An important distinction noted at the CIRCE conference, from Andrew Kern: Classical education is NOT the same as the traditional education of the 19th century one-room school house. Here is an overview of the history of American Education:
Colonial era-1810. Classical Christian Education.
1810-1890. Traditional Education. Or, more technically, “secular democratic education.” Retained the classical emphasis on content and a broad curriculum, but, in reaction against “European” elements, moved away from classical subjects. The classical emphasis on “community” was replaced by an emphasis on “society” (see the difference?). Theologically, love of neighbor was replaced by love of country. Education became compulsory, shifting the authority in educational matters from the parents to the state. Secular democratic education was also utopian (“Protestantism without faith”), Hegelian (history seen as a progression culminating in today), and Prussian (drawing on that militaristic state’s innovations in regulation).
1910-today. Conventional Progressive Education.
Many people on all sides of the education debates today confuse classical education with traditional education. Some are saying that to get back to classical education, we may need to go through traditional education first. But the two seem so different, especially since the classical goal was to form free citizens, as opposed to controlled citizens.