A Catholic education organization that identifies itself as “the national voice for Catholic schools” says Common Core “architect” David Coleman will serve as keynote for the group’s annual convention in March of 2016 in San Diego.
Despite the serious concerns expressed by prominent Catholic scholars to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) about the impact of the Common Core standards on Catholic schools, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) has remained bound to the nationalized education reform that has grown immensely unpopular with parents, teachers, and students throughout the nation.
In fact, in 2013, NCEA was awarded $100,007 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the primary source of private funding for the promotion of the Common Core standards – to encourage Catholic schools in the adoption of the Common Core standards.
As observed by the Cardinal Newman Society, the premier organization that serves to promote and defend Catholic education, NCEA “deceptively omitted” Coleman’s relationship with the Common Core initiative from his bio for the convention’s program. Nevertheless, Coleman is named along with his current title as CEO and president of The College Board, the organization that has worked to align the SAT with the Common Core and has altered the Advanced Placement U.S. History framework to reflect a leftist revisionist view of America’s past.
NCEA president Brother Robert Bimonte, FSC wrote to participants of the convention, “At NCEA 2016, you will be in the presence of teachers and leaders committed to a faith-filled and academically excellent education.”
According to the creators of the Common Core standards, they are “designed to ensure students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses, and workforce training programs.”
Workshop offerings at the NCEA convention related to Common Core include:
Comprehension Instruction and the Common Core: Scaffolding Beginning Readers to Complex Text
- Knowledge to select appropriately-complex text for beginning readers
- Understand how to plan instruction to help students using high-impact comprehension strategies while reading complex text
Infusing Writing (and Common Core) into Religion/Theology
- Incorporate writing techniques and strategies into the normal flow of their religion/theology class
- Use reading techniques and strategies to drive instruction of religious curriculum in class
Response to Intervention and Common Core Standards
- Begin to apply researched based activities that support student learning of each Common Core Standard
- Begin instructional planning, affect student learning and effect performance outcomes
Dr. Denise Donohue, deputy director of K-12 programs at The Cardinal Newman Society, warned that the Common Core standards “fail miserably” at keeping Christ and the Catholic faith as the true core and focus of Catholic education:
Donohue said in a statement:
Catholic education is much more than the limited focus of Common Core standards and the required instructional approaches to ‘deliver on the promise’ of them. Catholic education was designed to address the needs of the whole man so that he might reach the eternal destiny for which God intended him. The curriculum is intentionally imbued with teachings of the Catholic faith so as to form students to become saints and not simply ready for college or career.
Jane Robbins, senior fellow in education at American Principles Project tells Breitbart News the choice of Coleman as the keynote at the NCEA convention should be a red flag to American Catholic bishops.
“Over 130 of the nation’s most prominent Catholic scholars have publicly warned that David Coleman’s philosophy, as embodied in Common Core, is antithetical to true Catholic education,” she said. “But now we have the NCEA giving Coleman a place of honor on its program. The danger is that Catholic schools will become just public schools with a crucifix on the wall — which is not what most Catholic parents want or are paying for.”
“The bishops need to investigate what’s really going on in the schools and not just leave it to their education administrators,” Robbins warned.
Louisiana parent activist and Catholic school parent Anna Arthurs tells Breitbart News she was “shocked” when she first learned Coleman was selected as the keynote for the NCEA convention.
“However, many of us who had concerns with the Common Core agenda and contacted Catholic organizations such as NCEA to hear the responses of ‘trust us,’ ‘we are only adapting to Common Core,’ and ‘you won’t notice a change,’ predicted this alliance between the Common Core machine and NCEA,” she said. “This led to us creating a letter addressed to the bishops in charge of Catholic schools requesting their assistance.”
Arthurs said the choice of Coleman is at odds with the true goals of Catholic education at a time when many Catholic students have little connection to the teachings of the Catholic faith.
It is very disheartening that instead of focusing on the issue of the loss of Catholic identity in many of our Catholic schools, the NCEA is shining a light on the man who brought us a new educational agenda that pushes a curriculum that works against our traditional Catholic education and identity. In addition, his Common Core creation has recently been followed by the lowest SAT scores in a decade, as well as the first drop in National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores in over two decades.
As Breitbart News reported in November of 2013, more than 130 Catholic scholars sent a letter to the U.S. Catholic bishops requesting that they abandon any implementation of the Common Core standards.
The letter read:
Promoters of Common Core say that it is designed to make America’s children “college and career ready.” We instead judge Common Core to be a recipe for standardized workforce preparation. Common Core shortchanges the central goals of all sound education and surely those of Catholic education: to grow in the virtues necessary to know, love, and serve the Lord, to mature into a responsible, flourishing adult, and to contribute as a citizen to the process of responsible democratic self-government.
In fact, we are convinced that Common Core is so deeply flawed that it should not be adopted by Catholic schools which have yet to approve it, and that those schools which have already endorsed it should seek an orderly withdrawal now.
Other NCEA convention workshops include:
Creation, Integral Ecology and the Call to Stewardship: Applying Laudato Si’ to Curriculum and Campus Initiatives
- Explain the significance of seeing the world as created; define integral ecology, stewardship and sustainability
- Identify ways to integrate Church’s teachings with curriculum content and campus initiatives
Classroom Management: Seven Elements of Self-Esteem
- Describe and define the seven elements of self-esteem
- Explore techniques to infuse these elements with Catholic social teachings
Increasing Latino Enrollment
- Knowledge to begin outreach to the Latino community in their community
- Knowledge of best practices in this effort
According to a statement from the NCEA Board of Directors, the organization “has unanimously decided on the future direction and structure of the association” and that it will “serve a the national voice for Catholic schools.”