Classical education

A Medieval Remedy for Modernity’s Ills

Show me a Catholic not troubled by the circumstances of these days, and I will show you a Catholic asleep. Society’s woes rock his soul, but the historic perils facing Holy Church do so even more. Not only from outside her walls, but more frighteningly, from within. How are we to keep our spirits from [...]

On Bob Dylan’s Nobel Speech

Plato said that changes in music and sports were also indications in changes in constitutions of polities. Changes in politics are usually also indicative of changes in souls. Music mirrors human souls and the direction they are taking, good or bad. The mind and body may be closest together in music. The notion that we [...]

Catholic Education at a Crossroads

My friend and former colleague Dr. Jared Staudt recently penned an article “How to Save the Soul of Our Catholic Schools” for Crisis Magazine. Dr. Staudt (as I’ll call him here) made a number of sober and valid points about the need to return to a truly Catholic education. Affirming his belief that “[t]he Catholic [...]

How “Educators” Kill Creativity

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on ’t, ah fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. Hamlet, I, ii, 133-8 Recently, a document about education in Australia found its way onto my desk. Hereafter [...]

Hedge Schools and Classical Education in Ireland

The first Tuesday of the first full week in May is National Teacher Day, so this seems an opportune occasion to recall a courageous, but little-known group of teachers and schoolmasters who sacrificed comfort and security for the sake of truth, goodness, and beauty in seventeenth-century Ireland. From very early days, classical education was highly [...]

A Parish School Turns Failure into Success

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
      ∼  John Keats, the opening to Endymion In 1923 Polish immigrants, living in Grand Rapids and earning [...]

Unreal Nation

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of [...]

The Goal of Classical Education is Truth

“The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” Aristotle wrote this in the fourth century B.C. in a text called On the Heavens. Sixteen hundred years later Thomas Aquinas began his treatise On Being and Essence by paraphrasing Aristotle: “Because a small error in the beginning grows enormous at the end.…” [...]

Why Boarding Schools Are Good for Teenage Boys

Teenage boys will not be freed from the bog they are immured in by new-fangled modifications and medications, but by old-fashioned reason and remedies. Boys today suffer from despondency, lack of direction, and a masculine identity crisis, overwhelmed as they are by widespread feminization, relativism, pornography, and cultural collapse. The quandary is rooted in a [...]

Classical Education Can Purge a Multitude of Sins

I was in Oklahoma City last fall, sitting in a restaurant with my host, Father Nathan Carr, an Anglican priest and the principal of The Academy of Classical Christian Studies. That is a new and most heartening educational initiative—a school now comprising three campuses in and near the city. The Academy is the result of [...]

Theology of the Bawdy

In any decent education there should be a place for the indecent. Students should read stories like “The Miller’s Tale,” see plays like Romeo and Juliet, and learn songs like “Drunken Sailor.” The inclusion of low, lewd themes sometimes attracts curiosity and criticism in the realm of classical education, and especially Catholic classical education: How [...]

Back to Schooling

The art of education is under a cloud in this country, largely because it is treated as a science. Schools are not research institutions. They are not data mills. They are conservatories of culture. In the current anti-cultural climate how can teachers, especially Catholic teachers, ensure that students learn the rudiments of culture—and the rudiments [...]

Common Core’s Rotten Core

Despite recent defense rallies by Bill Gates, wars are raging against the embattled Common Core State Standard Initiative, now implemented in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Though criticisms can be leveled at the lack of evidence that the Common Core will lead onward into a brave new world of education, the overarching problem [...]

Read Literature to Learn and Love the Truth

The other night I testified (via telephone) before the Alaska state legislature, on the standards their public schools are adopting for classes in English.  I’d read the standards but didn’t have them in front of me, so I was taken aback when one of the representatives plucked a directive out of all the verbiage and [...]

Quality Education is Not Rocket Science

Every week it seems I receive three or four letters from people who are establishing new schools or reforming old ones.  These letters are most encouraging, and all of the writers, without exception, are dedicated to restoring what is called a “classical” education.  Sometimes that implies the study of the true classics, the literature of [...]

St. John Bosco and the Secret of Education

Despite the implementation of the Common Core, it remains the common conclusion that American education is in a state of free fall. Students graduate from high school with little ability to read standard prose and less ability to write at an elementary level. They lack appreciation for the cultural heritage of Western Civilization and cannot [...]

Common Core Education vs. Classical Education: A Thomistic Approach

 WHETHER COMMON CORE EDUCATION IS CONTRARY TO CLASSICAL EDUCATION Objection 1. It would seem that the Common Core State Standards Initiative is not contrary to classical education. For, as the classical education movement is aimed at broad-based learning, Common Core education provides standards that are broadly applied across the country to prepare students with twenty-first [...]

The Role of the Virtues in Character Education

In Aesop’s fable of the miller, his son, and the donkey, the trio are criticized by passersby as they make their way to town, first for not riding the donkey, then for making the young son walk, then for leaving the elderly father to walk, and then for overburdening the donkey. After each critique, they [...]

Entrusting The Future of the West to Our Children

This essay is adapted from the 2012 Lyceum college preparatory school commencement speech. I am grateful to the founding parents and benefactors of the Lyceum that you have not had to grow up in a cultural wilderness as I did.  Why anyone would be nostalgic for the 70’s I do not know.  To give you [...]

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