Sunday, March 27, 2011

Education that Makes a Difference

Education matters.  Education that makes a difference is education that understands that truth exists and that it is worthy of pursuit.  Most education in our culture has abandoned the pursuit of truth in favor of the development of skills (Some say this is madness.).   The result is that we have fashioned primary and secondary schools that are more akin to factories than centers of learning.  Development of the intellect is superficial at best.  Purposeful development of the imagination is virtually non-existent (Children are subject to whatever images and stories the commercial world passes before them.).   Their hearts are altogether un-tended.

Friends, a great school exists to provide an education that is thoroughly immersed in truth and aimed at virtue.  It develops a curriculum steeped in the Western intellectual tradition and guided by its timeless mores.  A great school understands what’s at stake: nothing less than the loss of our understanding of liberty and what it means to be human; nothing less than the intellectual and spiritual means to continue to enliven our democratic-republic. 

It is time, before we are unalterably weak, while we remember our past, while some are still friends of truth, to throw-off the yoke of ignorance that comes to us in the guise of skills development.  Our culture is slipping away from us in the name of tolerance, relativity, and skills training.  Let us give our children the opportunity to recapture and live anew the culture we see now only as shades of the past come for a brief visit.  We grow weak as a nation while our skills increase because our character wanes.   Education lived out in the pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful not only develops skills, and deepens understanding, but it also builds character and returns a sense of history and purpose to our culture.

Dear friends, a great school works to renew our culture and change the world by helping students become life-long pursuers of the true, the good, and the beautiful.  In so doing, it provides a curriculum and environment that deepens the intellect, broadens the imagination, and widens the heart.  Simply put, Deeper. Broader. Wider. A great school helps our children deepen their intellects by providing them with a sufficiently rigorous curriculum that expects more from them than has ever been expected before and allowing them the opportunity to engage in conversation about the highest things at the highest levels they can achieve.  A great school helps to broaden the imagination of our children by giving them the opportunity and practice to think and navigate outside the norms while helping them grasp and grapple with the norms themselves.  A great school helps our children see themselves and their world more broadly.  They can solve the greatest of problems because they can imagine that there is a solution and that they can find it. A great school helps to widen the hearts of our children by helping them develop an understanding that they have a gift and that they are responsible to their fellow human beings.  They learn that their hearts must become wide enough to embrace all those who need them.

Friends, A great school must not allow itself to become a fortress of solitude.  Instead, it must embrace the challenge set before it: it cannot stand idly by while our culture slips away.  It must prepare our children to go into the world and stand for all that is true and good and beautiful.