Tuesday 7th July 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Do You Know What’s Coming into Your Teen’s Phone?

You might be surprised at what your kids are exposed to every day   It is 11:30 P.M on a Thursday night. Your 13-year-old daughter is asleep. Suddenly she awakes to a ding from her phone. She quickly realizes that…Continue Reading

No, America Is Not a Great Nation

Here’s the truth: I am not happy with this country, and you shouldn’t be, either. I am disappointed in it. It disgraces itself. It turns from God. It kills its young. It attacks the family. Am I supposed to pretend otherwise…Continue Reading

Listen to the Pope, Iowa Catholic Leaders Tell GOP

Catholic leaders call on GOP hopefuls to heed pope’s teachings on climate, economics By THOMAS BEAUMONT and RACHEL ZOLL, Associated Press ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — Roman Catholic leaders in the early voting state of Iowa implored candidates for president Thursday…Continue Reading

Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare subsidies

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld ObamaCare subsidies nationwide, in the second major court victory for President Obama on his signature health care law. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that subsidies are valid even in states that did…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family’s working document sets the stage for spirited discussion

Vatican City, Jun 24, 2015 / 12:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- That the discussion at October’s Synod on the Family is going to be a lively one is indicated by the fact that the most controversial paragraphs of the final report…Continue Reading

Abortion Drone Will Fly Dangerous Abortion Pills to Poland to Violate Its Pro-Life Laws

drone

The pro-abortion organization that formerly ran the abortion boat that distributed the dangerous abortion pill in international waters outside pro-life nations that protect unborn children has come up with a new marketing scheme to push abortion in pro-life nations: drones.…Continue Reading

St. Louis’ Catholic Archbishop Carlson discusses same-sex marriage, clergy sex abuse, racism, more

At their annual spring meeting held in St. Louis last week, U.S Catholic bishops discussed several issues currently facing the Catholic Church, including: the clergy sex abuse scandal, what the Church sees as challenges to marriage, and the pope’s upcoming…Continue Reading

Nienstedt resigns; New Jersey bishop named interim head of Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Archbishop John Nienstedt has resigned in the wake of criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for its “role in failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm” experienced by victims in priest sex-abuse cases. Nienstedt says…Continue Reading

Priests needed: As Church growth explodes worldwide, parishes can’t keep up

Washington D.C., Jun 12, 2015 / 05:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The global Catholic population is growing – so quickly, in fact, that priest and parish numbers cannot keep up, says a new study on trends in the worldwide Church. And…Continue Reading

Cardinal Kasper hints at new ‘Vatican II’ strategy to gain approval of Communion proposal

June 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In the face of increasing opposition to his plan to approve giving Holy Communion to people who are in adulterous remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper is hinting at a new “Vatican II” strategy for accomplishing his…Continue Reading

No Law Can Be Based on Injustice

In 2010, the United States Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was designed by President Obama and Congressional leaders to expand access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage in the United States. After the law…Continue Reading

Cardinal: Divorced and remarried Catholics need support for conversion, not changes on communion

Catholics who have divorced and remarried need help for the “difficult climb” of conversion and spiritual growth, not a change in Church practice on the reception of Holy Communion, a prominent cardinal said. Cardinal Ennio Antonelli summarized the advice of…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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis en route to Ecuador

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is en route to Ecuador, the first stage of a three-country tour in Latin America that will also see him in Bolivia and Paraguay – three “sister nations” as the Holy Father described them in the video message broadcast in the three countries simultaneously ahead of the visit. The Holy Father’s flight departed Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport (Fiumicino) shortly after 9:30 AM Rome Time on Sunday morning, and is scheduled…Continue Reading

Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI receives honorary doctorates

(Vatican Radio) Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI received Doctorates honoris causa on Saturday from the Pontifical John Paul II University of Krakow and the Krakow Academy of Music. The motivation for the honors issued by the University’s Academic Senate specifies five contributions Pope Benedict has made to knowledge and culture: his great respect for the musical tradition of the Church and remarkable sensitivity to the music of faith; the life-long and constant demonstration of a special concern for…Continue Reading

