Statement on Common Core


The Diocese of Savannah Office of Catholic Schools’ (OCS) policy for curriculum review requires the review of one content area each year.  In Fall, 2011, the OCS partnered with the University of Notre Dame ACE Collaborative to help facilitate the curriculum review process.  Historically, in reviewing each content area, the review team takes into consideration both state and national standards when revising our own unique diocesan curriculum.  As a non-public school system, we have the ability to customize the diocesan curriculum to establish goals for all of our students, developing a program with high expectations in spirituality and academics.  In doing so, we are obligated to consider the good for our diocesan schools, collectively, particularly those schools located in rural areas whose students do not have the opportunity to attend a Catholic high school.  It is our duty to ensure that we have equipped every student with the tools for success in the secondary school of their choice or that is available to them;  hence, our consideration of state standards (Georgia Performance Standards). 

Nationally, as the Common Core curriculum surfaces as a rigorous model focused on increasing critical thinking skills and is capturing the attention of national standard organizations such as the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council for Teachers of English, both of which publish the national standards for curriculum in Math and Language Arts, respectively, we owe it to our students to consider the benefits that the Common Core model encompasses, but we are not obligated in any way to adopt Common Core in its entirety.  We must also keep in mind that as the popularity of Common Core increases, it will, in turn, influence the publication of teacher and classroom resources, including textbook materials and revised versions of the standardized assessments including the SAT.  If we dismiss the idea of Common Core, we may also be creating a disadvantage for our students who will use the same resources and take the same SAT developed with the Common Core in mind.

The Office of Catholic Schools (OCS) is aware of the negativity aimed at the Common Core curriculum movement, in particular, its link to federal grants for states that adopt the program.  Again, as a non-public school system, we are not bound by those same terms.  A September 22, 2013 article in America Magazine states,

"Catholic schools, of course, do not have to adopt the standards, and whether a school does so is up to each diocese. It actually doesn’t make sense to speak of ‘adopt,’ because Catholic schools are not going to apply these standards whole cloth.  They will tweak and refine them in accord with the unique mission of a Catholic school.  Moreover, as Catholic schools consider adapting the CCSS, they can draw upon the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative, a project out of the Loyola University Chicago that is working to infuse elements of Catholic identity into the CCSS."

The Office of Catholic Schools (OCS) encourages parents and other members of school communities to do their own homework.  To date, Common Core standards have only been developed in the content areas of Math and Language Arts.  You can find more information on the standards at

For the Catholic perspective on Common Core, please visit the official website of the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative at and the National Catholic Educational Association’s website, for their position statement the Common Core State Standards.

Michelle C. Kroll

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

The schools in the Diocese of Savannah are members of the National Catholic Education Association and are accredited by AdvancEd (SACS).

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