The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paid the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) more than $100,000 to support teacher training and materials on implementing the Common Core school standards, The Cardinal Newman Society has discovered.
The $100,007 grant made in September will only fuel division over the NCEA’s public encouragement for Catholic schools to adopt the Common Core standards, despite serious concerns about the standards’ academic quality and impact on schools’ Catholic identity.
The revelation comes even as The Cardinal Newman Society and other Catholic groups and dioceses—led by the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS)—are co-sponsoring a meeting in New Jersey with Catholic school superintendents, principals and educators to discuss concerns about the Common Core, a controversial education reform movement funded largely by the Gates Foundation.
Yesterday the Newman Society released a survey of principals from the top-ranked Catholic high schools in the Society’s Catholic High School Honor Roll, that found that the principals oppose Catholic schools rushing to adopt Common Core without careful analysis.
Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, will appear on EWTN’s “The World Over with Raymond Arroyo” on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to discuss the survey and concerns about the Common Core. The show will be repeated Friday at 1 a.m.and 9 a.m. ET, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, and Monday at 10 p.m. ET.
The NCEA recently launched a revised website for its Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII), which offers resources and advice to Catholic schools planning to adopt the controversial Common Core standards. In addition to the Gates Foundation grant, sponsors of the CCCII include William H. Sadlier, Inc., a leading Catholic textbook publisher, and Riverside Publishing, a national testing company—which potentially could reap large profits from the Common Core’s adoption by Catholic schools.
The Gates Foundation has also made grants to other Catholic entities to promote Common Core. This year it granted $248,343 to DePaul University for Leading with Algebra, described by the University as “a partnership between DePaul and the Chicago Public Schools to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in algebra for grades 6-8.” And in 2010, the Gates Foundation granted $556,006 to the Cristo Rey Network, in part to implement Common Core in the nationwide network of Catholic schools.
The Gates Foundation has come under fire from Catholic and pro-life organizations for its substantial “family planning” grant program to encourage the use of contraceptives in developing countries.
Last year, Melinda Gates publicly dissented from Catholic teaching on contraception. According to LifeNews.com, she told attendees at a Berlin conference that “as a practicing Catholic,” and “in the tradition of the great Catholic scholars,” it is “important to question received teachings,” in particular “the one saying that birth control is a sin.”
Although the Gates Foundation claims neutrality on abortion, its grantees include a number of abortion advocacy groups and even the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, which is responsible for abortions worldwide. Other grantees have included the Guttmacher Institute, Population Action International, the Population Council and the United Nations Population Fund.