America’s founders considered it crucial for the preservation of our republic that the American people be well-educated. Yet we have not been well-educated as a people for decades.
Jamie Gass, of the Pioneer Institute in Boston, notes statistics well-known to those who pay attention to the state of American education: Our high-school and college students hardly know the first thing about America’s form of government or history. Two-thirds of Americans cannot name the three branches of government. He discusses further:
America’s founders were steeped in classical history, oratory, and English literature. They considered ancient Rome’s constitution, heroes, and villains, to be models and anti-models of statecraft. Roman terms like republicanism, federalism, senate, and governor, are all deeply embedded within America’s experiment in ordered liberty…
The ultimate question about the decline of history in our public schools is this: will our schoolchildren have the basic civic knowledge for our public institutions to endure?
This is a central reason we want to revive classical education in northern Indiana. We could ensure our own children are well-educated simply by homeschooling. As much work as that is, establishing a school and classical community center is far more. But our children cannot live solely in our home forever; they need people to marry, people to employ and be employed by, friends and neighbors, fellow Christian believers.
And our political life is such that thousands upon millions of Americans we all will never know nevertheless have a good deal of (and ever-expanding) power over our lives, because they elect our representatives. Those representatives wield government force. Therefore, we cannot have a good and free life without also working to ensure our neighbors understand the value of the same and the time-tested ways to pursue this. This is one end of a classical education.
Good schools are some of the many institutions a free society needs to flourish. We no longer have many, and that is one reason our country now sails through such dangerous waters.