Catholic Educators Convene to Add a Religious Dimension to Common Core State Standards
Arlington, Va.---Thirty Catholic educators representing a variety of educational disciplines will convene June 20 to 23 in Alpharetta, Ga., to create templates to overlay Catholic values and morals on the curricula recommended by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Common Core is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards provide a clear and consistent framework of what students are expected to learn to prepare them for college and the workforce.
The standards, which have been adopted by 46 states, will help ensure that students receive a high-quality education consistently, from school to school and state to state. Although private and Catholic schools are not obligated to adopt the standards, many have chosen to do so.
The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the professional association representing most U.S. Catholic elementary and high schools, is convening the June gathering titled the Common Core Catholic Infusion Initiative (CCCII). NCEA President Karen Ristau said that Catholic school educators support the nation-wide effort to set high educational standards for all students. “At the same time,” she said, “it is important that the moral values, the rich literary tradition and the Catholic Church’s role in history also be conveyed to students in Catholic schools.”
The Catholic educators meeting in Alpharetta represent classroom teachers as well as religious educators and curriculum specialists. The focus of this gathering will be to consider the Common Core English language arts curriculum for kindergarten through grade eight. Faculty from St. John’s University, Boston College and Loyola University Chicago will be available as resources.
The team will investigate ways to infuse Catholic historical tradition and values on the existing curriculum. The result will be fully developed templates that may be used with the secular curriculum. The process does not envision revisions to textbooks, but will be an addition to the curriculum.
Presentation Sister Dale McDonald of the NCEA staff offered an example. “The team will match the Common Core standards with available textbooks and resources and then infuse concepts of morals, church doctrine, history, literature, arts and tradition into the lessons developed. These templates also will assist teachers in interpreting many of the fiction, non-fiction and poetry readings in the curriculum.”
The Catholic infusion initiative has received financial support from NCEA, William A. Sadlier Company, Catapult Learning, Rowland Reading Foundation, MindStreams, Riverside Publishing, AdvanceEd and the Sisters of the Presentation of Dubuque, Iowa.
NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA's members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries.