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...]

The biggest factor in a child’s educational success

A British study has found that the biggest factor in a child’s educational success is the level of the father’s education.  That is, if the father is well-educated, his children are likely to do well in school.  And the father’s lack of education also manifests itself in his children not doing well.  The mother’s education is a factor, but not nearly as much as the father’s.

Is this just another example of a study proving what is self-evident and obvious?  So that fathers who value education make their kids study?  Or is there more to this correlation?

[Read more...]

A free-market solution to religious bigotry

After telling about some universities that are “derecognizing” Christian organizations, Joe Carter proposes a “free market solution”:  He suggests that Christian students, alumni, and donors  should not “hand over our cash to schools that consider our beliefs so repugnant as to not even be worthy of recognition.” [Read more...]


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