The Death of Truth in Catholic Schools?

sinking_shipIf you think that 3 x 4 = 12, you might want to think again.  With the new Common Core Curriculum Math, 3 x 4 can = 11 or 7 or 235, as long as your child can “show the work to defend their answer.”

But, of course, this is so necessary in today’s dystopian world. You see, if 3 x 4 = 12, that is truth.  And to acknowledge objective truth in this relativistic world in which we live is so very dangerous.  Because if there is truth, then that opens the incredibly dangerous thought that there just might be Truth.  And, of course, Christians know that Truth is not a word. Truth is the Word. Truth is a Person.  Truth is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And, certainly, we can’t have any young, impressionable young mind encountering Him in their educational pursuits.

I cannot help but be reminded of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (“Fair is foul and foul is fair”) or George Orwell’s 1984 (“2 + 2 = 5”). Oh, but don’t worry.  With the Common Core curriculum, the only form of Shakespeare your kids will be reading will be “annotated excerpts” and “condensed versions”.  You see, as we work our way (more quickly every day now) towards Bill and Melinda Gates’ idyllic “iPads for every child” and “textbook-free schools,” all in the name of “technological advancement,” it becomes ever so easy to manipulate words, data and, thus, ultimately, truth.  Step by step, words and data are manipulated, revised, edited and deleted until, one day, we wake up and our kids are being fed an education based on “truths” like 3 x 4 = 11.

Oh wait, that day is here.

Karol Henseler Orsborn


Karol Henseler Orsborn M.D., OCDS is a pediatrician of 20 years, as well as a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. Her husband, Dave, works for St. Gabriel Catholic Radio and they are the parents of three daughters. In December 2012, she felt called to leave the field of Pediatrics, in order to fight attacks upon the family and the parent/child bond becoming especially prevalent in Pediatrics. Additionally, she has a desire to work towards maintaining and restoring Purity and Innocence in Youth, and exposing them to Virtue, Beauty and Truth in their homes, schools and communities.

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  • BillinJax

    Well stated my Dear,

    But I fear much of our society including many Catholics have lost our spiritual and moral hearing

  • JMC

    I think you meant “bearing”? ;D

  • LLC

    I am so mad about Common Core being used in Catholic Schools. I have contacted the superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Hartford (CT), and have received no response. The books that are being recommended for the Catholic schools are definitely not Catholic — books that normalize same-sex marriage for 1st graders, a social action book that references NOW and Planned Parenthood for 4th graders?!? What is going on?!? Why are Catholic schools doing this?

  • Teep

    There are many things to object to about Common Core, not the least of which is the recommended reading list (which Dr. Orsborn gets right, I might add). However, teaching kids how the formal-logical operations of numbers work is not one of them. If you click on the youtube video that Dr. Orsborn imbeds, you see a teacher poorly explaining that the critical element in math is the logic of it, not merely the resultant simplification of 3*4 into 12. It is a fallacy to say that Common Core does not care about getting the right answer, because of course the right answer can only be gotten if the child has learned how the computation functions. The point on focusing on procedure is to root out what steps the child is not understanding. Since not all math computations can be memorized like the multiplication table, children need to know the logical rules and which ones work in which situations and which don’t. This strikes me as one of the better pieces of Common Core. Furthermore, to argue that the CC approach to math somehow implies a rejection of the source of all truth, the truth himself, is itself a logical fallacy, namely that you cannot universalize from the specific. To do so is to equivocate. I understand many objections to Common Core, and don’t disagree with them. This is not a well-reasoned objection.

  • CCG

    At this time when we Catholics…if we are who we are called to be…could “set the world abaze” (with TRUTH!) inexplicably, our educational leaders guiding our Catholic School curriculum choices are embracing Common Core with a full embrace…for the most part without any knowledge or consent of parents.
    We are exchanging the truth for a lie. And like you said, we are exchanging a person, Christ, who is truth, for hype and technology. ..exchanging our birthright for a bowl of porridge.

  • Richard III

    I’m surprised there’s ANY Shakespeare in Common Core. He’s so politically incorrect.
    By today’s PC standards:
    “Macbeth” is “mysogynistic”, “The Merchant of Venice” is “anti-semite”, “Othello” is “Islamophobic”, “Henry V” “glorifies war and violence”, “Richard III” “portrays disabled people in a negative light”, “Romeo and Juliet” “discriminates against alternate forms of romantic love” . . .

  • BillinJax

    That also…..but I did mean hearing. Genesis is full of “God said..” and John opens his gospel with “..and the Word was God”. God calls all of us to the Truth of his Words. We have either stopped listening or have chosen to ignore the sound of his voice.

  • BillinJax

    Comment from a friend who teaches public school in central Florida.

