Reading About Our Wastelands with Russell Kirk

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Not so much a “book report” here as it is quotations that struck me as I worked through Kirk’s chapter, “Cultivating Educational Wastelands” from his work, The Politics of Prudence

All the normal obvious things have to be said:  Kirk was writing as I was coming into education.  Things have not gotten better.  But Kirk was speaking of those things prudent, not just holding up unreal ideals.  To have something like his vision in front of us as we try to pursue what is best in education is helpful.  I offer these quotes in hopes that you will read his entire essay; it is quite worth it.

“The United States is now the great power in the world.  Nevertheless, who can praise an educational system that turns out young people marvelously ignorant — except for a very small minority — of history, geography, and foreign languages, and so unfitted to have anything to do with concerns larger that those of their own neighborhood.  Worse still, what future have a people whose schooling has enabled them, at best, to ascertain the price of everything — but the value of nothing?” p. 240

“The primary end of the higher learning, in all lands and all times, has been what John Henry Newman called the training of the intellect to form a philosophical habit of mind.” (p. 241)

“The genuine higher education is not meant, really, to ‘create jobs’ or to train technicians.  Incidentally, the higher education does tend to have such results, too; but only as by-products.  We stand in danger of forgetting, during our pursuit of the incidentals, the fundamental aims of learning.

“Why were colleges and universities established, and what remains their most valuable function?  To discipline the mind; to give men and women long views and to instill in them the virtue of prudence; to present a coherent body of ordered knowledge, in several great fields; to pursue that knowledge for its own sake; to help the rising generation to make its way toward wisdom and virtue.” (p. 243)

“The education of yesteryear was founded upon certain postulates.  One of these was that much truth is ascertainable; another, that religious truth is the source of all good; a third, that we may profit by the wisdom of our ancestors; a fourth, that the individual is foolish, but the species is wise; a fifth, that wisdom is sought for its own sake; a sixth, that for the sake of the commonwealth, schooling should quicken the moral imagination.

“These postulates have not ceased to be true; it is only that they have been forgotten in our century’s obsession with power and money, and our century’s illusion that ideology is a ready and satisfactory substitute for thought.” (p. 251)

“Renewal failing, by the conclusion of the twentieth century America may have achieved complete equality in education: everybody compulsorily schooled, and everybody equally ignorant.” (p. 252)

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In continuing to write on this blog, it is my hope and prayer that we together are pursuing something more than ‘power and money,’ but rather wisdom and virtue, the Great Good.

Headed Toward Localization

Perhaps we are seeing a recovery of what it takes to rightly govern, even in our attempts at education.  I have long held that all decisions regarding our children’s education should be made as close to the classroom as possible.  The corporate structure of American education, whether Public, Charter, or Private, has been to move decisions farther out, rather closer to the classroom.  Until now.  I saw the following chart and had hope.  Unions are just one way that collectivism has hurt good education, and allegiance to such is waning.  May it continue.

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Money and Learning – A Disconnect?

The folks over at EAG are keeping me thinking these days, but as I don’t have time to write for free while I try to meet bills by getting paid to write, I will just pass this nugget along to you from them.  They reference in the post where you read the actual study, but they break it down pretty well.

I have been saying all along, it is not how much money you have to educate with, but what you spend it on…

http://eagnews.org/study-no-connection-between-spending-student-outcomes/

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Manuduction, or Leading Students to the Truth

Because I am writing so much elsewhere, I have not had time to compose much here lately.  I will return!  But in the meantime, a fellow at another blog has written some thoughtful things on what he terms “manuduction” or relational teaching.  I hope they set your mind to contemplation as they did mine.

http://christanduniversity.com/2014/02/17/educating-lovers/

http://christanduniversity.com/2014/02/19/relational-teaching/

http://christanduniversity.com/2014/02/25/manuduction-or-leading-students-by-the-hand/

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Stopping By a Speech Meet One Snowy Evening…

Perhaps a combination of laziness and the fact that I am reading more and writing less these days may explain how once again I am choosing to share another’s thoughts rather than my own, but I resemble these remarks anyway…

http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2014/02/saw-high-school-speech-meet/

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