Common Core Analysis

The Common Core Standards are transforming public education.  Should Catholic schools follow the secular lead?  Allow ICLE to keep you informed about this important issue.


October 12, 2016
Singular focus on workforce development conflicts with Catholic schools’ academic, spiritual and moral mission.
BOSTON – The workforce-preparation focus of the K-12 English and math standards known as Common Core puts them at odds with Catholic education, and the standards should not be adopted by parochial schools, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project.  Read more…

June 21, 2014
The Core of Catholic Education: Philosophy of Schooling Is at Stake — Stratford Caldecott reflects on the Common Core and Catholic education: “As the author of two books laying out a new Catholic philosophy of education based on the traditional liberal arts (Beauty in the Word and Beauty for Truth’s Sake), I have mixed feelings about the Common Core.”

February 19, 2014
10 Minimal Adaptations Catholic Schools Should Consider Making to the Common Core State Standards
In the latest of a series of papers at the Newman Society website,, Dr. Dan Guernsey of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS) outlines 10 of the conflicts that result from implementing secular standards in Catholic schools, where the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church should be the foundation for the curriculum.

January 3, 2014
‘We set the tone for education’: Professor reflects on Catholic education – Coffee and Curriculum. Dr. Seeley and I discussed the history of Catholic education, the role of Catholic schools today, and the advantages of what he calls a “liberal” education or one that is “ordered toward making men free” (instead of a vocational or technical education). He also articulated the most fair and least pugnacious critique of Common Core that I’ve come across… read more

December 31, 2013
Common Core at Odds with Classical Catholic Education, Says Educator – In the second of a series of reports on the Common Core State Standards published by The Cardinal Newman Society, education expert Dr. Andrew Seeley finds that the Standards are inconsistent with Catholic schools’ roots in classical education. – read more – open the PDF report

October 23, 2013
Catholic Schools Exceed Common Core Standards  — “Until the Common Core Standards prove themselves and overcome the doubt and suspicion that currently surround them—even in the government school sector—we should stay the course, hold steady, and keep our focus as tried, tested, and true Catholic schools.  Let the Common Core, if it wants, reduce education to only college and career readiness. Catholic schools have always been about more.”

October 16, 2013
Catholic Scholars Oppose Common Core — Over a hundred respected Catholic scholars signed a letter warning Catholic bishops about the dangers of the Common Core:  “…We are convinced 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.”   This New York Times article offers some response.

October 17, 2013
The Common Core: Education Radically Transformed — Notre Dame Law Professor Gerard Bradley joins the chorus of Catholic critics of the Common Core:  “Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education.  At or near the heart of its philosophy is the judgment that it is a waste of resources to “over-educate” people.  The basic goal of K-12 schools is to provide everyone with a modest skill set; after that, people can specialize in college—if they end up there.”

September 8, 2013
School Science Standards Fall Short — Institute friend Martin Cothran of Memoria Press offers a fundamental critique of the Next Generation/Common Core Science Standards: “Not only is it largely the concrete individual things of nature — bugs, flowers, birds, fish, snakes, comets and black holes — that fire the imagination and garner the interest of students in science, but it is these things and these things alone that give us the understanding of what is actually at stake in the stewardship of our environment.”

June 11, 2013
Common Core Common Sense — Dr. Daniel Coupland of Hillsdale College puts the Common Core standards in perspective through a review of twentieth century movements in American education, and a fair presentation of arguments for and against the initiative.

May 17, 2013
Saving the Uncommon Core of Catholic Education —  Emmett McGroarty and  Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project see the Common Core as at odds with the goals of classical education:  “And at bottom, the Common Core embraces essentially a trade-school mentality.  Even in English class—where the heart of humanist education should beat most strongly—the curriculum is to be redesigned to offer less classic literature and more nonfiction ‘informational texts’.” Emmett also spoke at the 2013 Catholic Classical Schools Conference.