Education has become a joke.
A privilege that once lifted people out of slavery and poverty is now a mere tool to brainwash the masses.
When once individuals sought knowledge for its own sake, students are now forced to attend factory-like institutions where the curriculum has been replaced with progressive ideology.
Instead of being an academic training ground, the classroom has become a locus of societal and political change.
How did this happen?
Simply put, education has been stripped of the things that once made it great.
There’s a name for the type of education that emphasizes teaching students things like classical languages and penmanship – it’s called classical education: the type of educational method used by the Greeks and Romans in ancient history.
Classical education is a model of education that seeks to cultivate virtue and wonder in those that acquire it and to return to the ancient goal of education: teaching students to think for themselves. It consists of two modes of study: the Trivium and the Quadrivium. In Latin, the word Trivium means “the place where three roads meet.” It lays the foundation for lifelong learning by emphasizing three skills—grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric. The quadrivium consists of arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry. 1
Great minds like the American Founding Fathers benefitted from a classical education and were inspired by men like Socrates and Plato.
Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence 1776 and the third President of the United States, wrote to his friend Joseph Priestly, “To read the Greek and Latin authors in their original is a sublime luxury, and I deem luxury in science to be at least as justifiable as in architecture, painting, gardening, or the other arts… I thank on my knees, Him who directed my early education for having put into possession this rich source of delight.” 2
The American revolution itself was steeped in classical political thinking.
The curriculum for the grammar school of the 1700s continued to require that students emphasize courses in "Latin grammar, Latin conversation and composition, and Latin readings.” At America’s oldest state university, the University of Georgia, a student enrolling as a freshman was required to have studied and to have available "a correct knowledge of Cicero’s orations, Virgil, John and the Acts in the Greek New Testament, Graeca Minora, or Jacob’s Greek Reader, English Grammar and Geography, and be well acquainted with Arithmetic.” In fact, most colleges required the same prerequisites for entrance during the nineteenth century. 3
Over the course of history, classical education produced countless great leaders, inventors, scientists, writers, philosophers, theologians, physicians, lawyers, artists, and musicians. Some including Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Martin Luther, and Frederick Douglass, were classically educated.
Unfortunately, classical education began to diminish starting around 1900 with the rise of progressive education. Instead of seeking knowledge for its own sake, the curriculum shifted towards preparing students for vocations. The Classics started being removed from the school curriculum, Greek and Latin were replaced with modern languages, and ancient Greek and Roman history became less important.
The man responsible for such a radical shift in American public education? John Dewey.
Around the late 1900s, a philosopher and psychologist who also taught at various universities, Dewey, set out to reshape how children were educated in America. His theory of education was concerned with what works, otherwise known as pragmatism. He believed schools should focus on problem-solving rather than passing down knowledge from teacher to student. Dewey also rejected God in the classroom and instead believed in secular humanism. 4
Dewey viewed schools as beacons for societal and political change through democracy. He believed that public schools could be used to form a unified public opinion about how society progressed. As Dewey himself stated in 1888, while still at the University of Michigan, "Democracy and the one, ultimate, ethical ideal of humanity are, to my mind, synonymous." Dewey considered two fundamental elements—schools and civil society—major topics needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and plurality. He claimed that complete democracy was to be obtained not just by extending voting rights but also by ensuring that there exists a fully formed public opinion, accomplished by communication among citizens, experts and politicians.
Evidently, he replaced religion in the classroom with politics and patriotism. The new God was democracy.
It makes sense now why modern education is more concerned with teaching students about anti-racism, gender and woke ideology rather than truth, goodness, and beauty. The school curriculum is now geared towards shaping society instead of passing down sacred traditions. In fact, in many cases, teachers believe that the very tradition America was founded upon is not worth passing down and that society must be rebuilt from the ground up… that Greek and Roman intellectual tradition is not steeped in wisdom but racism.
Teachers view the classroom as a tool to spread their progressive ideology and shared utopian vision of the future, leaving young students vulnerable to ideas that are harmful to society as a whole.
