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Rochester, NY Catholic School Parents Against Common Core

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Common Core: The Trojan Horse for Catholic Education

One of the major themes of Catholic education is the belief in the family unit and the individual identity of the child in education. If this is a primary belief, than a one size fits all cookie cutter approach to education can never work. If a parent is unable to assist a child with his/her homework then this creates separation between the child and the parent.

For example below is a math problem taken from Common Core lesson 12 for 4th graders.

Last year on Ted's farm, his four cows produced the following liters of milk:

Daisy - 5,098

Betsy - ?

Mary - 9,980

Buttercup - 7,087

a. Betsy produced 986 more liters of milk than Buttercup. How many liters of milk did all 4 cows produce?

b. Is your answer reasonable? Please explain.

Parents, regardless of their level of education complain that they are unable to help their kids with basic math. What's worse is that kids are actually beginning to think they are dumb because they can not understand the material given the teaching methodology. Even if a child comes up with the correct answer they are not given credit if the work shown was not the Common Core method of getting the answer.

How would you respond to your child when they come to you and say "Mom/Dad can you help me with my math? I don't understand this?" One is reminded of the quote from Albert Einstein where he says "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."

There are many laws in place that prevent a one size fits all national approach to education in America: the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary & Secondary Education Act. These exist to protect states from intrusion by the United States Department of Education.

For a national program like this to work, it must be geared towards the lowest common denominator in order to be applicable to all students. Essentially this would bring the performance of kids in Catholic education down to "level the playing field". From there we can all "progress" together at the same (slower) pace. To a large extent Catholic education has set the bar for education in the America. So this begs the question why would any diocese be in favor of adopting national (lower) standards? Moreover, why would any parent continue to pay for Catholic education if the same standards will be imposed as that of the government schools?

You can say the Common Core Curriculum has a good objective in principle: to raise the standards of American education across the country by focusing on a "common core" of teaching, materials & etc. The issue isn't so much the objective as the actual standards themselves and the means for achieving them.

Two of the leading academic minds who were involved in the development of the standards were so put off by the final standards that were adopted, that they refused to sign on and lend their names to them. Stanford University emeritus mathematics professor James Milgram, the only academic mathematician on the Common Core Validation committee, refused to sign the final draft saying "The Core Mathematic Standards are written to reflect very low expectations," he said, calling them "as non-challenging as possible" with "extremely serious failings." In a letter outlining his concerns, Dr. Milgram even pointed to "actual errors" in sixth and seventh grade discussions about ratios and rates - "they are neither mathematically correct nor especially clear."

"The major problem is the 50/50 division of reading instruction from K-12. 10 standardsfor informational text and 9 for literature - meaning that literary study is reduced and the opportunity for kids to develop critical thinking skills is reduced," Dr. Sandra Stotsky, the 21st-century chair in teacher quality at the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform. Dr. Stotsky was on thevalidation committee and also refused to sign off on the the final draft of the standards.

Even worse, data tracking will lead to career tracking. Personal student data including academic performance, health history, disciplinary records, and much more will be collected and shared with other agencies and private entities without parental knowledge or authority. In New York this data combined with the Common Core Standards will support will support the newly implemented "Career-Cluster" scheme. No later than 9th grade students will be steered towards one of 16 predetermined Career-Clusters creating an employment caste system via education.

Multiple states have begun fighting back. Indiana, Michigan and South Carolina have passed bills putting the implementation of Common Core on "pause" while further investigation is conducted. In Florida the states' top lawmakers issued a letter calling on the state to quit the Common Core aligned testing consortium. Oklahoma, Alabama, and Utah have already done so, and North Dakota just dropped its membership in one of the testing groups. "Because the tests are the linchpin and the capstone of Common Core and to me the worst of the whole edifice." - Joy Pullman (education research Fellow with the non-partisan Heartland Institute).

We do not want to see teachers replaced by online training modules like we have in the workforce. We want to maintain the human element in education and are asking your support by requesting you sign this petition telling the Diocese of Rochester andthe Superintendent of Catholic Schools reject Common Core and the consortia for testing.

Also, please take 5 minutes to listen to this speech given by high school senior Eathan Young at the Knox County school board meeting on November 6th 2013:



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