Saturday, June 29, 2013

FW: Classical education in the news

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Feed: Cranach
Posted on: Friday, June 28, 2013 3:25 AM
Author: Gene Veith
Subject: Classical education in the news


Nice sympathetic piece at the CNN education blog about the Classical Christian education movement.  From Julia Duin: In Maryland, a group of students ponder which depiction of the Nativity shows true beauty: A 14th-century Giotto, a 16th-century Barocci or a 20th-century William Congdon. The students are in seventh grade. Outside Houston, second-graders learn Latin amid [Read More...]

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FW: The Humanities in a Digital Age: Online Higher Education



Feed: The Imaginative Conservative
Posted on: Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:03 PM
Author: Daniel McInerny
Subject: The Humanities in a Digital Age: Online Higher Education


online higher education

Raphael's School of Athens

by Daniel McInerny

The humanities in American higher education are in deep crisis, and the cry of alarm released on June 18 by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences will probably contribute little to a renaissance.

How deep is the crisis? Here a few warning signals. According to the New York Times, a recent report shows that only 20% of undergraduates at Harvard now major in the humanities. And in another report showing statistics for 2010, only 7.6 percent of bachelor's degrees nationwide were awarded in the humanities.

The Times recalls for us, too, that last fall a task force organized by Florida governor Rick Scott caused a national outcry when it recommended that state universities charge higher tuition to students majoring in fields—like anthropology or English—less likely to lead to jobs.

As a former academic, I can add my own first-hand experience of the declining role of the humanities in American higher education. Many students simply don't see the need for a course in philosophy (my former field) when all they really want to do is get on with their major and get out into the workforce.

The humanities themselves, as they are generally practiced throughout academia, surely deserve the lion's share of the blame for the crisis. For decades now they have failed to make a compelling case for their centrality to a happy and productive life. They have indulged a passion for skepticism, materialism, nihilism, and one or two other noxious isms that one can find catalogued and critiqued in Blessed Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Fides et Ratio, and in so doing they have, perhaps unwittingly, consigned themselves to irrelevance.

So what's going to happen to the humanities in our culture? Will they simply continue their free fall into obsolescence?

If I may play futurist for a moment, I'd like to offer a conjecture or two.

First, those institutions sufficiently self-possessed to continue to offer a curriculum unabashedly centered on the Western tradition of the humanities—that is, an integrated curriculum focused on the search for a truth not reducible to human choice or cultural convention—will, by and large, continue to survive and perhaps even flourish. I believe that those Catholic institutions eager to play the role of happy culture warrior will tend to do best of all, as their understanding of the humanities is the richest and most intellectually coherent. But more and more these institutions will become outliers, though bravery grounded in truth will always inspire a following.

Second, students at mainstream secular institutions, or at religious institutions aping whom they mistakenly take to be their betters, will continue to drift away from the humanities and into more "job friendly" lines of study, or away from academia altogether. Undergraduate education in the United States will become, even more than it is today, elaborate and rather expensive job training. And it will begin to dawn on more and more students, as it has already begun to do, that one can bootstrap a career or business without having to go through the hassle and expense of college.

So will this mean the end of the humanities for all but a slim minority?

Perhaps so. And yet, though the humanities will always have to fight for their place within any culture, they fortunately have human nature as their greatest ally. As Horace said, you can throw nature out with a pitchfork, but it will always come running back. Human beings are made for the truth, and that desire will always find expression, in one form or another.

One form in which that desire is finding expression today is in the growing popularity of online higher education. Money Magazine did a fascinating story in its May issue on the rise of the MOOC, or massive open online course, which is generally a free course offered by an elite institution or private company that can draw as many as tens of thousands of students.

There are pedagogical problems with MOOCs, of course, notably the lack of student-teacher interaction and low percentage of students who actually complete such courses. But they signal a trend that will only, I believe, keep picking up steam. Digital technology puts tremendous and attractive power in the hands of individuals. A chief feature of that attractiveness is the ability to enjoy more experiences cheaply and on demand, whether that experience be a movie or the study of history. A future in which more and more students are engaging in intellectual pursuits, including the humanities, via laptops and smart phones seems inescapable.

This does not mean, however, that every online offering must take the form of the MOOC. But neither does it mean that every online course must be offered for credit—think of the kind of theological and cultural formation that Father Robert Barron is doing with his hugely popular Word on Fire ministry. Yet whatever the structure of the course, I predict that in a not-too-distant future more students will be studying the humanities via digital devices than in brick-and-ivy institutions. The great conversation will transfer in large part to what John Paul II called the "Areopagus" of modern digital media.

Purists may blanche at the prospect. But it is well to keep in mind where the humanities in the Western tradition more or less got started: with Socrates asking questions of his fellow citizens, not around a seminar table, but in familiar places like a market, a banquet, or a gymnasium.

That is, wherever folks happened to congregate.

Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Essays by Dr. McInerny may be found here.

Daniel McInerny is author of the darkly comic thriller, High Concepts: A Hollywood Nightmare, as well as the founder and CEO of Trojan Tub Entertainment, a children's entertainment company featuring his humorous Kingdom of Patria stories for middle grade readers. A native of South Bend, Indiana, he holds a PhD in philosophy and taught for many years at various universities in the United States. He now lives in Virginia with his wife Amy and three children, Lucy, Rita, and Francis. He blogs on the craft of storytelling at The Comic Muse.

