Catholic Common Core – Informational Text or Propaganda

Are “informational texts” a gateway to promulgating propaganda in new CC books?

IMG Read CC Book Cover no name

A fellow CC warrior shared some pages from her son’s new Common Core aligned English Language Arts book being used in a Catholic school. His assignment including using “informational texts” and “close reading” techniques to evaluate a writer’s effectiveness in making valid arguments:


Ready Common Core – Close reading – Part 1

Ready Common Core – Close reading – Part 2

The reading samples present “information” about global warming/climate change (the kind that is the fault of human beings and “toxic” CO2, not the kind that occurs naturally in God’s wondrous creation as the result of sun cycles), the glories of alternative energy juxtaposed against the evils of fossil fuels as well as commentary from the CO2 exhaling, “carbon footprint” depositing, fabricator of inconvenient lies, bloviating billionaire guru of the “green” movement, Al Gore. And, of course, the obligatory reference to polar bears and melting ice caps. Here’s one way the global warming “debate” is framed from “different” viewpoints:

IMG Ready CC Polar Bear

So, the student has a choice:  one argument in support of global warming or another argument in support of global warming. There are also arguments presented on the fracking where at least both sides of the argument are seemingly presented.

Beware! If you read these materials too closely, as the “closing reading” sidebar item suggests, you might get bowled over by the stench of B.S.

There are so many other “arguments” that are less controversial and would have served the purpose without injecting dubious and misleading scientific “information” into the classroom, especially as part of “language arts.” Under the guise of developing critical thinking skills, they are really training minds on what to think, not how to think. Welcome to top-down, centrally controlled, government run education.

The textbooks have already been purchased, in most cases by the government, and placed in front of our Catholic school children. And those of us who disagree are expected to “tolerate” their ideas and accept the “settled science” of global warming or whatever other controversial issues they want to promote and ignore the fact that over and over again our children’s young, impressionable minds will potentially be exposed to misinformation, and, in some cases, outright lies. After all, this is just “language arts,” not science class, right? And no doubt, these Common Core aligned texts correspond very nicely to what will be on the Common Core aligned standardized tests.

This is not education, this is indoctrination. I realize there are many people who have bought into the “human caused climate change is settled science” argument, including teachers. But that does not make it true.  And the pursuit of truth should be the guiding principle in making arguments, instead of just trying to convince someone that you are right by whatever means necessary. Students are being programmed to be little social activists for causes the government finds of importance without being mature enough to understand the issues in full context. They are learning to use fallacious reasoning and appeal to emotion to plead on behalf of a cause instead of using logic, reason, and truth.

Denise Donohue, Ed.D.,  Deputy Director of K-12 Programs for the Cardinal Newman Society, provided some insight and understanding as to how Common Core is using techniques like “close reading” in a way it was not intended and that leads to faulty reasoning:

Close reading is an instructional approach advocated by the Common Core which was originally designed for the analysis of poetry in the 1940s and 1950s and called New Criticism. It was designed to scrutinize the different parts of a poem in detail – word choice, meter, syntax, and so forth. It is now being used for all different types of literature and is only one method of studying texts.  Common Core has chosen this method over many other approaches such as the reader/response or moral criticism (the later would perhaps be better used in Catholic schools). It hones a students attention into the text presented directing the student to only that text or texts for “validation” instead of including outside sources.  What happens during actual instruction is that by the time a teacher has taught the lesson working through all of the requirements of the curricular material, the student is left to believe that whatever they have read was in fact true and the only legitimate viewpoint on the subject.

In Catholic schools, the pursuit of truth is a hallmark of our schools (God as Creator of all things cannot contradict  Himself, so we have nothing to fear). When we read all pieces of literature (and “Yes”, even these informational persuasive essays) we are to ask ourselves is this True? Is this correct in response to reality? Is the premise that is being put forth, in content, a true premise?

What is happening in this piece you sent is the confusion between the two different types of logic. Formal logic and Material logic. Formal logic is the structure of the thinking. Did the author put forth a premise and follow it up with sufficient evidence? If he did, then the conclusion is Valid (as the papers indicate), but the argument can still be materially invalid if the premises set forth are false.

