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NAC Chair Recommends Episcopal Review of Common Core in Catholic Schools

Ilya Boyandin

Joe Giganti - Matthew Archbold - published on 11/14/13

The head of the U.S. bishops' National Advisory Council strongly recommends that the general assembly conduct an episcopal review of the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative.

The head of the U.S. bishops' National Advisory Council (NAC) strongly recommended that the general assembly conduct an episcopal review of the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII). Renee Miller, the NAC’s chair, also encouraged the bishops to engage more extensively with college presidents about instituting Pope John Paul II’s apostolic constitution, Ex corde Ecclesiae, on their campuses.

Miller called the 48-member group—which includes the laity, as well as deacons, priests, women religious sisters and brothers, and bishops—“the Church in miniature.”

Speaking in front of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) General Assembly, Miller said that NAC has had “much discussion about the challenges of Catholic education and Catholic identity in our colleges and our universities.”

She continued, “NAC members were in agreement that the Ex corde Ecclesiae working group of bishops and college presidents receive encouragement in its attempt to continue dialogue about strategic subjects on a national level as they gather information about best practices, offers suggestions for local conversations and developing resources.” 

The working group, which consists of bishops and a number of college presidents, was created after it was recommended in the "Final Report for the 10-year Review of The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States."  The USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Educationdrafted that report in June 2012.

The group’s responsibility, according to the USCCB, includes the continuation of dialogue between bishops and presidents toward greater cooperation in advancing the mission of the Church; hiring for mission; and the formation of trustees, faculty and staff regarding Catholic identity.

Miller expressed the council’s concerns about the federal government's Common Core State Standards initiative "and its impact on (the) Catholic school curriculum." In her short speech, Miller did not specify particular concerns, but she did say, “An episcopal review of the Common Core CatholicIdentity Initiative is needed.”

According to the CCCII website, the group aids in the development of school-level, standards-based, Catholic identity-infused curriculum.  Many groups, including The Cardinal Newman Society, have questioned the compatibility of Common Core with Catholic education, and Catholic Education Daily recently reported that the National Catholic Education Association (the parent organization of CCCII) received more than $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the questionable standards to Catholic schools.

More than 100 dioceses have chosen to develop local curriculum using the Common Core State Standards for English/language arts and mathematics.

Miller also suggested making a concerted effort to make Catholic education more available to underserved populations.

Miller’s speech is available on video. She begins speaking around the 1:04 mark.

Originally published by The Cardinal Newman Society's Catholic Education Daily on 13 November 2013.

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