Huber issued a prophetic challenge to the attendees: “Where are our men? Are we resolved to be a culture of “men without chests” as C.S. Lewis described?”
Why, one might ask, did Huber issue such a challenge?
As a father, as an American and as a Catholic, I, too, am impelled to fight the Common Core and other collectivist education initiatives. Two overarching issues drive this fight.
One is who should direct education policy. And the other is what should children be taught.
With regard to public education, should it be the federal government (and the powerful special interests that hold sway over its policies) that uses carrots and sticks to exert control over state government? Or should it be state and local government responding to the citizens and pushing back against federal intrusion?
With regard to Catholic education, should it be the same special interests that have induced the diocesan superintendents to follow the public school fads and who, in diocese after diocese, stand as the education gatekeeper to the bishop—effectively putting themselves in the role of judge and jury over their own decisions?
With regard to education content, one issue is whether we will stand for a dumbed-down education to be pushed into our schools. The anchor of the effort is the set K-12 of Common Core standards in math and “English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.” In brief, Common Core math standards leave American students at least two years behind their counterparts in the highest-achieving nations by 8th grade and in high school advance students only to an incomplete algebra 2 course with no pathway to pre-calculus or calculus; they leave children unprepared for studies in science, technology, engineering, and math. With respect to English language arts, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, perhaps this country’s most respected authority on English standards, criticizes the Common Core as “empty skill sets . . . [that] weaken the basis of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework.”
There’s much more to be said on content.
For example, prominent child psychiatrists and psychologists have heavily criticized the standards as being age-inappropriate for young children. And many of those who orchestrated the Common Core are now involved in efforts to align science and social studies to it and to radically change American history courses.
There’s also the widespread use, at great costs, of public school textbooks in Catholic schools. Through the use of those textbooks, we forfeit opportunities to fully teach the Church’s impact on the course of history and to describe the Church itself. We miss out on chances for children to learn about man’s great moral dilemmas through the study of imaginative, narrative literature. We devalue the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of American history and the natural law foundation of our country.
At that brings us back to Huber’s call.
In state after state, in diocese after diocese and in school after school all across the country, the truth is that –with a few exceptions—it is women who have been waging this fight. It is an extraordinary and inspirational fight.
They have taken on the elitists, in both parties, entrenched civil and diocesan bureaucracies, a $600 billion education-industrial complex, a heavily biased mainstream media, and the private philanthropies that are the cause of it all and that have poured $100s of millions into the effort.
And they are winning. Five states have passed Common Core exit or review legislation. Several governors have called on their legislators to withdraw from the Common Core, several dioceses have exited or banned the Common Core and grassroots movements to excise the Common Core from public and Catholic schools are gaining strength across the country. Independent Catholic schools are being formed across the country, and Catholic homeschooling is increasing in popularity.
But men have been largely absent from the fight.
The women are left to fight it, and in the process have been the butt of callous and spiteful treatment by Catholic administrators, civil servants, and elected officials. In Huber’s words, “Your wives and children are suffering in your absence, as is your Church and country. Godly men must act as the hedge of protection.”
So, going forward, will men step up to fight for their right to shepherd their children’s upbringing? To fight for the Church? To insist on a full and accurate teaching of their country’s history? And will they defend their wives, mothers, and friends who have suffered the burden of this fight and the scorn and contempt of the elitists?
It’s time for men to rise up and fight for their children’s future, and for the future of our nation and our Church.
Emmett McGroarty is director of American Principles Project Education. He leads its initiative to defend parental rights and to fight attempts to exclude parents from having a say in what their children learn and who teaches it to them. He co-authored “Controlling Education from the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America.”