 In my opinion, what is happening here is the authors are using formal logic to convince students about the “validity” of using geothermal, solar power, and wind power over fossil fuels. They are using “Formal Logic” instead of “Material Logic” that relies on the correctness of the original premise – and that is what I would be concerned about -especially in a Catholic school! When using these types of topics to learn about citing text evidence, teachers need to be very cognizant of allowing enough time for multiple viewpoints to be read so as 1.)not to fall into the revisionist history, political ideology of the new texts and 2.) to work toward the authentic pursuit of truth.  ​

I have an idea for a close reading/informational text assignment – how about , oh, I don’t know ….

THE BIBLE?

BIBLE Creation

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Catholic Common Core – Junior Achievement

Okay, so last week my daughter, who is in first grade, came home and said that the mother of one of her classmates came in to talk to them and she showed me this little booklet.

Jr Achievement Book

In it, it talked about people in a community and the things they do to help each other and to take care of the community. I have since learned that this a K-12 entrepreneurship program that is very popular with many parents, but something about it all just irked me.

So I looked up this Junior Achievement organization. Here is what their website says:


Junior Achievement’s Purpose:

Junior Achievement inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.

Junior Achievement Sparks Student Success

…Our volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential. With the help of more than 213,000 volunteers, JA students develop the skills they need to experience the realities and opportunities of work and entrepreneurship in the 21st century global marketplace.

Learn about JA’s Blended Learning Transformation

Junior Achievement is incorporating a blended learning approach into its programs, creating a scalable, relevant, and responsive student experience. By blending our current face-to-face approach with digital opportunities to access JA content, we can reach more students in more relevant ways that better accommodate students’ diverse learning styles and provide them with 21st century skills that will equip them to be successful in the global marketplace…


Common Core Buzzword Alert

Blech. Blech. Blah. Let’s play how many CC buzzwords we can find in the above paragraphs:

21st Century
global marketplace
global economy
work-readiness

This program is sold as a way to introduce children, starting in Kindergarten, how to understand wants versus needs and to figure out what kind of job they can do and the skills they will need to develop, or what kind of business they can start that will bring them success. Why is it necessary start this “career readiness” so early on? Besides, don’t students learn about communities, from the local on up to the big wide world, as part of history and social studies? And, since they are in Catholic school, won’t they learn about being helpful neighbors in their community by knowing that Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and do unto others as we would have them do unto us?

Maybe I’m just not getting it. Here is a sample of the program from a Catholic school in Rochester, NY.

http://seton.dorschools.org/files/filesystem/JA%20in%20a%20Day%20at%20Seton%20-%20Program%20List.pdf

Everything Is Awesome

According to the Junior Achievement website, “classroom volunteers transform the key concepts of our lessons into a message that inspires and empowers students to believe in themselves, showing them they can make a difference in the world.” It strikes as being philosophically rooted in materialism and brings to mind the ‘Everything is Awesome’ world from the Lego movie.

For Catholic students, in terms of spiritual growth, what does it mean to believe “in yourself?”  What about reinforcing a belief in God and a firm reliance on Him for guidance on how they will “make a difference in the world?”  Do the classroom volunteers interject and remind the children that God willed each one of them into being and that they will finding meaningful work that allows them to provide for themselves and their families while serving God and their fellow man? For Christians, success should be much more than merely finding temporal work. And what about vocations and callings that transcend the “global marketplace” like the priesthood or religious orders and the important role they serve in the community?

One Big Glaring Omission in Jr. Achiever World

Looking at the “Junior Achiever community” above, I see a lot of busy people and a lot of recycling and trash pick up going on, but what I don’t see in the busy Junior Achiever community is a church. Of course, since this is designed for secular education, if they put a church, they would probably have to depict all places of worship on the cover. But, I am not sending my daughter to public school. I am sending her to Catholic school.

And if this program is so valuable to later “success” in this life, why can’t Catholic schools create their own version of this program that incorporates Catholic beliefs, values, and virtues?

My Junior Achiever ‘Dear Mommy’ letter:

This was the little Junior Achievement assignment – a  “Dear Mommy – What I Want or Need letter” my daughter brought home:

Jr. Achievement - What I Want

At least she knew these were “wants” and not “needs.” But, as her parents, we  have already explained these things to her and she already does chores around the house. But for some reason, those of us who are responsible, engaged parents are being subjected to the “schools must also be parents because parents just don’t know” mentality that permeates education nowadays. I did write her back and told her, much to her disappointment, that she is not going to get a horse or a DS for making her bed.

