"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Amo, amas, amat: time to return to classical education

This is from awhile ago, but Stanley Fish, an old-fashioned liberal, writes in favor of a return to the rigorous classical approach to education in this story from the New York Times: A Classical Education: Back to the Future. As Fish points out, classical education provides students with a wider vision of the world than what most public school students are exposed to in the politically correct, test-obsessed, mindless droning of the modern education establishment:
Classical High School (in Providence, RI) is the best and most demanding educational institution I have ever been associated with. The name tells the story. When I attended, offerings and requirements included four years of Latin, three years of French, two years of German, physics, chemistry, biology, algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry, English, history, civics, in addition to extra-curricular activities, and clubs — French Club, Latin Club, German Club, Science Club, among many others. A student body made up of the children of immigrants or first generation Americans; many, like me, the first in their families to finish high school. Nearly a 100 percent college attendance rate. A yearbook that featured student translations from Virgil and original poems in Latin.
Notice the focus not only on Latin, but on modern languages, the sciences & the humanities. That's a well-rounded education for a young person. Personally, I'd drop French off the curriculum and replace it with a more practical and beautiful language -- Spanish! -- but the basic program is spot on. And why is this classical model so good at educating folks? The focus on rhetoric, logic and grammar, as Fish explains in the article.

2 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Stanley Fish, an old-fashioned liberal


I miss liberals. Now all we have are leftists.

Mark DeForrest said...

The culture and the polity was better when there were more authentic liberals and far fewer Leftists on that side of the fence. There was enough remnant of classical liberalism in the older style left-liberalism for it to have respect for mediating institutions, tradition and the mystic cords of memory.