Catholics United for theFaith
Affirming Authentic Catholicism in Milwaukee
Fourth Wisconsin diocese rejects Common Core
Superior Diocese Statement, December 10, 2013

La Crosse Diocese Rejects Adoption/Adaptation of
Common Core
December 6, 2013  The Cardinal Newman Society

Bishop Morlino Joins Bishop Ricken in Rejecting
Common Core
November 27, 2013  Statement from Diocese of
Madison Website

Green Bay's Bishop Ricken Rejects Common Core
November 21, 2013 The Compass: Official
Newspaper for the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay,
EXCERPT: I have instructed our diocesan
Department of Education staff, school principals
and school system administrators that they not
“adopt or adapt” the “common core standards,”
but may use them only as a reference to improve
the curriculum we already have. It is my directive
that the schools of the diocese utilize the
diocesan standards previously in place and not
substitute for them with “common core

Common Core Goes Global
November 20,2013  Crisis Magazine
EXCERPT: Some have decried Common Core as
the nationalization of American education. Far
more dangerous, however, is the globalism of
Common Core that demotes American values,
undermines American constitutional principles
and detaches students from their families and
faith. Common Core is simply the newest attempt
in the decades-old battle (Outcome Based
Education, Goals 2000) to impose a U.N. globalist
worldview aimed at “peace,” sustainability and
economic stability at the expense of freedom.

SUNDAY, NOV. 17——An Update—
CUF, St. Gregory VII Chapter, has just learned
that, upon the recommendation of Dr. Kathleen
Cepelka, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, to
the Director of Administrative Services at St. John
the Evangelist Parish (Denise Kasulka) we have
been denied the use of the church hall for our
meeting Sunday, November 17.  Ms. Kasulka
informed the Pastor, Fr. Michael Merkt, who is out
of town at a retreat, of Dr. Cepelka’s decision.  
According to Ms. Kasulka, Fr. Merkt agreed that
we cannot use the church hall.  In a phone
conversation with Dr. Cepelka, she informed Dr.
Szews that the Archbishop’s office supports her
position.  Dr. Cepelka’s reason for opposing our
meeting on church property is that Dr. Duke Pesta
holds an opinion of Common Core State
Standards that is contrary to that of the
Archdiocese.  Consequently, we have changed the
meeting location to the Clarion Hotel Ballroom BC,
5311 S. Howell Ave. (across from Mitchell Field)    
Rosary 1:45 pm, Talk 2:15 pm

Catholic leaders won't allow Common Core critics
to meet on church property
November 13, 2013  EAGNews
EXCERPT: 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.

Common Core is a Curriculum, contrary to
Advocates' Claims
November 19, 2013  Catholic Education Daily
(Cardinal Newman Society)
EXCERPT: In December 2009, the Gates
Foundation also made a grant of $550,844 to
Common Core, Inc.,“to develop K-10 [English
Language Arts] curriculum aligned to the Common
Core standards,” which were still under
development. According to data on the Gates
Foundation website, it appears Common Core,
Inc., was the first organization to receive grant
money, in “2009 and earlier,” specifically to
develop a curriculum based on the standards.

According to Common Core, Inc.’s website, “with
the advent of the Common Core State Standards
in 2010, we decided to begin designing a library of
content-rich, standards-based curriculum
materials. Two months after the standards were
finalized, we released the Common Core
Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts. The
first truly CCSS-based ELA curriculum tool, these
maps (now renamed The Wheatley Portfolio) are
in use by tens of thousands of teachers
St. Gregory VII Chapter
Our Mission: Support, defend and advance the efforts of the teaching Church
May 16, 2015

What Religious Education Textbook
is Your Child Reading?

Margo Szews reviews The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth and
Catholic Essentials -- An Overview of the Faith,
two texts used by
many Milwaukee high school religious education and Confirmation

Her Verdict on
The Catholic Faith Handbook? -- "Death (to the
Faith) by a thousand cuts."
Read Full Review . . .