All this aligns very nicely with the Common Core world of “21st century skills” and preparing students for “jobs of the future.” It coordinates with the categorizing and sorting of the units of human capital (that would be the students – our children) to see where they fit as global citizens in a global marketplace.

God Does Not Require That We Be Successful

I recently heard the following quote attributed to Blessed Mother Theresa:

“God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.”

And, as Terrence Moore says in his book StoryKillers (which is excellent by the way):

“The man or woman who understands human nature and history, and who has a tolerable work ethic and a sound character, will never have trouble getting into college, nor landing a job, nor gaining a public voice, nor knowing what counts for truth, beauty, and goodness in the world. As such, that man or women will have a much greater chance of obtaining the great end of human life: happiness — the happiness that comes from pursuing truth and living virtuously.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Update

St. Patrick’s Day Activities

Well, as I had feared, below are photos of some of the St. Patrick’s Day “busy work” my daughter came home with … from Catholic school. I really feel like quite a curmudgeon for nitpicking all this stuff. I guess my expectations were a little high for our “modern” Catholic education system.

NONE of the work she came home with referenced St. Patrick or the story/legend of how he used the clover as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, or any of the symbolism in the renderings of St. Patrick, such as his staff and the snakes. I asked and she said they did learn about “St. Patrick” but that she just couldn’t remember what they did. I have no doubt that Saint Patrick was indeed discussed. The attention span of a first grader is short lived to be sure. But what will she remember more, St. Patrick or leprechauns, four leaf clovers & pots of gold? Of course, I made sure to reinforce what I knew about Saint Patrick and we did some activities at home.

I certainly don’t think there is anything terribly wrong with hearing about mischievous little leprechuans and the Irish fairy tales based on them, but I just expected so much more in sending her to Catholic school where we can actually talk about the Saints instead of using pagan customs and modern traditions that were established so that these religious holidays could also be celebrated by those who do not wish to acknowledge anything religious but still participate in them. Focussing on leprechuans is like diverting attention from the true meaning of Easter and Chrismas by making it about visits from Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

I thought Catholic school would be where instead of writing an “acrostic poem” about being lucky, she would copy down a verse from Hail, Glorious St. Patrick! But alas, modernism has crept into our Catholic schools where some teachers (but certainly by no means all) don’t even seem to look to Catholic resources for classroom materials.

The worksheets pictured below came from www.abcteach.com. So I went to the site to see what choices they offered for classroom activites to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. None of the activities referenced or even mention Saint Patrick (except for using his name to describe the day) or anything Catholic for that matter.

If I mention it, they will say they are just trying to make things fun for the children as if children could not possibly understand or appreciate the lives of the Saints. And even if they are a little bored, so what. Aren’t we supposed to educating future saints here?

Here are some of the activities she did in school:

There was an activity about the Irish flag, Celtic musicians, and an information sheet on the origins of the harp, with the only “religious” reference being “The harp is at least as old as the Bible.”

Wearin’ Of the Green

St. Pattys Coloring Page - Lephrechau

Complete the Story

And they had this little story assignment about the life of St. Patrick .. oops, I mean about leprechauns, gold, and shamrocks …

St Pattys Day - Story Page

Lucky Shamrock

She also colored a lovely pink shamrock and wrote an acrostic poem about being lucky.

St Patrick's Day - Lucky clover

One of My Activities

For our own activity here at home, I had printed off this activity from the awesome website http://www.catholicinspired.com. I also did the mobile pictured below. The child cuts and pastes the beautiful and inspiring images of God, Jesus & the dove (Holy Spirit) onto the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity, three in One.

from www.catholicinspired.com
from http://www.catholicinspired.com

Compare & Contrast

Just to “compare and contrast” (a favorite Common Core language arts technique) – here are two St. Patrick’s Day craft activites that involve making a mobile:

This one from abcteach.com:

Source: http://www.abcteach.com/documents/craft-st-patricks-day-mobile-primary-18596
Source: http://www.abcteach.com/documents/craft-st-patricks-day-mobile-primary-18596

And this one from http://www.catholicinspired.com:

Source: http://www.catholicinspired.com/2015/03/st-patrick-mobile-color-cut-glue-and.html
Source: http://www.catholicinspired.com/2015/03/st-patrick-mobile-color-cut-glue-and.html

Which one is more inspiring and reverent of the true meaning of St. Patrick’s day? Which one would you expect to find in a Catholic school?


