Want Into the Long Game? Start a Public School

My brilliant, Hillsdale-educated husband explained to me in our many conversations following the election one conflict between political philosophers Leo Strauss and Russell Kirk: broadly speaking, Strauss would say politics shapes culture, while Kirk would say culture shapes politics. We think there’s some transference there (some permeable cell membranes, if you will), as laws certainly shape culture, but agreed over dinner last night that we tend to side with Kirk in thinking that if we had …

  1. grotiushug
    ThePullmanns: My brilliant, Hillsdale-educated husband explained to me in our many conversations following the election one conflict between political philosophers Leo Strauss and Russell Kirk: broadly speaking, Strauss would say politics shapes culture, while Kirk would say culture shapes politics.

    I think that’s wrong about Strauss.  I think he thought it a mistake to conceive of politics and culture as separate; both are part of a regime (and by that word he didn’t mean government or state, rather the whole life a people, very much including customs, laws, manners, mores, religion).  I think he thought the ancient way of thinking about regime in this sense superior to the modern way which breaks the whole into what it takes to be its constituent parts.

     [edit typo]

  2. sawatdeeka

    I love Core Knowledge and E.D. Hirsch for laying out clear, eloquent arguments for content-based instruction when it is currently not “cool” and offering tools and plans to equip schools. 

    I recommend Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion as an important training tool for instructors.  His instructional philosophy, that teachers hold a repository of knowledge that they explicitly teach to the students,* is refreshing and gives much needed clarity to those who would like to be effective teachers.  The “49 techniques” (there are actually a lot more packed into this dense volume) are practical and immediately applicable, but tied together under Lemov’s coherent philosophy.

    I have witnessed content-based instruction (unconnected to Core Knowledge, just depends on the teacher), and oddly, after all the passionate insistence that traditional schooling is stifling and mind-numbing, I see kids loving it.  Whether they are “drilling,” practicing with worksheets, or reading nonfiction together, they seem to engage very well with it. (Nonfiction books/materials are their favorite.) 

     *With none of this business about being the “guide on the side” instead of “sage on the stage,” or encouragements to be “nonjudgmental.”

  3. sawatdeeka

     (the research actually shows certification does not improve teacher quality one whit)

    I don’t understand why this would be the case.   Even though there is a lot of nonsense out there, there are also common sense systems and standardized approaches teachers can learn in the certification process that are very helpful.  For example, I recently took a class on special ed that is required for future teachers in Montana, and it was extremely helpful and enlightening.

    Also anecdotally, I benefitted hugely (at a private, Christian college) from the classes I had to take on my way to the CA credential. I would have had to learn through trial and error without that experience. And the credential includes a semester of student teaching assignments.  Who wouldn’t be better prepared by working under a master teacher first? 

    As for teachers I work with, extra education does seem to make a positive difference. 

  4. MJB Wolf

    Darned if the name Patriot Academy isn’t already used by a charter school chain! Seriously, though, this is an excellent idea, one as a former teacher I was already considering. Seeing as my county just went Blue for the first time, I’m well located.

  5. Crow
    grotiushug

    ThePullmanns: broadly speaking, Strauss would say politics shapes culture, while Kirk would say culture shapes politics.

    I think that’s wrong about Strauss.  I think he thought it a mistake to conceive of politics and culture as separate; both are part of aregime(and by that word he didn’t mean government or state, rather the whole life a people, very much including customs, laws, manners, mores, religion).  I think he thought the ancient way of thinking about regime in this sense superior to the modern way which breaks the whole into what it takes to be its constituent parts.

     [edit typo] · 2 hours ago

    Edited 2 hours ago

    Yeah, I wasn’t going to directly address that because its a very long topic (and maybe a bit off topic or at least in the weeds a bit), but since you have noted this I will merely note my approval of what you’ve said and re-emphasize that Strauss’s use of the term regime–the closest translation he could find in modern languages to the Greek way of conceiving of politics–takes some study to recover the meaning of because its way of seeing is foreign. 