Her Verdict on Catholic Essentials? -- "Irrevocably damaged"
Read Full Review ...
Off the CUF . . . .
Viewpoints from Milwaukee Catholics
February 24, 2014

A Response (in red) to Reverend Shimek's Defense of
Common Core in the Milwaukee Archdiocese (below):

Catholic Schools Can Make Good Use of the Common Core

When it comes to the Catholic Church’s fundamental mission in
the contemporary world, Catholic schools are essential and not
 (If Catholic schools are truly "essential and not
optional," why do the American bishops spend millions of dollars
each year supporting
anti-Catholic community organizing groups   
rather than investing that money in Catholic schools, especially
inner city Catholic schools?)  
In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,
they are precious jewels that adorn our proud history of
catechesis, social outreach, and fidelity to the Gospel.

[Remember, just a few years ago in "our proud history," some of
these "precious jewels" were aligning their sex-ed programs with
Planned Parenthood in various ways ranging from curriculum to
actual on-premise presentations by Planned Parenthood
personnel. The "Catholic" educators who were running these
schools then are, by and large, the same educators who are
running them now. If it does nothing else, archdiocese
entanglement with Common Core signals to these largely
uncatechised educators that,  just as in the Weakland era, sexual
morality is "optional." See below for details.]

The sterling reputation of our system of schools is due, in large
part, to the fact that Catholic education has always been an
enterprise driven by evangelization rather than separatism from
[Catholic education has been driven neither by
evangelization nor separatism. If it has been driven by
evangelization, perhaps Father Shimek could explain why,
according to
Pew Research , "one-in-ten American adults (10.1%)
have left the Catholic Church after having been raised Catholic,
while only 2.6% of adults have become Catholic after having been
raised something other than Catholic."?  Clearly, Catholic
education, in its totality, has been an abject failure for the last fifty
years. Moreover, the Pew research found that "one-quarter of
lifelong Catholics say they attended Catholic high school . . .,
roughly similar to former Catholics who have become unaffiliated
(20%)." (Note: "Unaffiliated" means no relationship with any
church.) So much for the great evangelization value of organized
Catholic education.]
 In the public square, Catholic schools
present a unique and indispensable contribution: A seamless and
systematic blend of both intellectual and spiritual formation.  
(Sadly, given the above statistics, this kind of hyperbole becomes
almost laughable.)

Parents, parishes, and educators invest in Catholic education —
often at great sacrifice — because they understand that
intellectual instruction and spiritual development go hand in hand.
[This is just a personal observation, but it seems to me that the
vast majority of the many CINO (Catholic in Name Only) parents
who send their children to Catholic schools do so because of the
complete chaos of the public schools rather than the sterling
"spiritual development" offered by Catholic schools. And the only
alternative to archdiocese Catholic schools for authentic Catholics
who are not independently wealthy is home-schooling.]
  It is
never possible to promote one at the expense of the other.  Ours
is a comprehensive approach to learning, based on the
fundamental conviction that faith and reason are equal
interrelated parts of what it means to be authentically human,
educated, and mature.

Today, Catholic school parents expect academic excellence that
consistently surpasses public competition, and they have good
reason to do so.  Our outstanding level of achievement reflects
the fact that the Archdiocesan system of Catholic schools is
organized around two principles: joint cooperation and local
(Joint cooperation with whom? Certainly not
parents.  I don't know a single Catholic parent who was aware
that the archdiocese schools were contemplating "alignment to"
and "measurement by" Common Core Standards until after the
commitment was announced.  The diocese has attempted to
suppress the exchange of information, and on at least three
occasions, diocese officials have declined when offered the
chance to appear in public forums with opponents of Common
Core. I'll leave it to you to interpret what that means.)

