An initiative to promote the controversial Common Core State Standards in Catholic schools, led by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), has amended a first-grade unit plan to remove three books celebrating families headed by same-sex or divorced couples.
The Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII) removed The Family Book by Todd Parr and Who’s in a Family? by Robert Skutch from a recommended first-grade unit plan in English Language Arts after parental protest, according to journalist Mary Jo Anderson writing for Crisis Magazine.
And the Cardinal Newman Society has identified a third book that has been removed from the unit plan, All Kinds of Families by Norma Simon.
Although the CCCII’s original unit plan identified a revision date of July 2012, CCCII quietly removed the three books without acknowledging a new revision date in the current version or announcing the changes to the plan.
A review of The Family Book from the School Library Journal, cited at Amazon.com, describes the many different types of families celebrated in the book: “Some families include stepmoms, stepdads, stepsisters, or stepbrothers; some adopt children. Other families have two moms or two dads, while some children have only one parent.”
A description at Amazon.com of Who’s in a Family states that “this equal opportunity, open-minded picture book has no preconceptions about what makes a family a family” and that “[t]here’s even equal time given to some of children’s favorite animal families.” And a review cited from Publishers Weekly explains, “[T]his slight book catalogues multicultural contemporary family units, including those with single parents, lesbian and gay parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.”
All Kinds of Families embraces “the full spectrum of families, nuclear, traditional, adoptive, racial, and divorced households,” according to the School Library Journal as cited at Amazon.com. On the site, a customer claims that the book’s diverse family members “even include someone who is in jail.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the family:
A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated. (2202)
CCCII and the NCEA have vigorously defended the Common Core State Standards as friendly to Catholic identity in Catholic schools, despite widespread concern from Catholic family groups, educators and some bishops. The CCCII website declares, “Catholic educators will never forget that our schools exist to bring our students to Christ. By adapting standards from the CCSS that are challenging, they are working to fulfill the promise of quality Catholic education that educates the whole child, mind and soul.”
However, a report last month from The Cardinal Newman Society revealed that the NCEA has accepted more than $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote Common Core. The Gates Foundation, which heavily funds contraception around the world, also funded the development and promotion of the Common Core Standards and has been supporting Common Core-compliant curriculum development.
Of the 31 books remaining on the first-grade unit plan for Catholic schools, CCCII lists only three books that appear to be explicitly Christian according to their titles: Child’s Guide to Baptism by Sue Stanton, My Baptism Book by Sophie Piper, and Stinkbug Saves the Day: The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Bill Myers.
In Crisis Magazine, Anderson reports other examples of troublesome literature resulting from the Common Core State Standards. Public school parents protested a “pornographic” ninth-grade book and an eleventh-grade book that portrayed a “sado-masochistic relationship.”
Anderson describes the “most alarming” book recommended by Common Core, which includes an “explicit depiction of rape, incest, sexual violence and pedophilia” and shows “sympathy for the pedophile.” She writes:
Schools, especially public schools, are already high-risk environments in some communities that are struggling to contain drugs, bullying, and violence. Do such texts increase violence, teen pregnancy and drug use among susceptible, vulnerable children? Can such novels be understood as educational? One shocked parent noted that material in Dreaming in Cuban, if filmed, would berated R-17, but if it’s listed by CCSS, it is used in schools as “lessons” for 15 year olds…
The deep flaws of the Common Core system of standards and accompanying “exemplars” serves to remind citizens of the wisdom of the Tenth Amendment. Education belongs to the States; to the local community where community standards are best decided by the people who know their fellow citizens.