Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why America’s Kids Need To Learn From the Founders via “Classical Schooling”

I have a personal post up advocating for a classical education. Link below:
The numbers are in: Parents are fed up with failing government-run schools.

From 2012 to 2022, the share of American children not attending government-run schools rose from 9% to 13%.

That’s roughly 2 million students opting into charter schools, homeschooling or other school options.

For advocates of education freedom, this sea change comes as no surprise.

The steady wave of school-choice policies enacted throughout the United States in recent years created more options for students, and the eye-opening revelations that came along with COVID school lockdowns encouraged parents to take advantage of them.

This same dynamic sparked the development of new types of education, including the resurrection of an old and forgotten approach that made America great—and possible—in the first place: classical schooling.

What is a classical education?

There are nearly as many definitions of it as new classical schools, but one answer is that it introduces students to the tradition of Western thought and literature, as far back as ancient Athens and Jerusalem, and anchors them in the true, the good and the beautiful.

It’s the type of education that America’s founding generations received.

George Washington’s favorite play was about the Roman senator Cato.

John Adams was a devoted student of Cicero.

James Madison’s essays in the Federalist Papers are replete with the case studies of ancient Greece and Rome drawn from classical histories.

When writing about the Declaration of Independence later in life, Jefferson famously described it as “an expression of the American mind,” which drew from—among other sources—“elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney Etc.”

Today, the fact that most people, including many of society’s so-called elite, have no familiarity with these sources should be troubling.

Untethered from the intergenerational wisdom that was one of the key ingredients of our founding, we are floating further and further away from the vision they cast for our future—without even knowing it.

Indeed, the same people who defend “democracy” the most fervently are often the ones most actively undermining our Founders’ idea of it.

For a country based on the principle of government by the people, this is simply unacceptable.

You can’t love what you don’t know—and a republic whose citizens do not adequately understand the responsibilities they’ve been entrusted with certainly won’t last.

Sadly, that seems to be what many of today’s educators, bureaucrats and politicians want.

They aren’t simply failing to teach civics adequately; they are wholly focused on telling students in government schools that the country they live in, along with its Declaration of Independence and Constitution, are fundamentally racist and evil.

Is it any wonder a recent survey found some 70% of registered voters would fail a basic literacy quiz and a mere 25% consider themselves “very confident” in explaining how our government works?

Americans are fed up, and they’re taking action.

From 2019 to 2023, more than 264 new classical schools were founded, and existing ones saw enrollments surge.

Per a market analysis by Arcadia Education, 677,500 students are enrolled in classical schools this year. But by 2035, that number is expected to more than double to 1.4 million.

Contrary to the insanity that we see on TV, college campuses and from politicians in Washington, most Americans still love this country.

They’re proud of our heritage, and they want to pass on that patriotism to the next generation.

Today, the signs of American decline are all around us: a failing economy, rampant lawlessness, the degradation of education and public virtue.

But we should not accept collapse as an inevitability.

Classical education gives us the chance to rekindle the flame of the West before it goes out.

If we fail, then the great nation our Founders created will surely collapse.

But if we’re successful, we can raise our children and grandchildren to be a new generation of “Founders.”

To have a future, we need to start learning from our past.


Universities Are Morally and Intellectually Destructive

Dennis Prager

All my adult life, I have warned people about the low moral and intellectual level of colleges and universities. This is the way I have put it: “If you send your child to college, you are playing Russian Roulette with his or her values.”

I have always made it clear that for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and a few other specialized subjects, there may be no choice. You can’t learn those subjects on your own.

But parents take serious risks when they send their child to college.

One reason is that the ages between 18 and 22, when the vast majority of young people attend college, are the years when people are easiest to influence.

We tend to believe that the best time to influence children is when they are very young. That is sometimes true. It was certainly true in the past when people matured at a much younger age, few people attended college, and colleges had not been taken over by nihilists.

But today, many young people remain children until their 30s, and many attend college, the center of immoral ideas in America.

