education reform

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

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 to Save the Soul of Our Catholic Schools

“How can we make our school more Catholic?” This is a real question schools ask, some with perplexity. Is it a new curriculum? Better religion classes? Having the kids come to Mass? The answer is vital for the future of Catholic education. The sociologist Christian Smith notes, from his extensive research on the life of [...]

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 [...]

Controlling Thought in French Schools and Beyond

France as a whole—if we can speak that way of a high culture whose chief unity consists in a shared distaste for consensus—has behaved irrationally only in those historic moments when called upon to defend reason. When a true Frenchman has lost an argument on the basis of its merit, his last recourse and gravest [...]

Reform and Renewal Starts with Us

Let's get straight to the point. We no longer live in a culturally Christian state. We do not live in a robust pagan state, such as Rome was during the Pax Romana. We live in a sickly sub-pagan state, or metastate, a monstrous thing, all-meddlesome, all-ambitious. The natural virtues are scorned. Temperance is for prigs, [...]

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 [...]

The Untapped Potential of Catholic Schools Week

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the 41st annual National Catholic Schools Week. Sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association, Catholic Schools Week typically consists of open houses, themed logos, regional “all schools” Masses, and a host of other activities for families and parishes involved with Catholic schools. Harmless enough, right? Fun for students, good for [...]

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 [...]

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

Sometimes the best thing you can do to a school is to raze it. The pipes leak, there's mold in the ceiling panels, rats are nesting behind the wainscot, and a strange black stain has appeared under the basement floor near the oil line. It isn't worth repairing. It might have been worth repairing, if [...]

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