The loss of the Trivium and Quadrivium has had devastating impacts on students’ academic abilities. The national average composite score on the ACT for the high school Class of 2022 was 19.8, the lowest average score in more than three decades, according to data released by ACT – the first time since 1991 that the average composite score was below 20. What makes matters worse is that 2022 was the fifth consecutive year of decline in average scores for the ACT.
What could be the reason for such a stark decline?
Removing the study of ancient languages like Latin has significantly impacted student academic performance. Latin constituted a substantial part of any college liberal arts curriculum Until the 1920s and was extensively taught at the junior and senior high school levels. Since Latin lies at the root of 60% of English words, studying it not only has a beneficial impact on the development of English vocabulary but also on specific language skills in general. Latin is also mathematical in nature, having a generally positive impact on a student’s cognitive skills. 6
As public school Latin enrollments plummeted, falling 79%, from 702,000 in 1962 to a low of 150,000 in 1976, a gradual drop was seen in the average verbal score on the national Scholastic Aptitude Test. In fact, students who had studied Latin slightly increased SAT verbal scores. 3
Students are also reading much less than before. The National Literacy Trust found just 26% of under-18s spent some time each day reading. This is the lowest daily level recorded since the charity first surveyed children’s reading habits in 2005.
Not only are students reading less, but they are also reading less challenging and thought-provoking material like the Classics. The average student today has no idea who Homer, or Plato, or Socrates are – the very philosophers and poets whose work and tradition western society is built upon.
Overall, school curriculum is devoid of academic rigour, wisdom and virtue. Instead of holding steadfast to the traditions that have lasted for centuries, schools have become dedicated to restructuring society to fit a Marxist agenda.
Schools are responsible not only for academic formation but moral formation. The very thought of divorcing education from moral formation was incomprehensible to our ancestors. Unfortunately, schools now teach that morality and virtue are subjective and that religion is false – an ideology that is destroying families and communities.
The well-being of society relies on the education of young minds. Without giving the youth the tools to think critically, to reason, and to make good decisions rooted in virtue through an education that has been tried and tested, there’s little hope for our future as a country.
What we need is a return to ancient tradition. Thankfully, public school enrollment is declining, while classical school enrollment is seeing record numbers. Post-covid, national K-12 public school enrollment fell by 1.1 million students. In the fall of 2021, it fell again by roughly 130,000 students. 7 Meanwhile, enrollment in Classical Christian schools is on the rise. One of the country’s largest networks of evangelical schools, The Association of Classical Christian Schools International, grew its K-12 enrollment by 12 percent between 2019-20 and 2020-21. 8
Slowly but surely, parents are waking up. They don’t want to send their children to woke factories that do not teach them anything of value.
We’re beginning to see a renaissance, not only of classical education but of classical education rooted in religion. And this is just the beginning.
- About classical education. Treasure Valley Classical Academy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, https://www.tvcacademy.org/about-classical-education/#:~:text=Classical%20education%20is%20a%20liberal,justice%2C%20virtue%2C%20and%20beauty.
- National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Founders online: From Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, 27 January 1800. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-31-02-0289
- Efficacy of Latin studies in the. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/files/latin.html
- Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://iep.utm.edu/john-dewey/
- Dewey, J., Maxcy, S. J., & Dewey, E. (2002). John Dewey and American Education. Thoemmes.
- Bracke, Evelien & Bradshaw, Ceri. (2017). The impact of learning Latin on school pupils: a review of existing data. The Language Learning Journal. 48. 1-11. 10.1080/09571736.2017.1400578.
- Dee, T. S. (2022, November 2). Public School enrollment is down by more than a million. why? (opinion). Education Week. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-public-school-enrollment-is-down-by-more-than-a-million-why/2022/11 Graham, R. (2021, October 19). Christian schools boom in a revolt against curriculum and pandemic rules.
- The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/19/us/christian-schools-growth.html