President McLean, Dean Kelly Reject “Common Core” Curriculum

Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean and Dean Brian T. Kelly have signed a letter sent to each of the nation’s Catholic bishops urging dioceses to reject the use of the “Common Core” curriculum in their schools. The letter, authored by University of Notre Dame Professor of Law Gerard V. Bradley and cosigned by 132 Catholic scholars nationwide, contends that “Common Core was approved too hastily and with inadequate consideration.” Implementing the curriculum in parochial schools, it charges, “would be a grave disservice to Catholic education in America.”

Common Core’s primary flaw, the letter argues, is that it aspires toward little more than “standardized workforce preparation,” as opposed to the loftier goal of engaging the human mind and spirit. Its educational standards thereby fail to promote “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.”

This deficiency is most evident, the scholars allege, in Common Core’s approach to literacy, which “reduces reading to a servile activity.” Rather than utilizing classical works, Common Core emphasizes “informational texts,” thereby foregoing the possibility of “sustained and heartfelt encounters with great works of literature.” The authors also express concern over forthcoming Common Core standards for natural science and history, which they anticipate will be predicated on materialistic and relativistic assumptions.

“Every student,” the educators argue, “deserves to be prepared for a life of the imagination, of the spirit, and of a deep appreciation for beauty, goodness, truth, and faith.” As such, they conclude 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.”

Posted: November 15, 2013