divorced and remarried, an even more controversial practice proliferating in the shadows for decades is becoming increasingly open and explicit: same-sex couples…Continue Reading

Michael J. Novak, Jr. [1933 – 2017]

Theologian, public intellectual, and close friend of the Acton Institute, Michael J. Novak Jr., passed away last night on February 17, 2017. Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico reflects on the passing of his friend and mentor Michael Novak,…Continue Reading

Twitter erupts with dubious reaction to Cardinal Cupich’s post on marriage document’s ‘absolute clarity’

February 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Chicago Cardinal Blasé Cupich tweeted Tuesday that Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia document was in full fidelity with the Catholic Church and absolutely clear in the expression of its teaching on marriage, but users of the…Continue Reading

More essential than ever for Catholic hospitals to maintain distinct identity: Cardinal Burke

Catholic health-care institutions are needed today more than ever, Cardinal Raymond Burke told a conference on Catholic hospitals in Ohio last week. “Our country suffers the scourge of an attack on the dignity of human life,” the cardinal said. He…Continue Reading

Council of Cardinals pledges allegiance to Pope Francis

ROME, February 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – In an odd note without explanation placed on the Vatican’s daily press briefing today, the Council of Cardinals, a group of 10 Cardinals which Pope Francis has delegated to work with him on reform,…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  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 150 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 . . .

Martin Luther: True Reformer or Defender of Erroneous Conscience?

The key issue in debating Luther’s legacy on conscience in the Catholic Church entails whether the teachings of the Church are subordinate to one’s own conscience or whether conscience is bound by the teaching of the Church. Two trials, two appeals to conscience. Trial 1: I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen. Trial 2:…Continue Reading

Why is there a resurgence of infidelity among Catholic leaders?

Earlier this week, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus stressed the need to “discern” the meaning of Christ’s teachings rather than simply accept the way Catholic doctrine states these truths. This triggered an email from an obviously same-sex attracted reader who ecstatically thanked God that someone “besides the Pope” was finally willing to express the truth about the teachings of the Church: “They must be discerned!” The email was so wild that I…Continue Reading

The loss of this one key distinction is fueling much of the confusion around Amoris Laetitia

February 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A rather stark and sobering teaching of the Church is that everyone of adult age on the face of this good Earth, and that means all who can discern between good and evil (which occurs sometime soon after the dawn of reason), is either in a state of grace or in a state of mortal sin, which means that should we all die this instant by some cataclysmic disaster, each…Continue Reading

Virginia bishops lament veto of bill defunding Planned Parenthood

Feb 22, 2017 – 04:35 pm .- The bishops of Virginia’s two dioceses on Tuesday decried Governor Terry McAuliffe’s veto of a bill which would have redirected state funding away from abortion providers and toward community health centers.

San Diego’s Catholic bishop urges citizens to be ‘disruptors’ and ‘rebuilders’ in Trump era

Even before the White House announced stricter immigration policies Tuesday, there were signs of opposition. Addressing people “of all faiths and no faith,” San Diego’s Roman Catholic bishop on Saturday urged Americans to be “disruptors” and “rebuilders.” Donald Trump, Bishop Robert McElroy noted, had campaigned for the presidency as “the disruptor.” “Well now,” McElroy told almost 700 community organizers and social justice advocates meeting in Modesto on the weekend that “we must all

A Book Review… A Methodical Plan For Spiritual Reading And Growth

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN How To Read Your Way to Heaven, by Vicki Burbach (Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, NH, 2016), 275 pp., $18.95. Available from www.SophiaInstitute.com. Because faith is like a mustard seed that needs to grow, it requires cultivation and nourishment to bloom and flourish. One of the traditional ways to nurture Christian faith comes…Continue Reading

From A Former Member… Pope’s Overhaul Of Vatican Pro-Life Academy “Heartbreaking”

By JUDIE BROWN (Editor’s Note: Judie Brown is the president of the American Life League and a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. She wrote this commentary for all.org and LifeSiteNews reprinted it. All rights reserved.) + + + The Pontifical Academy for Life is undergoing an overhaul by Pope Francis and his…Continue Reading

Stop And Go, But Don’t Think

By DONALD DeMARCO It may very well be that my philosophical nature inclines me to value the Stop Sign above traffic lights. This may seem to be an odd and arbitrary preference, but there are good reasons for it, especially if one thinks symbolically. The latter represents a mechanical stop-and-go instruction that reminds me too…Continue Reading

St. Catherine Of Bologna . . . The Patron Saint Of Artists

By RAY CAVANAUGH There are patrons of the arts, and then there’s St. Catherine of Bologna — the patron saint of artists. She was a nun, mystic, painter, and author whose feast day occurs on March 9. Born in the northern Italian city of Bologna on September 8, 1413, she entered an aristocratic family. Her…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… Stalin’s Bitter Harvest

By REY FLORES Bitter Harvest is a powerful film; but where do I begin to tell you about it? The first 11 minutes give us the background of the main characters who are shown enjoying somewhat of the last vestiges of a peaceful and idyllic existence before the Holodomor, which was a deliberate famine created…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Silence Implies Consent

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Why are protests breaking out all over the USA and almost every week? People know in their hearts that silence can imply consent; they vehemently deplore the resurgence of common sense and America First and thus are speaking out. We’ve seen the annual March for Life joined this year by the Women’s (pro-abortion) March on…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… The Consequences Of Original Sin

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 26 In a previous article I mentioned some of the amazing gifts that God granted to mankind through our first parents. If they had not messed up the works, we would have inherited those gifts. Among them, the most important gift they lost was none other than sanctifying grace. Yes, sanctifying grace, whereby they…Continue Reading

The Liturgical Celebration Of The Eucharist

By DON FIER Part 2 The Liturgical Celebration of the Eucharist, as was pointed out last week, is composed of two main parts — the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist — which “form a fundamental unity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1346). They “are so closely connected with each other,” teach the fathers…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: For those who wonder about the value of praying the rosary daily, consider the following anecdote from Fr. Roger Landry about Fr. Sal Ferigle, an Opus Dei priest who passed away in 1997 and whom many described as “the holiest priest I ever knew.” During a meditation once on the last things, said Fr. Landry, Fr. Sal “confessed…Continue Reading

“Get Away, Satan!”

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Lent (YR A) Readings: Gen. 2:7-9, 3:1-7 Romans 5:12-19 Matt. 4:1-11 In the readings today, we hear about Adam and Jesus. In the second reading, St. Paul compares the two of them, recognizing that by one sin many became sinners and by one righteous act many became righteous. So, we have the correlation…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church different saints have had special devotions. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque had a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Peter Julian Eymard had a great devotion to the Real Presence, and Blessed Thomas Mary Fusco had a deep devotion to the Most Precious Blood. (The Catholic Church recognized this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Geltrude Caterina Comensoli

By CAROLE BRESLIN (Editor’s Note: Some sources give this saint’s name as Gertrude, but the Vatican’s website calls her Geltrude.) + + + Can there be any nobler calling than to promote adoration of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ really and truly present in the Blessed Sacrament? St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St.…Continue Reading