MILWAUKEE – Catholic school parents in Milwaukee have a lot of questions about how Common Core will impact their children’s education, but they won’t be able to use church property for an informational meeting that’s scheduled for this coming Sunday.
The Archbishop’s office nixed the idea after officials learned the featured speaker, Dr. James “Duke” Pesta, “holds an opinion of Common Core State Standards that is contrary to that of the Archdiocese,” reports CUFMilwaukee.org.
The Sunday afternoon talk is now being held at the Clarion Hotel Grand Ballroom.
Pesta is one of the nation’s leading critics of the nationalized learning standards that are being adopted by public schools and Catholic schools all across the nation. He has testified against the standards before legislative committees in several states.
Pesta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, said it’s “pretty shocking” that officials would prevent an informational meeting on church grounds, simply because he holds a differing opinion of Common Core.
“There are Catholic moms and dads who want information about Common Core, but nobody’s talking,” Pesta told EAGnews. “Common Core is alarmingly bad for Catholic schools, but officials are adopting it without knowing what it is.”
According to Pesta, Catholic school leaders in Milwaukee and elsewhere are jumping onto the Common Core bandwagon out of fear of falling behind their public school counterparts on national tests, which could affect students’ ability to attend the college of their choice.
“That’s a staggering admission – that they’re less interested in giving students a classical Catholic education than in keeping up with the public schools,” Pesta said.
Pesta reviewed many of the Common Core-aligned curriculums offered to schools, and finds them to be “100 percent materialist, atheist and secular.”
He said pro-Common Core Catholics believe they can get around those problems by “catholicizing” an anti-religious curriculum. But Pesta believes such an effort is “impossible,” as it would require Catholic school teachers – many of whom aren’t Catholic – to “unmake” virtually all of the offending lessons.
This mini-controversy seems to have a big upside for Pesta and other Common Core critics. Before the archdiocese’s announcement, Pesta was anticipating a turnout of about 150 individuals. But in the wake of all of the publicity generated by the decision, Pesta now expects a turnout to be anywhere from 200 to 400.
He’s planning to do four or five more talks around the Milwaukee area in the next couple of months.
“People are hungry for this information,” Pesta said. “Our effort is to raise awareness, so in the long run this could be a blessing in disguise.”