Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..
Gerard Bradley, an expert on constitutional law at the University of Notre Dame law school leads a group of about 130 scholars who have called on the U.S. bishops to reassess the Common Core curriculum standards, which are reportedly being implemented in about half of the nation's K-12 Catholic schools.
Bradley's letter was issued in advance of the the U.S. bishps' annual meeting in Baltimore next week, and it offers a broad critique of the new federal standards on philosophical grounds, describing them as a sharp departure from the hoslistic framework of Catholic education, which seeks to form the whole person with deep respect for the nature and dignity of the human person and their capacity to know and choose what is good and true.
Bradley outlines some specific concerns regarding the Common Core's shift in emphasis toward infomational texts at the high school level, a change that critics argue will necessarily result in less exposure to great literary and philosophical texts.
The Washington Post published the full text of Bradley's letter here.
The New York Times also reported on the letter here. The Times story noted a comment by the USCCB's executive director for Catholic education, who said that Catholic schools need only use the Common Core framework as a general guide. Sister John Mary Fleming told the Times:
We see the Common Core as a minimum, just as we’ve seen other state standards in the past as a minimum, and we intend to go way beyond that.
But that point seems unlikely to quell this rising storm.