Apr 15, 2014
ELW

Was Pope Francis Calling Out Common Core When Criticizing “Guinea Pig” Education Programs?

Karen R. Effrem, MD  – President

On April 10th, The Vatican released the English translation of a letter from Pope Francis to The International Catholic Office for Children after receiving a delegation from that organization in Rome.  It was a letter that covered several important education, health and human rights issues that were discussed during the meeting.  Particularly revealing was what Pope Francis said about education:

At the same time, this entails supporting the right of parents in the moral and religious education of their children. And on this point, I would like to express my rejection of all types of educational experiments with children. One cannot experiment with children and young people. They are not laboratory guinea-pigs. The horrors of educational manipulation that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the 20th century have not disappeared; they keep their currency under different clothing that, with the pretension of modernity, force children and young people to walk on the dictatorial path of the “single thought.” A great educator said to me just over a week ago:“Sometimes one doesn’t know if with these projects – he was referring to concrete projects of education – you send a child to school or to a camp of re-education. (Emphasis added).

Although the pope did not use Common Core by name, there are so many elements described in this paragraph, that one definitely has to wonder:

“Experimental” - Bill Gates has infamously said, “It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we probably won’t know for a decade.” Another huge Common Core proponent, Chester Finn of the Fordham Institute called it an experiment and likened it to building a plane while flying it.

Historical Failure of National Control of Education – Pope Francis rightly points out that national control of education does not work well for academics, economics or freedom. Even in the United States, education historian Larry Cuban said, “There’s really no good evidence that past educational reforms, such as revising state educational standards, have made much difference.” The 2014 Brown Center Report finds little evidence that Common Core will be effective.    Proponents of Common Core a refusing to recognize these facts.

“Single Thought” -  There are many reports from teachers coming in of scripted, uniform curriculum and complaints from parents about indoctrination with Common Core.

It appears that Pope Francis may have received or been briefed regarding Common Core via the excellent Catholic Scholars’ letter and the Guide for Parents to the Common Core from the Cardinal Newman Society.  Let us hope that this continues so that all students and teachers of all faiths are relieved from what our Catholic friend and activist Willie Guardiola in Florida describes as “The Curse of the Common Core.”

 

 

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