Archdiocese takes buffet approach to implementing Common Core sc - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Archdiocese takes buffet approach to implementing Common Core school standards

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Kindergarden students at Holy Spirit School. Kindergarden students at Holy Spirit School.
Lisa Mullaney Lisa Mullaney
Leisa Schulz Leisa Schulz

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Children who attend kindergarten at Holy Spirit School just outside St. Matthews will know how to add and subtract when they enter first grade. That's the new standard for Common Core; the set of nationwide goals that replaced No Child Left Behind as a barometer for how schools should prepare students for careers in the real world.

"As far as we've been trained in it, Common Core makes sense," said Lisa Mullaney, a first-grade teacher at Holy Spirit.

"We believe it's good sound educational practice, and in the best interest of our students," said Leisa Schulz, the superintendent for the 38 elementary schools and nine high schools in the Louisville Archdiocese.

Schulz concedes that Common Core may set lower goals for some students at some grade levels, but that shouldn't make such standards any less valid.

"When we look at those standards we always make sure that we are honoring our Catholic culture and Catholic identity first and foremost," said Schulz.

But Notre Dame Law Professor Gerard Bradley isn't so sure. More than 100 catholic scholars have signed on to his letter, sent to Bishops across the country, urging they delay implementing Common Core or scrap it altogether.

"This ‘reform' is really a radical shift in emphasis, goals, and expectations for K-12 education, with the result that Common Core-educated children will not be prepared to do authentic college work," Bradley wrote.

"The heart of its philosophy is, as far as we can see, that it is a waste of resources to "over-educate" people," the letter continued. "Perhaps a truck-driver needs no acquaintance with Paradise Lost to do his or her day's work. But everyone is better off knowing Shakespeare and Euclidean geometry, and everyone is capable of it. Everyone bears the responsibility of growing in wisdom and grace and in deliberating with fellow-citizens about how we should all live together. A sound education helps each of us to do so."

Common Core's so-called career tracking takes full flower in high schools. But Louisville's Catholic high schools vary greatly as to what courses they offer and when, depending upon what their respective student bodies want. Schulz vows that won't change.

"We've a great deal of choice in terms of how those (Common Core) standards are implemented," said Schulz. "It doesn't mean that because they're not doing the same things that they're not able to reach the standards and have children perform at an extremely high level."

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