    Our first week of school. We are going by the seat of our
    pants. Common Core was passed in haste and not well thought out except
    for the companies writing books to be purchased next year. Florida
    schools still need to teach to sunshine state standards for the FCAT.
    Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test. So we are at the rock and hard
    place. There isn’t enough money for common core tests to be used until
    schools are retrofitted to comply with computers to test the common
    core. States jumped too fast with this one.

  • JMC

    Put that way, it makes perfect sense. Thanks.

  • Poppiexno

    I understand your point – but at what age? I am not at all familiar with CC but I do have vivid memories of my now 49 year old son being subjected to the then “new math.” It took a long time for him to recover! Is the current CC math yet another example of the education educators endless search for the perfect way to teach math?

  • Columbus Fatima

    Yes, the Common Core Reading lists have more than problems —- the intent is to strip any sense of morality out of young kids by promoting “all religions are different paths to the same end” and moral relativism (what is right for me is not necessarily what is right for you — who am I to judge?) A lot of this segues out of the whole “self esteem” movement’s rallying cry of “you can do whatever you set your mind to!” I grew up acquiring this philosophy from 12 years of “Catholic” school, so I recognize it very well. And, as noted at the Blaze today, there are definitely much more sinister plans for our kids afoot with this curriculum —

  • Teep

    Ah, “New Math.” The answer is no, this is not new math. The point is to let teachers teach math operations the way they know how to teach them, but also allow for students who need to think through math problems via different models. The solution to 2*3 is 6, but how to show how to get there? two groups of three apples? three groups of two apples? 2+2+2? The point is make as many contacts as possible for a class and get students to see that these means of getting to the solution are functionally the same. If a student doesn’t think through the problem the same way a teacher does on the board, the job is to show how the student’s method is not wrong. If the solution is correct, then the teacher’s focus should be on showing how his or her method and the student’s method correspond.
    You’re question of “at what age” implies that younger children are not yet as capable of seeing other people’s ways of thinking through the same problem and arriving at the same solution. If this is true, then how is forcing only one means of solving a math problem on any student a good teaching method? There isn’t any moral difference between using 2+2+2 versus grouping sets of objects in order to teach multiplication, and so why not try and figure out what makes sense most easily to a child first, and then later show them different ways of doing the operation? I think just about any child can come to understand that how to get a math problem correct does not carry the same moral weight as calling a brother or sister a name. There is no Orwellian insistence that 11 is even or that there are no prime numbers here. This is the opposite of that; it’s the attempt to get students interested in Math and Science because the teacher is capable of accepting legitimate kinds of operations that makes sense to the student. (Now, this does not mean that there aren’t 1984-esque issues with the suggested reading list for English, but that’s a separate issue.)

  • JMC

    Though it is true that many students can’t work through math problems the same way the teacher does – I remember “reasoning” through algebra problems in high school because I couldn’t factor my way out of a paper bag – the way to increase interest in science and math is much simpler than exploring new methods of teaching. Too many schools have “dumbed down” the curriculum to the point that students are simply bored. I know parents who pulled their kids out of school and undertook to home-school them, not because of any moral objections to what they were being taught, but because teachers were complaining that their kids were being nuisances – simply for asking questions that were deeper than the curriculum, or sometimes the teacher, thought a kid that age should be asking. It’s an issue as old as school itself; I was one of those “nuisance” kids back in late 1950s and early ’60s. I remember one teacher telling me to sit down and shut up when I questioned some issue or other – I don’t remember what – with an insight that a kid that age wasn’t generally thought to be capable of. We need to forget about the “least-common-denominator” mentality and teach just a little above the average. Kids like a challenge; if a subject isn’t challenging enough, they get bored, and when they get bored, they quit paying attention. QED.

  • Poppiexno

    Surely you don’t mean that a 2nd grader has the same cognitive ability as a 12th grader (well on second thought, maybe some 12th graders do have the same ability as a 2nd grader – just joking). I’m all for seeking alternative ways of communicating – but I repeat – age appropriate.
    When a small child on a long trip keeps asking , “Are we there yet?” The child is not being obnoxious; she simply does not comprehend long distance. Are you going to take out your Rand McNally or GPS and explain that at an average speed of 60mph it will take another 2hrs? 60mph? Map? GPS? 2hrs?
    I think that in general, morality is not as much an issue here as pedagogical good and bad (or perhaps a better way of saying it – successful/unsuccessful) Nevertheless, St. Paul’s comment, “When I was a child…” comes to mind. Back to age appropriate. I think Piaget had it pretty much right.

  • James Stagg

    Dear Dr. Osborne,

    I contacted the school at which my great grandson attends, St. Mary’s in Paris, IL. They returned two documents to me which I have referenced below:


    I attempted to contact you directly, but have found no email address, so I am left with this awkward approach. Please consider what is said in these documents, including original work begun on Common Core in 2007, two years before the present administration was in office.

    I would appreciate an answer by whatever means you can deliver it. Perhaps a follow-up article on Catholic Exchange would be appropriate.

    Thank you!

    Deacon James Stagg
    Newnan, GA