The post The Humanities in a Digital Age: Online Higher Education appeared first on The Imaginative Conservative.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

FW: Parents, Education, the Church, and the State



Feed: Historia et Memoria
Posted on: Thursday, June 27, 2013 3:51 PM
Author: Matthew Phillips
Subject: Parents, Education, the Church, and the State


"The right of the Church to have schools is entirely in concord with the right of parents to educate their children.  What is incumbent upon the parents in all questions of natural life is incumbent upon the Church with regard to the supernatural life.  Parents are prior to the state, and their rights were always and still are, acknowledged by the Church.  The prerogative of parents to educate their children cannot be disputed by the state, since it is the parents who give life to the child.  They feed the child and clothe it.  The child's life is, as it were, the continuation of theirs.  Hence it is their right to demand that their children are educated according to their faith and their religious outlook.

It is their right to withhold their children from schools where their religious convictions are not only disregarded but even made the object of contempt and ridicule.  It was this parental right which German parents felt was violated when the Hitler government deprived them of their denominational schools.  The children came home from the new schools like little heathens, who smiled derisively or laughed at the prayers of their parents.

You Hungarian parents will likewise feel a violation of your fundamental rights if your children can no longer attend the Catholic schools solely because the dictatorial State closes down our schools by a brutal edict or renders their work impossible."  Josef Cardinal Mindszenty, "Statement given on May 20, 1946," in The Heritage of World Civilizations, 8th ed. Vol.2, p. 1022.  [Emphasis added]

Josef Mindszenty, a Roman Catholic priest, became Primate of Hungary and then Cardinal in the mid-1940s.  He spoke against Communist oppression of the Roman Catholic Church and their Socialist expropriation of Church schools in the 1940s.  The Communist officials imprisoned him from 1948 to 1956.  During the Hungarian Revolution he was released, but he sought asylum in the US Embassy in Budapest where remained for 15 years.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Highly Recommended!

New from Cheryl Swope (with a recommendation and Foreword by Dr. Veith):



The Rev. Paul J Cain

Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS)

Headmaster, Martin Luther Grammar School (CCLE)

Sheridan, WY

Monday, June 3, 2013

FW: New MP Book: Simply Classical

Simply Classical…


From: Memoria Press [] On Behalf Of Memoria Press
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 2:36 PM
To: Rev. Paul J Cain
Subject: New MP Book: Simply Classical


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Memoria Press


Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any ChildNew book from Memoria Press: Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
Cheryl Swope's new book, Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child, is ostensibly about special education. She writes about her own experiences with two adopted special needs children she taught classically, but she also makes one of the clearest and most compelling cases for classical education in print.

The first argument of the book is that academically-challenged students are human beings too, and they deserve an education commensurate with that fact. While current special education doctrine favors compromising on content, Cheryl proposes only to moderate its measure. If a child cannot accommodate the amount or depth of knowledge of most children, it is not less, but more important that what they learn be of the highest quality. She implicitly understands St. Thomas Aquinas' principle that the slightest knowledge of the greatest things is greater than the greatest knowledge of the slightest things.

Her second argument is that it has been done and can be done. How many people know that Helen Keller had a classical education? And if a person who was blind and deaf could achieve what she achieved, how much more can a student do who faces less severe challenges? Cheryl shows how, in an important sense, classical education can open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf.

Want a sneak preview? Click here.

Classical Education Conference 2013Memoria Press Summer Conference: Less than 50 spots left!

Just imagine this scenario: You are sitting at your dining room table sipping your morning coffee on Wednesday, June 11. You see the advertisement for the MP Classical Ed Conference from June 12-14 in The Classical Teacher magazine (which you read religiously every morning) and realize that you have completely forgotten about it.

You buy plane tickets. You pack your bags and bolt out of the house in a panic.

You blow through airport security, run to your gate, hop on the plane, and anxiously tap your fingers on your tray table to the severe annoyance of the passenger in the seat in front of you. Once you land, you mow down the passengers in the forward rows who have the temerity to get in your way. You get a rental car and reach speeds so fast the police can't even see you.

You arrive at the registration desk, out of breath, and realize ... YOU FORGOT TO REGISTER. There are no more spots available. No New American Cursive Workshop. No First Form Latin Workshop. No Traditional Logic Workshop. And you completely missed the Classical Composition Seminar on Wednesday.


In reality, we might just let you in anyway because we admire your spunk. But don't risk it! Register now!

Memoria Press Online AcademyOnline classes are filling up fast!

Don't get left out in the educational cold!

The list of online classes that are full is getting longer: Sections in AP American History, Classical Studies I, AP American History. Others are filling up. We are able to open new sections of some of these classes, but some of them will be closing for good.

The good news is that we still have many open classes in Latin, Logic, Composition, and Classical Studies. We've even added more classes from one of our most popular instructors: Brandon Nygaard. But they're still filling up!

Our Summer Logic Camp is full and spots in our summer literature seminars are also getting increasingly hard to come by. Dickens' Bleak House (with Martin Cothran) and Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath (with Paul Cable) are filling up and there are only nine more spots in Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment (Blake McKinney)

Enroll Now.

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