Archive for the ‘pennsylvania’ Tag

Press Release: Pittsburgh Catholics Against Common Core   3 comments

This press release was issued last month by Pittsburgh Catholics Against Common Core, a group of parents dedicated to educating citizens about, and reversing the adoption of, the Common Core in Catholic schools across the country.

(Below the press release, see the video-statement about why Catholic K-12 private schools are moving to Common Core, by Sister Dale McDonald, Director of NCLA Public Policy.)

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: pittsburghcacc@gmail.com
http://www.pghcatholicsagainstcommoncore.com

National Catholic Educational Association promoting controversial Common Core Standards across the country

Pittsburgh, PA – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the largest private professional education organization in the world (according to their website), had its first national conference on June 30, 2013 in Nashville, TN in support of the very controversial Common Core State Standards. It has hosted a total of three conferences in major cities this summer, called “The Cure for the Common Core Conference” in addition to a convention this past spring that presented everything Common Core and “21st Century” education models.

Common Core is being hotly debated right now. Citizens and legislators in cities and states nationwide have sounded the alarm about Common Core and have decried its content and inferior standards. And yet – the NCEA is forging ahead in building and promoting a vast network of resources for Catholic schools centered on Common Core
instruction and content. Sadly, over 100 Diocese across the country have succumbed to the secular influence of the Common Core proponents.

The NCEA is actively promoting and marketing these nationalized one-size fits all standards by providing teaching materials to Catholic Educators all over the country. They have helped create a Catholic version of Common Core, called the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII) that is stated to 1) empower Catholic schools and dioceses to design and direct the implementation of the Common Core standards within the culture and context of a Catholic school curriculum and 2) infuse the Common Core standards with the faith/principles/values/social justice themes inherent in the mission and Catholic identity of the school.

We are hearing from some Dioceses that they are using the Common Core Standards as a “minimum” benchmark for students, because Catholic standards are already so high. One wonders why they are needed if Catholic schools already have such a strong tradition and history of success with their existing standards. It is confounding to think that a minimum is even required when student performance can be, and always has been, measured
against the higher standard. The Common Core proponents tell us that the Common Core standards are more rigorous and require higher order thinking skills. With this, why would they be considered “minimum” standards by Catholic school leaders? This makes no sense.

We are also hearing from our sources in several cities that parents simply cannot get answers from their Diocesan school leaders about how it will be implemented. What parts of Common Core have been approved? What tests will be used? How will technology be used? Is the Diocese using CCCII? Parents are being left in the dark about these major shifts in how their children will be taught and how they will be expected to learn.

This has led us to believe that Diocesan leaders are either very uninformed on this significant shift in Catholic education and are merely reiterating what they were sold, or they are purposefully being elusive.

Under the direction of Dr. Lorraine Ozar, from Loyola University Chicago, and Sr. Dale McDonald, Director of Public Policy for the NCEA, the CCCII has created a massive amount of materials and detailed teaching guidelines, even showing the controversial behavioral psychology methods and philosophies that it is based on (Bloom’s taxonomy, Understanding by Design, Backward Design, Outcome Based Education, digital learning), weeks of unit content by grade and theme – including book lists for 1st grade that contain books referencing same-sex marriage, website links and books promoting social activism, questioning of parental authority and secular ideas such as building a Facebook page to make friends.

The NCEA has declared in a statement on their website that it does not “endorse” the Common Core State Standards. Yet it has fully embraced them; they were a “Launch supporter” of CCCII, according to the CCCII website. Its conferences allowed them to aggressively market this “Catholic” version of Common Core.

According to Dr. Lorraine Ozar in a July 2012 presentation, “Catholic schools need to pay attention to the fact that the common core standards are here and it is important to get on board”. And Sr. Dale McDonald said in an April 2012 video, “even though these are called ‘secular’ standards, there are ways in which we can make them personal to the Catholic School”.

Why do Catholic schools “need to get on board”? Are they worried about accreditation? Will they lose funding from the government in some way? Are they fearful of losing their alliances with Public-private organizations and partnerships?

Why are they embracing such an insidious agenda that is so diametrically opposed to the Catholic
faith?

Dioceses are being pushed and swooned in this direction and then guided by the NCEA, when really they should be seizing this opportunity to proclaim the accolades of a traditional Catholic classical education. We could see a true renaissance in Catholic education if school leaders chose to lead and purposefully distinguish themselves from public schools. But if Common Core is implemented in Catholic Schools, will it be worth the sacrifice that families are making to send their children to them? There are so many questions that have gone unanswered.

And we keep asking – why?

Catholic schools surely do not “need to get on board”. There is always a choice. And as this moves forward, many more Catholic parents will be asking the same questions and wanting to take their Catholic schools back.

Pittsburgh Catholics Against Common Core is a group of Catholic parents who are dedicated to educating citizens on the dangers of Common Core in Catholic schools and reversing the adoption of these standards in Catholic schools across the country.
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United States Starting To Rebel Against Common Core Standards   2 comments

States Starting To Rebel Against Common Core Standards

   –Reposted Sept. 27, 2012 from Donna Garner, Texas Educator, at http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/

Although the Common Core national standards have been accepted in 46-1/2 states,    implementation is going slower than advocates had hoped.  One group of  states actually introduced legislation to withdraw from the Common Core or  disapprove the standards, others have failed or refused to pass the  legislation necessary to fund or align them with state tests, higher education or professional development and still others are doing more  formal reviews of either cost or curriculum.  In all, nearly  three-fifths of the states that have accepted the Common Core fall into one  of these groups. Please read on to find out what you can do both to stop the further implementation of the Common Core in your state as well as what you   can do to stop the nationalization of education.

