Crisis Magazine -
by Anne Hendershott,
Aday after the New York Times reported that a group of more than 100 Catholic scholars had asked the nation’s Catholic bishops to repudiate the Common Core guidelines, the Cardinal Newman Society reported that the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)—a Washington, DC lobbying group for Catholic education—had accepted more than $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core in Catholic schools throughout the country.
The Cardinal Newman Society’s Vice-President for News and Communication, Joe Giganti, posted an article on the Society’s website suggesting that the $100,007 grant from the Gates Foundation “will only fuel division over the NCEA’s public encouragement for Catholic schools to adopt the Common Core standards, despite serious concerns about the standards’ academic quality and impact on schools’ Catholic identity.”
The National Catholic Educational Association has indeed been a strong proponent of adopting the federal takeover of Catholic K-12 education—despite the fact that Catholic school parents and principals oppose the implementation without careful analysis. Just this week, the Newman Society released a survey of principals from the top-ranked Catholic high schools in the Society’s Catholic High School Honor Roll which revealed strong opposition to the Common Core. Of the 73 schools surveyed, 60 responded—and only 13 percent of the principals think the Common Core standards would improve the education at their schools. Nearly half (48 percent) indicated that they think the Common Core would harm their curriculum. Thirty-two percent of the principals polled would decline to participate in the Common Core, and another 40 percent said that they would pause and study the Common Core Standards before committing to the implementation.
More than 100 dioceses have already implemented the Common Core this fall. It is likely that few of them had time to “pause and study the Standards” before implementing them. And, since the National Catholic Educational Association had already committed itself to taking the money from the Gates Foundation to support teacher training and materials on implementing the Common Core, the NCEA has a strong interest in encouraging Catholic dioceses to do so also.