Saint Patrick, Pray for us.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day

 

St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity.
St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about the Holy Trinity.

Lord, forgive me for the many years I thought this day was about green beer & hangovers. Here’s hoping my daughter doesn’t come home from Catholic school with a coloring pages full of leprechauns, rainbows & a pot of gold … [See UPDATE – yep, she sure did … ]

 

 

 

 HAIL, GLORIOUS ST. PATRICK

(words: Sister Agnes / tune: ancient Irish melody, 1920)

St. Patrick - Pray for us!
St. Patrick – Pray for us!

Hail, glorious St. Patrick, dear saint of our isle,
On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;
And now thou art high in the mansions above,
On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

(optional repeat)
On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,
On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

Hail, glorious St. Patrick, thy words were once strong
Against Satan’s wiles and a heretic throng;
Not less is thy might where in Heaven thou art;
Oh, come to our aid, in our battle take part!

In a war against sin, in the fight for the faith,
Dear Saint, may thy children resist to the death;
May their strength be in meekness, in penance, and prayer,
Their banner the Cross, which they glory to bear.

Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,
Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;
And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,
Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.

Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,
Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth,
And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,
For God and St. Patrick, and our native home.

 

Saint Patrick, Pray for us.

Catholic Common Core – Special Lenten Novena & Rosary

Novena In Honor of the Annunciation of Our Lady

Annunciation

In the nine days leading up to the great feast of the Annunciation, from Monday, March 16 thru Tuesday, March 24th, let us fast and offer up the following novena for the intercession of our Blessed Mother and St. Gabriel in our efforts to have our voices heard within the Diocese of Harrisburg regarding not only Common Core, but the restoration of Catholic education and of our true Catholic identity. We recognize that the heresy of modernism has taken deep root with the church and is the basis on which grave errors like the Common Core find its way into our churches and schools.

Please unite this prayer with the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary during this Novena.

I greet you, Ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Throne of Grace, miracle of Almighty Power! I greet you, Sanctuary of the Most Holy Trinity and Queen of the Universe, Mother of Mercy and refuge of sinners!

Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness, and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, miserable as I am, and beg of you to obtain for me from your dear Son the favor I request in this novena:

Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, we ask for your intercession and the intercession of St. Gabriel. We seek a storm of mercy for Bishop and those in positions of authority to open their doors and open their hearts to the parents and other faithful who so desperately seek the restoration, not only of Catholic education, but also of the true Catholic identity. We also pray for the rejection of the heresy of modernism, on which these grave errors are founded. We beg of you to carry our intention to the foot of Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer. Enlighten and strengthen your Bishops in the United States of America with wisdom and discernment to take bold action against the influences of Common Core State Standards of education, in all of its forms, on our Catholic schools. Renew and restore our Catholic schools to be institutions which seek only truth, beauty, and goodness as well as teach discipline and inspire holiness in its students, teachers, and administrators alike. Let the standards of Catholic education be founded in Christ, first and foremost. 

Obtain for me also, Queen of heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully, especially humility, purity and obedience. Above all, I beg you to be my Mother and Protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory.

Do not reject my petitions, Mother of Mercy! Have pity on me, and do not abandon me during life or at the moment of my death. Amen.

 

Here is a print friendly version in PDF format:

Novena In Honor of the Annunciation of Our Lady

Sorrowful Mysteries in Latin

The following link contains the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary in Latin –- I plan, in all my muddled pronunciation, as best I can, to pray this Latin Rosary along with the above novena.

Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary in Latin

UPDATE: For those of you who are “latin challenged” like me, here is the YouTube audio of the reading of the Rosary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJvjMNPOEJ0

Thank you to Ann Barnhardt for posting and sharing this rosary.

Catholic Common Core – Parents Speak Up

A reader shared the following email that was sent out recently to family, friends, and parishioners regarding Common Core, and the adaptation of it into our Catholic schools.

It is hard to understand why so much effort is being given to separate the wheat from the chaff to make these standards “fit” into Catholic education. Square peg.  Round hole.

Feel free to use this letter for your own communications.

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