Monday 20th November 2017

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

In Defense Of Common Core

October 15, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

In the September 12 issue of this column, a correspondent called our attention to an article by Paul Kengor in the August issue of Crisis magazine, in which Kengor cites information he was given by a friend whom he calls an “expert in the field of education.” Kengor’s friend believes that there is a potential problem in the Common Core curriculum being promoted by the Obama administration, beyond the threat of federal control over our public schools most mentioned by Common Core’s critics. Kengor’s friend believes that Common Core will permit “outside vendors and providers” hired to manage student data to share that data in a manner that parents would not be willing to accept if they were aware of the situation.
Federal education authorities argue collecting this data is necessary to analyze student achievement and to improve instruction. But according to Kengor’s friend, it is likely to be misused, leaked to questionable groups both in and out of government. Kengor’s friend mentions specifically our children’s “test scores, Social Security numbers, attendance records, records of interaction with school counselors, identification of learning disabilities, and even disciplinary records.”
Not everyone is as alarmed as Kengor and his friend. Dr. William R. Snaer, a retired pediatric dentist who has written on various issues for The Wanderer, believes there is a need to take a breath and examine this issue in a calm and reasoned manner. He starts by observing that taking as factual the allegations of an anonymous “expert in the field of education” reminds him of what his grandmother used to call “borrowing trouble.”
Snaer continues: “In 2011, the U. S. Department of Education amended the regulations for the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). These changes loosened the restrictions on sharing student data, by including non-governmental personnel as ‘authorized representatives’ of state educational entities. Fear of such data-sharing is the basis for the concerns expressed by the correspondent to Fitzpatrick’s column. It’s possible that the FERPA changes need some congressional oversight, but that has nothing to do with Common Core. The same student records were in place ten years ago, and they’ll be in place ten years from now, even if we adopt the Algerian Educational Standards.”
Dr. Snaer realizes that taking this position will result in criticism from his “usual political allies on the right,” but believes that is a price that has to be paid. He is convinced that there has been “careless piling on directed at Common Core energized by a mix of conspiracy types.” Some of these groups “think it is an extension of a United Nations plan for world government implicit in the UN’s Agenda 21; some think it is a plot of big business, and some hold the contradictory view that it is being driven by socialists.
“Supporters of Common Core try to point out that the initiative began at the state level, a product of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. But this makes no difference with the critics, who do not realize that the individual states design the curricula that teach students to meet the standards called for in Common Core. Unhappily, the U.S. Department of Education fed the opposition fires by making Common Core’s standards a requirement for participation in Race to the Top, giving the impression it was federally spawned.
“Admittedly, it’s hard to examine the Common Core standards. The online presentation is complex and apparently incomplete. This allows snap judgments, such as that of a Southern California talk-show host who recently asserted that Common Core does not include American history. Another common rumor is that it excludes fiction. There is no truth to any of this.
“It should be kept in mind that Common Core’s standards evolved in large measure from the work of E.D. Hirsch Jr. In 1987 in his book, Cultural Literacy, he made the point that, to be a functioning citizen, there were basic items about which one must have at least a cursory understanding. He listed 5,000 items, and invited educators to bump any of them with more worthy nominees. Instead of collaboration, he received ridicule and hostility.
“He deserved better treatment, especially from those who hold to the conservative position that our schools’ mission is to preserve the best of the intellectual and moral heritage of Western society. Hirsch’s book made the point that a person’s knowledge continually builds on his accumulated foundation of knowledge. So, when Hirsch developed his ‘core knowledge’ curriculum, it stressed content-rich non-fiction reading that exposes students to some of those 5,000 items while they are perfecting their reading skills. By 2010, 770 schools and 414 preschools in 45 states and the District of Columbia were using all or part of the ‘core knowledge’ curriculum.
“One would think that conservatives and others with traditional values would welcome a program that seeks to shore up and extend these reforms, as does Common Core. Every survey reveals that a spectacular percentage of high school graduates don’t know who Winston Churchill was, and can’t place the Civil War within 50 years of the correct dates. There is no magic bullet, but supporting a content-rich curriculum is a step in the right direction. Muddying the waters with conspiracy theories and false fears is counterproductive.”
On another topic: the cost of a college education. The complaints keep rolling in. But is there any factual data that demonstrates that our colleges are not doing all they can to keep costs down? On September 7, John C. Goodman, on the web site Townhall (townhall.com), offered some examples to buttress the case of those who think that irresponsible spending is widespread in academia. He points to a recently built “resplendent $136 million student residence with leaded glass windows and a cavernous oak dining hall” at Princeton University; the “2,358 administrative staff in the president’s office alone” at the University of California; NYU’s $90 million “forgivable and low-interest loans” to administrators and faculty to buy vacation homes on Fire Island and in the Hamptons; the Tudor mansion for the president of Ohio State, which includes “$673,000 in art decor and a $532 shower curtain.”
We must keep in mind that the taxpayers subsidize these expenses through the student loan program, which pays the tuition, which paid for the $532 shower curtain. According to Goodman, “By 1981, the feds were spending $7 billion on student loans alone, an amount that doubled during the 1980s and nearly tripled in each of the following two decades, and is about $105 billion today. Taxpayers now stand behind nearly $1 trillion in student loans.”