The Archdiocese articulates a unifying Catholic vision that allows
for healthy diversity.
(Excuse me, but "diversity" has become a
modern code word for syncretism, and putting "healthy" in front of
it doesn't change its connotation for the hundreds of uncatechised
educators in our Catholic schools.)
 It identifies exit expectations
and curriculum that prescribe what students should know and be
able to do at each grade level. Each school decides for itself,
however, how to design instruction to meet those learning goals.  
In other words, the Archdiocese sets common learning standards
and curriculum, whereas principals and teachers determine their
own school’s instructional methods and resources.
(Thank God
for the last clause, because there are still
a few Catholic schools
with well catechised teachers.)

The Archdiocesan exit expectations and curriculum have always
been developed in conversation with the work being done by
other experts, scholars, and colleagues in the field of education.  
Since 2007, the National Governors Association and the Council
of Chief State School Officers have been developing a set of
Common Core State Standards.  Parents, teachers, and various
professionals all weighed in on that process.  
(The backhanded
nature of the way these standards were developed and approved
has been extremely
well documented.  And why did Drs. Stotsky
and Milgram, the only two content experts on the Common Core
Validation Committee, refuse to sign the final CC document?)
a result, these bi-partisan benchmarks in Math and Language Arts
create new high-quality academic expectations that are evidence-
[Where to begin? Listen to the testimony of Dr. Stotsky
concerning "quality" and "evidence."  Read the evidence-free

of the arrogant Dr. Tony Evers concerning Common
Core. I haven't seen a single statement by Dr. Evers or the
archdiocese that credibly demonstrates the "evidence," or that
directly refutes the testimonies of Drs. Stotsky and Milgram.  
Further, the Republicans who have signed onto Common Core
Standards have been hoodwinked, except in the case of  Luther
Olsen, the Republican driving force, who has a clear
conflict of
interest. Common Core may be minimally bi-partisan in a political
sense, but it is not bi-partisan in the moral sense of good vs. evil.  
Here and here and here.)

They are designed to be relevant to the real world, focusing on
the knowledge and skills that our students will need to succeed in
college.  They are also intended to address America’s
international academic standing and our students’ place in a
globalized workforce.
(Please, please watch the EWTN interview
with Mary Jo Anderson to understand the totally unCatholic "man
as widget" worldview from which the Common Core Standards
have arisen.)

The standards have been endorsed by the National Catholic
Education Association.  
 (The same NCEA that included
numerous very
un-Catholic books books in its list of approved
Common Core exemplars.)
  Roughly 100 Catholic dioceses and
35 states are making use of them in some way.  
(Yes, and 132
Catholic scholars have signed a
letter to the American bishops
detailing the enormity of the mistake the bishops have made in
endorsing Common Core.)
 The Iowa Basics, ACT, SAT, and
other standardized tests are being realigned to correspond to
(Great! If Iowa Basics, ACT, and SAT were realigned to
test skills in devil worship, would it be right for Catholic schools to
endorse the good aspects of "Satan Core"?)
 In the private sector,
many Catholic and other independent schools across the country
are thus utilizing the Common Core Standards both voluntarily
and selectively, with no state or federal strings attached.
(In the
case of Catholic schools, that "voluntary" utilization has been
influenced by the advice of the National Catholic Educational
Association, which accepted a
$100,000 gift from Bill Gates and
also gets generous
contributions from the big book companies.
Also, Catholic schools are privy to a variety of state goodies such
as vouchers which are at risk if they don't toe the line.)

Curriculum committees comprised of educators from our Catholic
elementary and secondary schools, as well as our Catholic
colleges and universities, wrote the Mathematics and Language
Arts curriculum for the schools in the Archdiocese.  They
compared our exit expectations with the Common Core
Standards, making sure that our students will continue to be held
to a superior academic standard that incorporates the best of both
systems.  In the many areas where we already surpass the
standards we will continue to do so.  But in some areas, where
the standards actually introduce a higher level of academic
expectation, we will rise to the challenge.  In other words, we are
using the Common Core Standards as a floor rather than a
(I would certainly agree that Common Core represents the
bottom floor of standards, both educationally and morally.)