  6. sophrosyne

    I’ve attended the Charter School Symposium at Hillsdale, my alma mater, for the past two summers.  It is a wonderful experience, and just the antidote to the Eeyore-ism that seems to have taken hold in conservative circles  Just take a tour of the Hillsdale Academy, listen to the passion and experience that Headmaster Kenneth Calvert brings to his role, and then tell me all is lost.  I’m interested in beginning a Hillsdale Charter School here in Austin, Texas (the blue heart of the beast), and if you’re in these parts and would like to join us, please send me a PM.

    I’m a Latin teacher in a private classical school, but I am strongly convicted that classical education — the education of many of our founders — cannot be limited to the wealthy few.  Like Thomas Jefferson, I think that we have to educate and enculturate the broad electorate in order to ensure the survival of our republic.  As Mr. Jefferson famously put it, there is a difference between “education which democrats like” and “the education which will preserve democracy.”

  7. Diaryof1

    Yay for Charters! I teach for an online public charter school which uses the curriculum developed by K12–best teaching job I’ve ever had. Amazing curriculum and I do NOT HAVE TO JOIN A TEACHER’S UNION! And I am supporting homeschool families, one of my favorite things to do! These kiddos are working at home, in my case (K-2nd) right alongside Mom or Dad, and meet me in my virtual classroom a few times a day.

    My charter does require teacher certification, and I think all public charters in my state do. Small point, but I say that to encourage teachers to get certified now, while they can, and before more ridiculous layers of goo get piled on the process.

    And further, if it’s at all possible for homeschool families to get a certified teacher in the family, do so now. I don’t have high hopes for this administration being friendly to “non-professionals” doing this job of educating, I mean, look at them! And just look to Germany if you want to know what’s coming. (It’s illegal to homeschool in Germany.)

    Great post, thank you. This is where we do the battle.

  8. Diaryof1

    p.s., when I referred to “non-professionals” educating their kids, I was in no way agreeing with the assumption that goes along with that. Any educated, involved parents can school their children well, I’m just saying, be aware of the prevailing attitude and the future scenarios that could play out.

  9. Misthiocracy

    I love that this is a practical, non-theoretical, plausible, and entirely achievable suggestion.

    Kudos.

  10. Nick Stuart
    Diaryof1: And further, if it’s at all possible for homeschool families to get a certified teacher in the family, do so now. I don’t have high hopes for this administration being friendly to “non-professionals” doing this job of educating, I mean, look at them! And just look to Germany if you want to know what’s coming. (It’s illegal to homeschool in Germany.)

    Diaryof1, you might be too young to remember the battle of HR6. George Miller (D, NEA) introduced a bill that would have, effectively, required all homeschool teachers to have state certification or something like that.

    The Capitol switchboard MELTED DOWN TOTALLY and stayed melted down for days. The pols pleaded “get them to stop and we’ll fix it.” To which Michael Farris (then President, now Chairman) of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) said “Fix it, then we’ll ask them to stop.” It got fixed.

    And this was before homeschoolers were connected via social media.

    When it comes to bringing intense, sustained fire on an objective when necessary, the NRA has nothing on the HSLDA.

  11. Athena

    We have several charters in our chilly town, and the school board is begging for more.  At least one has a waiting list and a lottery.  I have wondered if a charter school would be a good idea for a second career after I am done with homeschooling my own.  

    One thing I have noticed is that most charter schools seem to be elementary and not secondary schools.  Those last six years before voting age are crucial, are they not? 