+    +    +

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.

Bannon Discusses Growing Up in ‘a Very Observant Catholic Family’ in the South Where the KKK ‘Tarred and Feathered’ Priests

In a freewheeling new interview with author Keith Koffler, Steve Bannon recounted his upbringing in a “very observant Catholic family” in the 1950s and 1960s and how that molded who he is now. Koffler, author of Bannon: Always the Rebel, asked Mr. Bannon—Breitbart…Continue Reading

Bishop McElroy decries extremism on religious freedom, calls for solidarity in American politics

WASHINGTON (RNS) — In an address at Georgetown University, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego criticized both extremes in the fight over religious freedom and called for public consensus based on solidarity to heal our nation in this hyper-partisan age. McElroy…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

ROME, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One year to the day after the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke today is turning again to Pope Francis and to the whole Church in an urgent and final plea for clarity.…Continue Reading

Giving bishops final word on Mass translations would ‘destroy’ Church unity: Cardinal Muller

November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The unity of the Church would be “destroyed” if bishops’ conferences, not the Vatican, had the final word over translations of liturgical texts, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in a recent interview. The former prefect of…Continue Reading

Notre Dame reverses decision to end coverage of birth control in university insurance plans

notredame

In a reversal of school policy, the University of Notre Dame announced this week that it would continue to cover contraceptives for its employees, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune. The news marked a departure from Notre Dame’s announcement…Continue Reading

House Tax Reform Bill “Unacceptable” As Written, Say U.S. Bishops Chairmen

WASHINGTON—In a letter of November 9, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio called for amendments to the current draft of the House…Continue Reading

Truck honoring Dubia Cardinal stopped by police while circling Vatican

ROME, November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Today in Rome, a publicity truck carrying billboard-size images of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the dubia Cardinal who passed away three months ago, and Pope John Paul II made its way through the streets of…Continue Reading

Trump admin asks Supreme Court to ‘discipline’ lawyers for rushing teen’s abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to punish the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for lying to the government about the timeline of an underage illegal immigrant’s abortion.…Continue Reading

Christian nurse sues hospital for requiring her to assist abortions

DURHAM, North Carolina, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic nurse is suing Duke University Hospital, claiming that the university discriminated against her religious and pro-life beliefs by requiring her to assist in abortions. Sara T. Pedro was told during her employee…Continue Reading

It’s ‘impossible’ to change Catholic teaching against contraception: Cardinal

ROME, October 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Church’s teaching against contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae is an “extraordinary example” of how the “truth of faith” deepens and develops while “continuing to be identical to itself,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller stated at a…Continue Reading

Thousands sign online petition to remove Madison’s bishop

MADISON (WKOW) — There’s an online petition being circulated to remove the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Robert Morlino is being criticized for his attitude about the LGTBQ community.  Earlier this week, an email was sent to priests in the…Continue Reading

Pontifical Academy of Sciences welcomes leftist California Governor Jerry Brown to keynote

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is again throwing open its doors to abortion and population control activists. From November 2–4, the Vatican’s scientific academy will host a conference on the environment that will feature, among others, far-left…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

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Progressives hate everything old, including the elderly

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this year, Maclean’s Magazinepublished an article asking a question that seemed to capture the prevailing mood on the Left: “Should older people lose the right to vote?” Because old people are practically dead, the author explained, there are some today who feel that they vote with only a short-term vision in mind, and thus should be barred from interfering with the Progress that would be brought about should young people be allowed…Continue Reading

Venerable Solanus Casey: the priest who answered the doorbell.