Using these standards in such a selective and limited way means
that they will in no way detract from the Catholic identity of our
schools.  After all, they are not having any impact whatsoever on
the substantial majority of the subject matters we teach.  And
where they are relevant, their integration into our exit expectations
is directly managed by the Archdiocese, making sure that nothing
unacceptable is embedded in them.  Moreover, there is a big
difference between standards and a curriculum.
(The last
sentence contains the most misleading ten words in Father
Shimek's statement. What ever happened to common sense?
Standards inevitably
drive curriculum.  Period. And if they don't,
they are functionally useless.)

At the local level, principals, teachers, and families make
decisions about how to meet these newly integrated exit
expectations.  The standards are the destination, so to speak, but
there are many good paths open to our educators.  In view of their
trustworthiness, proximity, and hands-on experience, it is only
right that they should be the ones to freely teach curricula, decide
what books and materials to use, choose instructional methods,
plan their lessons, select modes of evaluation, and so on.
the above comment about the Weakland era. Does Father
Shimek believe that the grim reaper has taken all the Catholic
educators who, in the words of one national pundit, have made
Milwaukee a "Catholic wasteland"?)

Now, we live in an increasingly secular society that is indifferent,
if not hostile, to the spiritual aspects of reality.  Our First
Amendment may enshrine the universal human right to religious
liberty, but more and more, our government threatens the
Church's autonomy, freedom of conscience, and any role
whatsoever for religion in the public square.  Nevertheless,
isolationism is never an orthodox option.
(This represents a false
choice if there ever was one. There is nothing more hostile to "the
spiritual aspects of reality" than Common Core.)

Indeed, we must remain both active and vigilant when it comes to
public policy, asserting our legitimate independence and
defending our Catholic identity.  However, we cannot be so proud
as to imagine that we have nothing whatsoever to learn from
those with whom we may disagree on some matters.  Our careful
and controlled integration of these standards reflects the fact that,
when it comes to the Common Core as a whole, we are picking
out whatever is valuable and leaving aside the rest.  That is
prudence, not compromise.
[This is the latest version of the old
"Jesus ate with sinners" argument.  Jesus did indeed eat with
sinners, but the net impact of those meals was not to lend
credibility to the sinners' sinful worldviews. And in the end, the
whole Common Core debate is about
worldview. The total lack
of critical analysis of Common Core in both Archbishop Listecki's
and Father Shimek's statements (except for the vague comment
about disagreement "on some matters") can only be interpreted
by "low information" Catholics, especially the poorly catechised
educators, as
endorsement. Bottom line, the archdiocese should
be preparing the faithful for the coming, all-out persecution of
authentic Catholics, not endorsing the societal movements and
organizations that will be doing the persecuting.]

Radical rejection of the world, simply because it is not yet
Christian, is the antithesis to evangelization and to the very
missionary nature of the Church herself.  Good Christians bring
the light of Christ to all the pathways of this present life.  That is
why, down through the ages, the saints have never been extreme
separationists; they’ve been good citizens, evangelists, and most
importantly, fine teachers.
(The saints have never been
separationists from the world? What about Saints Thomas More
and John Fisher? Seems to me they separated pretty totally and
radically from Henry VIII's world . . . for the same reason the
Milwaukee Archdiocese should be separating itself totally and
radically from the world envisioned by Common Core.)

Rev. Joseph J. Shimek, S.T.L., J.D. works in the Office of
Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki.

Join us on Sunday evening,
October 14, 2018 for our
Monsignor Popek Award
Dinner honoring Reverend
John Belmonte, S.J.
See Events Page for Details
September 16, 2018 Dr. Pesta Chapter Meeting
Dr. Pesta sends his apologies.