  12. Dudley

    “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”  – Abraham Lincoln

  13. Antipodius

    This is a fantastic idea. In London a conservative came up with a similar idea. Classical public education in a low income area. The baseline is “protect your own kids” by homeschool or private school.. the next step is “get their kids” through intiatives like charter schools.. (after all the other side tries to get ours through highschool, college and the media). The other level is- keep your conservative states conservative (eg Texas) and strive to help them excel as an example to the failing blue model. Then attack in the media a la Breitbart. There  is no more sitting on rears and contemplating navels- because the wriggle room is gone. The left is attacking on all fronts. Time to resist. As breitbart said #war…. but in the most kind “smiley”, friendly way.

    We want to win them to our side, and if we can’t we’ll win their kids.  We must be remorseless.. but hey, I ‘m a Christian we’ve been subversive for about 2000 years.

  14. Antipodius

    I have just bought “The well trained mind” by Susan Bauer, as a guide for supplemental education for my preschool daughter. I have also started reading “The well educated mind” for myself. I am starting with myself and my house.

  15. Lucy Pevensie

    How free of government interference can charter schools be?  My husband has heard rumors that the local charter school founders have been very frustrated by the way the government has interfered with their intentions for the school. Apart from this, I like the idea.

    We are trying to decide right now whether to put my daughter in a local Catholic school next year or to home school her. 

  16. Crow

    Eminently sensible suggestion. Even in some blue cities, the pendulum has begun to swing our way on this issue–and its precisely measures like this which appear ostensibly small bore that I think we need to start retaking our communities from the ground up.

  17. Lucy Pevensie

    Over on the Member Feed there is a post saying that we as conservatives ought to put our money into making free, high-quality schools available in the inner cities. I think that if it’s possible, it’s a far better idea than messing with the charter school system, which is vulnerable to government interference. Paules, in a comment to that thread, says that using Bill Whittle’s principles, they are going to start such a school in New Mexico, which is at least a start.

  18. Diaryof1
    Nick Stuart

    Diaryof1: And further, if it’s at all possible for homeschool families to get a certified teacher in the family, do so now. I don’t have high hopes for this administration being friendly to “non-professionals” doing this job of educating, I mean, look at them! And just look to Germany if you want to know what’s coming. (It’s illegal to homeschool in Germany.)

    Diaryof1, you might be too young to remember the battle of HR6. George Miller (D, NEA) introduced a bill that would have, effectively, required all homeschool teachers to have state certification or something like that.

    The Capitol switchboardMELTED DOWN TOTALLYand stayed melted down for days. The pols pleaded “get them to stop and we’ll f

  19. Diaryof1
    Nick Stuart

    Diaryof1: And further, if it’s at all possible for homeschool families to get a certified teacher in the family, do so now. I don’t have high hopes for this administration being friendly to “non-professionals” doing this job of educating, I mean, look at them! And just look to Germany if you want to know what’s coming. (It’s illegal to homeschool in Germany.)

    Diaryof1, you might be too young to remember the battle of HR6. George Miller (D, NEA) introduced a bill that would have, effectively, required all homeschool teachers to have state certification or something like that.

    The Capitol switchboardMELTED DOWN TOTALLYand stayed melted down for days. The pols pleaded “get them to stop and we’ll fix it.” To which Michael Farris (then President, now Chairman) of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) said “Fix it,thenwe’ll ask them to stop.” It got fixed.

    And this was before homeschoolers were connected via social media.

    When it comes to bringing intense, sustained fire on an objective when necessary, the NRA has nothing on the HSLDA. · 3 hours ago

    Yes, HSLDA does an outstanding job of protecting homeschool freedom!

  20. Diaryof1
    Antipodius: I have just bought “The well trained mind” by Susan Bauer, as a guide for supplemental education for my preschool daughter. I have also started reading “The well educated mind” for myself. I am starting with myself and my house. · 3 hours ago

    Antipodius: The Well Trained Mind is the very first homeschool book I ever picked up and it’s driven my homeschool plan for my own kids ever since. Great place to start. I love SWB’s book lists! And her Story of the World volumes have worked great with all my kids as a multi-age history class (and my 7th grader still listens in while I read it to the 2nd, 4th, and 6th grader).

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