Jennifer Burns (Photo: CCA)

In this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew talk to Jennifer Burns about classical education. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in Marketing from Northwestern University and is a mom to three sons. She left a career in marketing communications to homeschool her son and then in 2004, Jennifer created an enrichment program called H.E.A.R.T. and two years later created a classical hybrid school called Classical Consortium Academy in Illinois. Both H.E.A.R.T. and C.C.A. are going strong today and serve over 350 students.

On the podcast, Jennifer walks us through the basics of a classical education, including the grammar, logic and rhetoric phases. We discuss how a classical education, rooted in the great books and in academic rigor, can benefit all kids, regardless of their career aspirations. Jennifer shares her views on the importance of a religious basis to the curriculum and we discuss some of the differences between Christian and secular classical schools. Finally, Beth and Andrew both share their optimism in classical schools being one of the shining alternatives to today’s politicized K-12 education system.

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There are 15 comments.

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right?  We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5.  Just do what New Zealand did.  Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other.  Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students.    Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want.  Simplicity and competition works.  Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else.  Not good folks. 

    • #1
  2. Andrew Gutmann Contributor
    Andrew Gutmann
    @andrewgutmann

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done!

    • #2
  3. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done!

    I was at an event a while back with a bunch of teachers.  We talked about how to make teaching better.  It soon became apparent we had different perspectives and goals.  Theirs was basically how to mine the various governments, fed, state, local and private entities for money.  It was sad.

    • #3
  4. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done!

    I was at an event a while back with a bunch of teachers. We talked about how to make teaching better. It soon became apparent we had different perspectives and goals. Theirs was basically how to mine the various governments, fed, state, local and private entities for money. It was sad.

    The Education Edifice adds negative value.

    • #4
  5. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

     

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done!  I don’t understand why it seems impossible.  

    In New Zealand a leftist government did it because the minister of Finance was a free market guy.  New Zealand was kicked out of their relationship with Great Britain because the latter  joined the EC. The  New Zealand  Finance Minister just did it.  I think it’s a question of leadership.  New Zealanders didn’t ask for it they were clueless.  I spoke to the former minister a few years later when he was visiting.  He, said just do it.  I think he’s right.  It would take just one state governor to do it.  The example would prove contagious.

     

    • #5
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done!

    I was at an event a while back with a bunch of teachers. We talked about how to make teaching better. It soon became apparent we had different perspectives and goals. Theirs was basically how to mine the various governments, fed, state, local and private entities for money. It was sad.

    The Education Edifice adds negative value.

    Years back I had a business partner that was also the CFO for one of the biggest school in the state and country.   The Tech companies wanted go give hundred of thousands of dollars of grant money for tech.  He was out of his depth on tech and asked me along to help him evaluate options.  He apologized later.  While Dell, HP, etc were trying to buy computer for students all the teachers and teachers union wanted was to hire new people and give raises and bonus.  Not one suggestion to buy one computer or implement one computer / tech program for students.   The students was almost not even on the agenda, it was all about them.  

    • #6
  7. Andrew Gutmann Contributor
    Andrew Gutmann
    @andrewgutmann

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done!

    I was at an event a while back with a bunch of teachers. We talked about how to make teaching better. It soon became apparent we had different perspectives and goals. Theirs was basically how to mine the various governments, fed, state, local and private entities for money. It was sad.

    There are obviously some terrific teachers out there in the public schools.  But they are clearly not the majority. And the incentives of the teachers unions are not at all aligned with the best interests of children or with high quality education.

    • #7
  8. Andrew Gutmann Contributor
    Andrew Gutmann
    @andrewgutmann

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done! I don’t understand why it seems impossible. In New Zealand a leftist government did it because the minister of Finance was a free market guy. They were kicked out of their relationship with Great Britain because they joined the EC. He just did it. I think it’s a question of leadership. New Zealanders didn’t ask for it they were clueless. I spoke to him a few years later when he was visiting. He, said just do it. I thin he’s right,. It would take just one state governor to do it. The example would prove contagious.

    I suppose there is a chance in red states. I can’t see this happening in blue states. The teachers unions are too powerful and the Democratic party is completely beholden to the unions.