What we are seeing now at American, British, and other Western universities, especially the most prestigious ones, is support for evil and disdain for good. Pro-Hamas, Israel-hating students take over campuses, stage walkouts during commencement exercises, and are supported by large numbers of faculty members on their campuses. In other words, many students and professors support Iranian and Palestinian calls to exterminate Israel and the Jews who live there.

None of this is surprising. Universities have been morally and intellectually damaging for more than 50 years. How many young people return home after four years at college (let alone additional years in graduate school) a finer, kinder, more moral, or intellectually more developed person? Let’s just say it’s rare. I have never met one.

I have however met and heard about many young people who return home from college angrier, unhappier, less decent, and far more morally confused. The number of college-educated young people who have been brainwashed into having contempt for their parents, their religion, and their country is incalculable.

Last week, the New York Post reported on a young woman named Lily Greenberg-Call, a special assistant to the chief of staff in the Interior Department, who quit her position because the American government is too pro-Israel.

As the Post reported, Greenberg-Call “went out with a bang Wednesday with a red-hot resignation letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. ‘I can no longer in good conscience continue to represent this administration amidst President [Joe] Biden’s disastrous continued support for Israel’s genocide,’ wrote Greenberg-Call, 26, who additionally condemned Israel’s ‘violations of international law’ perpetrated with ‘American weapons.'”

I relate this story because Greenberg-Call is a perfect example of what college can do to a young person’s heart, mind, and conscience.

The article noted that “ironically, while in high school at the ritzy, near-$40,000 a year San Diego Jewish Academy, Greenberg-Call was a staunch Israel advocate, and once reportedly served as president of her high school’s Israel advocacy club. Her views began to shift after going to college at Berkeley, meeting ‘Palestinian-Americans at school’ and entering Democratic politics, according to an essay she wrote in May 2022 for Teen Vogue.”

In other words, her Jewish upbringing, expensive education at a Jewish school, and leadership in pro-Israel activities proved useless when confronted with Berkeley, where she learned that Israel is evil.

Nineteen years ago, when the Los Angeles Times was still publishing conservatives, I wrote a column about antisemitism at American universities. I told the following story:

Not long ago, on my radio show, I invited a UCLA student who, on the occasion of Israel’s birthday, had written a hate-filled article about the Jewish state in the Bruin, the school newspaper. I asked her if she had always been anti-Israel. She said that as a Jewish girl growing up in Britain, she was actually a Zionist who had visited Israel a number of times on Jewish student trips there.

‘What changed you?’ I asked.

‘The university,’ she responded.


Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case Challenging School District Policy Hiding Students’ ‘Gender Identity’ From Parents

The Supreme Court declined Monday to consider a case challenging a Maryland school district policy that hides information from parents about their child’s “gender identity.”

Under the Montgomery County Board of Education’s guidelines, parents deemed “unsupportive” will not be told if their child is undergoing a “gender transition” at school, according to court filings. The justices declined to hear an appeal by three parents who challenged the plan, leaving in place a lower court ruling that found they did not have standing to challenge the policy.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last August that the parents did not have standing because their own children were not undergoing or considering a gender transition.

“Absent an injury that creates standing, federal courts lack the power to address the parents’ objections to the Guidelines,” the majority held. “That does not mean their objections are invalid.”

Judge Paul Niemeyer, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, wrote in a dissent that the majority’s decision was “unnecessarily subjecting the Parents by default to a mandatory policy that pulls the discussion of gender issues from the family circle to the public schools without any avenue of redress by the Parents,” adding:

The majority’s conclusion is, in the circumstances of this case, an unfortunate abdication of judicial duty with respect to a very important constitutional issue that is directly harming and will likely continue to harm the Parents in this case by usurping their constitutionally protected role.

The parents told the Supreme Court in their November petition that the issue was “not going away.”

“Schools across the country over the past few years have adopted policies similar to that involved here that require school personnel to hide from parents—lying, if need be—that the school is assisting their child to transition gender at school,” they wrote




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