This is one of those “good news, bad news” columns. I’ll start with the bad news, because the bad is worse than the good is good. It’s about Common Core, the new nationalized education program.
For many of you it will be very personal. It will require you to make decisions you never thought you would have to make. It starts with what I believe to be the death of quality Catholic education in most of America.
A parent of one of the children in a local Catholic school came to me with tears in her eyes. She told me that more than 100 dioceses had agreed to adopt the Common Core State Standards in their schools. The school her child attends is in the Sacramento Diocese, which encompasses 20 Northern California counties. The entire Sacramento Diocese has embraced Common Core, which becomes effective next school year.
To give you a better idea of the scope of the Common Core decision, you need to know that there are only 12 dioceses in all of California. Apparently, the Oakland Diocese is one of the very few that has not adopted Common Core. So, if you are sending a child to a Catholic school in any one of these counties (including Napa, Solano and Sacramento), you have time to look for other schools which retain the moral, ethical and academic qualities that Catholic schools have earned in the past. Save your money. There’s no point in sacrificing to send your children to schools with the same standards as public schools.
An article titled “Saving the Uncommon Core of Catholic Education” in the May 17 edition of Crisis, the Catholic laity magazine, tells the story. Authors Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroary write, “As Catholic institutions have come under almost unprecedented pressure from government to trim their religious and social missions, it seems incredible that Catholic educators would consider voluntarily placing their schools under an onerous federal yoke. But that incongruous prospect may be nearing reality as more than 100 Catholic dioceses have signed onto the Common Core Standards Initiative (CC).”
The entire article is available at www.crisismagazine.com/2013/saving-the-uncommon-core-of-catholic-education. Robbins and McGroarty are executives with the American Principles Project.
If you are Catholic and want to keep quality Catholic education, tell your priest and the bishop. If you are not a Catholic and want a quality Catholic education for your children, talk to the bishop. Common Core and quality are not compatible.
If you stay silent, you will have given up your right to have a say in your child’s education. Here are some contact numbers: Bishop Jaime Soto, 916-733-0100; Bishop Emeritus Francis A. Quinn, 916-733-0100; Bishop Emeritus William Weigand, 916-733-0100. Call all three.
Ready for some good news? Here it is.
Rep. Martha Roby and committee chairman John Kline introduced the Student Success Act of 2013, HR 5. It went to the Education and the Workforce Committee on June 6 and is in the markup stage. It is a revision of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). It returns much of the control of education to school districts and to states. A few specifics are that it:
If you want to know more, Google “HR5 student success act.” If you want to support this legislation, call Kline at 202-225-4527. Your call can make a difference.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.