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I’ve been reluctant to write about Hillsdale’s conspiracy to educate our K-12 children, for fear of betraying one of the most effective schemes to restore the Republic ever devised by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.
But, since public education is a perpetual topic of debate here among the center-right (see here, here, and here), I thought readers might like to know about my kids’ public charter school, which teaches a classical curriculum provided by Hillsdale College. Yes, that Hillsdale. The Hillsdale of Ricochet’s own Paul Rahe, the online courses on The Constitution and The Great Books, Imprimis, and the most excellent Hillsdale Dialogue interviews by Hugh Hewitt of President Larry Arnn and other members of the faculty.
When my daughter began her career at The Vanguard School as a freshman, we didn’t even know the curriculum was provided by Hillsdale. We only knew that Vanguard was the top-performing high school in Colorado as measured by standardized test scores, college attendance by graduates, and scholarship earnings of its graduates. Vanguard’s first graduating class of 22 students earned over two million dollars in scholarships.
We were also unaware that the school appears to be a job-placement program for Hillsdale graduates, who have been, uniformly, some of the best teachers (and most decent people) from whom my daughter has ever had the privilege of learning. And since she’s been educated in charter schools since 3rd grade, that’s saying something.
What does $6,000 per pupil of tax funding (roughly the going rate in Colorado) buy you? Allow me to share just a sampling of the freshman reading list (see a complete listing for all grades here):
History — Grade 9:
- Aristotle, Politics.
- Herodotus, Histories.
- The Holy Bible, American Standard Version
- Livy, Stories of Rome.
- Plato, The Republic, et al.
- Tacitus, Annals.
- Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian Wars.
English — Grade 9:
- Cicero, Selected Works.
- The Holy Bible, American Standard Version.
- Homer, The Iliad.
- Homer, The Odyssey.
- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.
- Sophocles, Three Theban Plays.
- Golding, Lord of the Flies.
Freshman students are placed in math according to test scores (Algebra I and II, Geometry, Advanced Math, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Statistics, and AP courses are offered) and are expected to complete one year of Latin and at least three years of a modern foreign language (Latin, Spanish, or German). Vanguard students are also required to complete one semester each of Music History and Art History.
To say the Vanguard system produces well-rounded American citizens is to understate the case. Every day starts with the Pledge of Allegiance. In junior high, where my other daughter started 7th grade this year, the Pledge is followed by a recitation of the Preamble to the Constitution. At Friday assemblies, the students sing the Star Spangled Banner.
As with all the charter schools in our experience, character education plays a central role. At Vanguard, the principal and vice-principal rotate through each grade-level monthly, lecturing on the virtues. Bullying, provocative clothing, and bad behavior are not tolerated. Open-door policies remain in each and every classroom, with seating provided for parents and guests in the back of the room. The faculty have nothing to hide and that’s what they model for, and expect from, their students.
I’m guessing not 1% of public school students in America receive the education my daughters are getting from their Hillsdale-model school. And that’s a damn shame for the 99%. This is the argument for school choice. Public education can save Western Civilization, if Hillsdale is providing the content.
Image Credit: Shutterstock user Robert Kneschke.Published in