Most public school kids are poor

Over half of the students in America’s public schools–51% overall, but in many states the number is much higher–are from families below the poverty line.

Some will say that this is because the middle class has abandoned public education, what with homeschooling, parochial and other Christian schools, and other private institutions.  But why are so many middle class families not sending their children to public schools anymore?  What could public schools do to bring them back? [Read more...]

Claiming religious exemption without the religion

The National Labor Relations Board has said that colleges, in general, must allow professors to join a union.  To objections by church-related institutions, the board said that religious institutions may be exempt only if its professors actively promote and carry out a distinctly religious mission.  If the professors in a church-related institution do NOT carry out that mission–as many church-related but only nominally Christian institutions make a point of saying–then they can not claim a religious exemption.   This poses a problem for the host of church schools that have gone secular, but it strengthens the position of theologically conservative schools.  Mark Bauerlein explains. . . [Read more...]

Free community college?

President Obama wants to provide two free years of community college to all Americans, at the government’s expense.  Do you think this would be a good idea or a bad idea?  (My view after the jump.) [Read more...]

The effect of the liberal arts in Hong Kong

Progressive education, which tries to reduce everything to a narrow academic specialty, thinks “liberal arts” means “humanities.”  But in reality, the classical liberal arts refers to a whole approach to education– one that is broad rather than narrow, connected rather than fragmented, open to the past rather than favoring whatever is new, etc., etc.

It’s called “liberal” from the Latin word for “freedom.”  It goes back to the distinction in ancient Greece and Rome between the “servile” education given to slaves (nothing more than training for a job) and the “liberal” education given to free citizens of the Greek democracy and the Roman Republic–one that required the cultivation of the intellect and other human powers, as well as knowledge of the cultural heritage that must be transmitted to the new generation.  (I argue that much of “progressive education” is a revival of “servile education.”)  Interestingly, when Melanchthon and other Reformers opened schools to teach the masses how to read the Bible, they instituted a liberal arts curriculum, an education for freedom.

The British have done much with liberal education, and the schools they started throughout the British empire tended to follow this approach.  Today, the still-Communist Chinese are blaming  the liberal arts curriculum in the schools of Hong Kong for the pro-freedom movement currently roiling that city, with the protests generally led by liberal arts students.  The movement is being called “scholarism.”  In the mean time, the Chinese government wants to impose a pro-government purely economic curriculum. Sound familiar? [Read more...]

Stephen Colbert on Common Core math

The Washington Post had a feature story about the difficulties parents are having in helping their children with their homework, thanks to the new approach to math required by the Common Core educational reforms.  Instead of teaching children to learn to calculate by applying math facts like the multiplication table, the new curriculum rejects memorizatio and nmakes children solve math problems by making charts and diagrams.

The story, worth reading in its entirety, includes a funny story  of a frustrated parent by way of Stephen Colbert.  Read it after the jump, along with my thoughts on the matter. [Read more...]

The University of North Carolina’s “shadow curriculum”

For eighteen years, the University of North Carolina has had a “shadow curriculum” in which students didn’t have to attend classes or do any work, and yet received A’s.  Over three thousand students took advantage of this program, only half of them athletes. [Read more...]


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