The Gospel Coalition has published a feature looking at the exponential growth in Christian classical education over the past two decades. It is a great introduction to what a classical education looks like and how it differs from what most Americans are used to by now. An excerpt:
While calling education “classical” is new, the practice is as old as Plato and Socrates.
“What we call ‘classical education’ was before the late 1800s simply ‘education,’” said Christopher Perrin, a national leader in the classical education movement and founder and CEO of Classical Academic Press. “The word ‘classical’ as an adjective has become dominant now because we’re describing its renewal.”
…Early in the 20th century, influential educational reformer John Dewey argued against objective truth. He believed education should be solely pragmatic and focused on helping humans adapt to their environment. Dewey’s goal instead was to equip individuals for particular spheres of usefulness: business, medicine, housework, or factories.
“What it boils down to is that a certain group of people are educated for factories, and another group to rule, but everybody is going to be educated for practical reasons,” said Andrew Kern, who founded the Circe Institute in 2001 as a center for independent research on classical education.
This approach to education quickly became popular, so much so that progressive education has dominated the landscape in the United States since the 1920s, and until lately, classical education was nearly extinguished.
…“Being a college prep school is too small of a goal,” Nix said. “When we come together and talk about the kind of schools we’re building, we return to the question ‘What kind of citizen and human being and Christian will they be at age 30? 40? 60? What kind of old men do we want these fifth graders to be?’”
Read the whole thing.