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Venerable Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest from Wisconsin, was humble before all else, said the postulator of his cause for sainthood. The life of Venerable Solanus Casey is the story of his “humility, his simplicity, as well as his acceptance of whatever life gave him,” Franciscan-Capuchin Fr. Carlo Calloni told CNA Nov. 15. Fr. Solanus Casey is an American-born Capuchin priest who died in 1957.…Continue Reading

Swiss Planned Parenthood president invited to speak at Vatican

November 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life co-hosted a conference on the topic of end of life issues that included several speakers who oppose the Catholic Church’s teachings on the right to life, including the president the board of Switzerland’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, and the president of the pro-euthanasia Royal Dutch Medical Association. The conference, entitled the “WMA Europ

Catholic priests, activists to stand trial for pro-life witness inside abortion facility

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, November 20, six pro-lifers will stand trial in a State of Virginia courtroom for their defense of the unborn—facing a possible jail term of up to 90 days. On Friday, September 15, 2017 in three different cities across the United States, pro-lifers entered abortion centers to talk to women scheduled for abortions. By refusing to leave the clinics when told to do so by law enforcement, they offered…Continue Reading

The story of an underground Catholic priest in China

Madrid, Spain, Nov 17, 2017 / 12:15 am (ACI Prensa).- Fr. Joseph of Jesus is a Chinese priest, faithful to the Catholic Church. Life is not easy for Catholics in China. Those who adhere to Rome are persecuted by the Chinese government, which only grants freedom of worship to those belonging to the state-controlled Patriotic Church. Fr. Joseph recently shared his story on the “In the Footsteps of the Nazarene” program by the EUK Mamie…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

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

A Movie Review… “The Star” Shines For Christmas

By REY FLORES As children, many of us grew up watching television, particularly memorable special broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz, Rankin and Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and of course, all the holiday-themed Peanuts animated specials. My favorite was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving where Snoopy and his little bird friend Woodstock fix a Thanksgiving…Continue Reading

Saints Francisco And Jacinta Of Fatima

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the tenth in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + So far in this series of articles published in commemoration the centenary of our Lady’s…Continue Reading

Mary Ann Glendon… A Voice For The Voiceless

By DONALD DeMARCO Mary Ann Glendon was born on October 7, 1938, in Dalton, Mass., a small town nestled in the Berkshire Hills. Her father was an Irish Catholic, her mother a Yankee Congregationalist. She learned a great deal from her mother’s religion about social organization and from her father, how Catholicism “enlarged the spirit,…Continue Reading

A Summary Of The Events… Centenary Renews Fatima Prophecies

By JOHN BURKE (Editor’s Note: John Burke, a journalist in England, has followed Fatima’s centenary events since his mid-May visit there.) + + + The shrine at Fatima begins its pastoral year with Advent, so the centennial celebrations of the six Marian events in 1917 can now be reviewed. What will remain for Catholics the…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The Kingmakers Reject A Papal Favorite

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The approval of one’s peers is a highly prized trophy in the complicated world of adult professional relationships. Many work for years in obscurity with little acknowledgment. The opportunity to be championed and appreciated is a blessing not to be taken askance when other forms of promotion are no longer possible for those already at…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Cisterns Of Grace

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the last article, I finished the text with a prayer for the bishops of Malta, who now allow people living in adultery to receive Holy Communion. May our Lady guide them to repentance, and to correct their wrong teaching, lest they answer before God our Lord for leading people into committing a…Continue Reading

The Recipient, Minister, And Celebration Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER A significant reform of Vatican Council II, as we saw last week, was the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Western Church “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy” (Lumen Gentium, n. 29 § 2). An ordained ministry that has always been retained by the Churches of the East, it can be conferred on…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Asked in the past whether we will know family and friends in Heaven, we have responded in the affirmative. We would now like to call your attention to a book that provides additional confirmation of this belief. It is called In Heaven We’ll Meet Again: The Saints and Scripture on Our Heavenly Reunion, and was written by Francois…Continue Reading

King And Shepherd

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER The Solemnity Of Christ The King (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 34:11-12, 15-17 1 Cor. 15: 20-26, 28 Matt. 25:31-46 In the first reading today we hear God speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel saying that He will tend His sheep as a shepherd tends his sheep. This might strike us as strange since the feast is about…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By CAROLE BRESLIN Quite frequently saints have left their home country and died in another country, but most of them died in a foreign land because they left to serve as missionaries to Asia, Africa, or America. The land of Hungary, however, has seen a few saints depart because they were of royal families, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blesseds Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov, And Josaphat Chichkov

By CAROLE BRESLIN At the end of World War II, the USSR took control of countries in Eastern Europe. The governments were led by Communists who were great enemies of organized religion, especially the Catholic Church. As conditions worsened, the persecution and suppression of the Catholic Church increased in its severity. In November 1952, the Bulgarian government, after a puppet…Continue Reading