A Boston think tank has released a report strongly criticizing the federal “Common Core” educational standards, saying that they are incompatible with traditional Catholic approach to education.
“After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core,” produced
by the Pioneer Institute, argues that the Common Core standards are
designed simply to train students for the workplace, rather than to
provide a genuine liberal education and instruction in virtue.
authors write that “the national standards’ unrelenting focus on skills
that transfer directly to the modern work world conflicts with Catholic
schools’ academic, spiritual, and moral mission.”
The Pioneer study observes that the Common Core shows no interest in
introducing students to great literature, which can inspire young people
and broaden their understanding.
Anthony Esolen of Providence College,
one of the study’s authors, says that the Common Core shows “a strictly
utilitarian view of mankind; man with his soul amputated.”
In a preface to the report, two former US ambassadors to the
Vatican—Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon and former Boston Mayor
Raymond Flynn—agree that the Common Core gives short shrift to moral
development, a crucial concern for Catholic schools.
Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society described the Pioneer
report as a “devastating critique” of the Common Core standards that
demonstrates “the need for new standards to ensure faithful Catholic
The National Catholic Education Association has endorsed the Common
Core, and encouraged Catholic schools to adopt the standards. But
resistance to the Common Core has been growing among Catholic educators.
The authors of the Pioneer study, along with Anthony Esolen, are: Dan
Guernsesy, an education professor at Ave Maria University; Jane
Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project; and Kevin
Ryan, a retired professor of education at Boston University and founder
of the Center for Character and Social Responsibility.