Although education has not been a front burner issue in this election cycle, there is some evidence that word about the dangers of and problems with the Common Core national standards, about which we have warned you for a long  time, is slowly getting out.  In addition to Education Liberty Watch,  the group of academics, policy makers and individuals that developed and gained over 100 original signatures on a counter-manifesto against the Common Core, The Cato Institute,  The Heritage FoundationTruth in American Education, teachers, parents, and policy makers are working hard to educate and to  protest this loss of autonomy, local control and academic rigor.  Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in      interviews on Fox News and the Mike Huckabee show      pointed out the constitutional and academic dangers of the Common Core in  his new book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to  Pay for the Cities. In it, he said:

The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama, Ayers, and      Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum that  promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and 3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban schools. Achieving these goals on a broad scale requires the federal government to usurp local control of K-12 schooling. 

Obama is half-way there.

   How did he do it?  Instead of submitting his controversial education proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly marked  $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress  with barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama      never had to go public with his plans.

By coordinating with outside groups not accountable to the voters, like the  deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White House then orchestrated the   creation of a national Common Core of education standards, with an  accompanying curriculum and tests.

Supposedly,  these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states. In      fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top grants  on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced economically pinched states to surrender control of their school  curricula to the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed  to sign on to the Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably  both illegal and unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually nothing about it.

In addition, state legislators and governors are also starting to respond to this unconstitutional federal takeover of  education curriculum. According to the states listed or not listed on  this comprehensive review table by  Daniel Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the  breakdown of how states are dealing with the Common Core is as follows:

  • Twelve of the 46-1/2  states and Washington DC (Minnesota has accepted the English and reading  standards) or almost 25% have actively sought through legislation to           withdraw from, disapprove, require legislative input or other  negative measures regarding the Common Core.  Four of these  measures were enacted. 
    • The strongest of the  four measures that passed was enacted in Utah which allows the  state to withdraw from any kind of arrangement that cedes Utah’s            control over its own standards and curriculum. 
    • Indiana enacted  a  resolution to urge a state board review of the CCSS.
    • Kansas requires a cost  analysis and formal review before implementation 
    • South Dakota implemented a requirement of four public hearings before enactment of the  standards. 
    • Other states had bills disapproving or rejecting the Common Core or future adoption fail in the legislature (Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri,            Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington) 
    • Minnesota’s bill to  require legislative approval of new standards passed both chambers of the legislature but was vetoed by the liberal governor. 
  • Four other states have  required a formal review of the curriculum or cost analysis.        (California, Iowa, Maryland, and New Mexico).  
  • Twelve states (Alabama*,  Arizona, California*, Hawaii, Indiana*, Kansas*, Minnesota*,  Missouri*, New Jersey, New Mexico*, Pennsylvania, and Vermont),           including seven on one of these other lists (*), have rejected, either by failure in the legislature,  by gubernatorial veto,  or by failure to introduce a bill, any legislative implementation of  the appropriation, enabling, or alignment of the Common Core in      their states.
  • Five other states  (Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) and    Washington DC were not listed in the review as having even introduced any kind of Common Core related legislation at all in 2012.  

That brings the total to twenty-six out of forty-six and  one half states that have accepted them or 56% who are rejecting or  showing some kind of hesitancy or concern with implementing these  unconstitutional, illegal and dumbed down, politically correct standards    and their accompanying tests.  This is very important good news  for state and local autonomy, academic excellence, constitutionality and  state budgets  It is also very important for the the maintenance of  private and home schooling as viable alternatives to government      education. (More new details on the dangers to private school autonomy  via the Common Core and how the Romney education plan affects this issue  will come next week. In the meantime, please see Imposing a Federal Curriculum      on Private Schools – Why Voucher Programs that Require State Tests Are So      Dangerous)

After speaking at Phyllis Schlafley’s Eagle Council along      with Education Liberty Watch’s Dr. Karen Effrem, The American Principles      Project’s Emmett McGroarty, and Heather Crossin, the Indiana mom who led      the rebellion against the Common Core in that state, Kurtz wrote more      about the problems with the Common Core and the coming parental revolt in      National Review Online:

  

Crossin has  successfully galvanized Indiana’s tea-party groups into fighting the Common Core. It’s a taste of what’s going to happen across the country  once Obama’s new national school curriculum hits the ground. Angry  parents like Crossin will be multiplied many times over, and they won’t  just be making funny protest videos. They’ll be marching on state      legislatures and giving the federal government an earful as well. 

The resistance to the Common Core seems to be following  the same state level resistance or inertia that is happening with the health insurance exchanges that unless stopped will serve as the implementation portals for the life robbing, health endangering, tax  increasing and economy wrecking mandates of Obamacare.

     It is therefore critical to make education freedom part of  the consideration as we choose not only a new president, but members of Congress, governors, and state legislators.  Please do not be shy about asking candidates where they stand on the implementation of the  Common Core and what they will do to stop it at both the state and federal levels.  If officials or candidates are not interested in  discussing the lack of constitutionality or terrible quality of the  standards, remind them that Common Core implementation cost estimates vary between $16 and $60 BILLION dollars that will not be available from  the federal government given current debt levels of $16 TRILLION dollars  and the state deficits that many states have accumulated. Please also consider a generous donation to Education Liberty Watch as we join with  groups and individuals across the nation to try to stop this other major usurpation of rights.  The future ability of our children to be the  thinking, reasoning citizens that will know how to maintain our heritage  of freedom depends on being able to stop this Obamacare for education gambit.   -Donna Garner

 

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