Univ. of San Francisco Celebrates SCOTUS Marriage Ruling, Despite Catholic Mission

usan

July 2, 2015, at 11:22 AM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | While the U.S. bishops responded to last week’s marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court by upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church, one Jesuit university chose to publicly celebrate the decision in direct conflict with its Catholic identity and mission. Over the weekend, the University of San Francisco (USF), a Jesuit Catholic university, used its Twitter and Facebook accounts to celebrate the San Francisco…Continue Reading

‘No Global’ author at Vatican event on climate and poverty reduction

(Vatican Radio) A Catholic climate scientist and a secular Jewish feminist formed an “unlikely alliance” in the Vatican press office on Wednesday to present a two day conference entitled ‘People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course’. The conference, which will take place at the Pontifical Augustinianum University in Rome, includes some 200 political, religious and civil society leaders from all continents who’ll be discussing Pope Francis’ new encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in light of…Continue Reading

Quo Vadis, America?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Natural law — God’s law — will always trump common law,” said Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a Christian leader in her own right, “God will have the final word in this matter.” But, for now, Justice Anthony Kennedy has the final word. Same-sex marriage is…Continue Reading

So Now Is It “Hate Speech” To Deplore The Obergefell Decision?

By PHIL LAWLER (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews reprinted this article from CatholicCulture.org with permission. All rights reserved.) + + + The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Fr. James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision. “No issue brings out so…Continue Reading

The Popes, Marian Devotion, And The New Evangelization

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Part 3 This is the third article in a series which looks at Marian devotion, and the New Evangelization, in the light of the teaching of recent Popes. It is noteworthy, that even before St. John Paul II became Pope in 1978, he had adopted the Latin phrase “Totus Tuus” as…Continue Reading

Although Their Adversaries Seem Strong . . . Law-School Interns Are Reminded That Even Old USSR Collapsed

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Almost ready to start applying their new knowledge to battle moral challenges around the globe, law-school students at a dinner here were reminded that the Soviet Union once was regarded as an invincible adversary, but it finally collapsed in relatively short order. The Christian law students from 11 countries, interns…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The ‘Gay’ Case Against Abortion”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For electronic copies of previous articles on homosexual “marriage,” the special rights agenda, and the role of homosexuality in the Church crisis, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Feminists and political liberals have argued…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Legalizing Abortion And Redefining Marriage: The Anti-God Crisis

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The past week’s 5-4 Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision to redefine marriage as no longer between one man and one woman is merely the latest step in a journey away from God marked on its path through our history also in 1973 by Roe v. Wade. These two legal interferences are rooted…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… Why Be A Christian? Why Not Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 9 There are many religions in the world today, all claiming to be true. Many were founded by individuals who claimed to be “prophets” of God — or of the gods, depending. In this context, why be a Christian at all? Why not be a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, an animist,…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Holiness

By DON FIER Part 2 The second of four distinguishing marks or properties of the one true Church, as we saw last week, is that she is “unfailingly holy” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 823). Despite being composed of sinners, “the Church is holy because she was founded by Jesus Christ, who is all-holy, and because she teaches, according…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

  Editor’s Note: D.M. has e-mailed to us the following thoughtful comments: “In a recent reply regarding the bishops and our borders, you noted that our immigration system is ‘badly broken.’ To me that was a bit like hearing the proverbial fingernails on a blackboard. It seems to me that those who seek to dominate all of us use the refrain,…Continue Reading

Chosen By God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Amos 7:12-15 Eph. 1:3-14 Mark 6:7-13 In the first reading, Amaziah, the priest of Bethel (the place of the original Temple of the Lord), chastises the Prophet Amos for preaching against the goings on in the House of God. The priest tells the prophet to go and make…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 With the outbreak of civil war in Spain and the attack on the Catholic Church, many priests and religious were martyred. The existing government changed the constitution to legalize persecution of the Church by closing Catholic schools, ceasing reparation payments, and suppressing religious discussion. Among other things, this helped lead to the secularization of society…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 God, in His loving Providence and perfect timing, gives the Church holy men and women to guide the Mystical Body of Christ. During the chaos of the Protestant revolt, he provided St. Ignatius and St. Teresa of Avila. At the beginning of the 20th century, as the lay faithful were being called to participate in…Continue Reading