    • #8
  9. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The Education Edifice Serves No Purpose Except For Theft And Indoctrination™

    • #9
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done! I don’t understand why it seems impossible. In New Zealand a leftist government did it because the minister of Finance was a free market guy. They were kicked out of their relationship with Great Britain because they joined the EC. He just did it. I think it’s a question of leadership. New Zealanders didn’t ask for it they were clueless. I spoke to him a few years later when he was visiting. He, said just do it. I thin he’s right,. It would take just one state governor to do it. The example would prove contagious.

    I suppose there is a chance in red states. I can’t see this happening in blue states. The teachers unions are too powerful and the Democratic party is completely beholden to the unions.

    I would have agreed before I saw the lockdowns over the last few years. It is amazing how fast and decisively and authoritatively governments at all levels can impose a new way of doing things. There’s a lesson in those lockdowns for taking a New Zealand approach to education. 

    Gosh, Government. That probably wasn’t the lesson you wanted me to learn from watching you in action, but learn it I did! :-) In fact, I would bounce off of the lockdowns in a speech to the country’s parents:

    Watch out for government. It’s a lot stronger than you’d ever imagine. We’re told day after day “We can’t” “We can’t” and “We can’t” whenever we want change. But when change suits them, they are fast and all powerful. 

    • #10
  11. Andrew Gutmann Contributor
    Andrew Gutmann
    @andrewgutmann

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. Make all schools independent of, not only unions and the state, but each other. Turn them over to parents and teachers, but make them compete with each other, so the best teachers, who are known, have to take over to compete for students. Instead of taxing most folks and funding mostly lousy schools, just let parents spent their education dollars where they want. Simplicity and competition works. Education is one of the few places we haven’t allowed it for decades and now instead of allowing it, we’re destroying it everywhere else. Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done! I don’t understand why it seems impossible. In New Zealand a leftist government did it because the minister of Finance was a free market guy. They were kicked out of their relationship with Great Britain because they joined the EC. He just did it. I think it’s a question of leadership. New Zealanders didn’t ask for it they were clueless. I spoke to him a few years later when he was visiting. He, said just do it. I thin he’s right,. It would take just one state governor to do it. The example would prove contagious.

    I suppose there is a chance in red states. I can’t see this happening in blue states. The teachers unions are too powerful and the Democratic party is completely beholden to the unions.

    I would have agreed before I saw the lockdowns over the last few years. It is amazing how fast and decisively and authoritatively governments at all levels can impose a new way of doing things. There’s a lesson in those lockdowns for taking a New Zealand approach to education.

    Gosh, Government. That probably wasn’t the lesson you wanted me to learn from watching you in action, but learn it I did! :-) In fact, I would bounce off of the lockdowns in a speech to the country’s parents:

    Watch out for government. It’s a lot stronger than you’d ever imagine. We’re told day after day “We can’t” “We can’t” and “We can’t” whenever we want change. But when change suits them, they are fast and all powerful.

    Agree 100%. Covid absolutely exposed how powerful the gov’t is. Terrifying. The issues we face go far beyond just our education system.

    • #11
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. . . . Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done! I don’t understand why it seems impossible. In New Zealand a leftist government did it because the minister of Finance was a free market guy. They were kicked out of their relationship with Great Britain because they joined the EC. He just did it. I think it’s a question of leadership. New Zealanders didn’t ask for it they were clueless. I spoke to him a few years later when he was visiting. He, said just do it. I thin he’s right,. It would take just one state governor to do it. The example would prove contagious.

    I suppose there is a chance in red states. I can’t see this happening in blue states. The teachers unions are too powerful and the Democratic party is completely beholden to the unions.

    I would have agreed before I saw the lockdowns over the last few years. It is amazing how fast and decisively and authoritatively governments at all levels can impose a new way of doing things. There’s a lesson in those lockdowns for taking a New Zealand approach to education.

    Gosh, Government. That probably wasn’t the lesson you wanted me to learn from watching you in action, but learn it I did! :-) In fact, I would bounce off of the lockdowns in a speech to the country’s parents:

    Watch out for government. It’s a lot stronger than you’d ever imagine. We’re told day after day “We can’t” “We can’t” and “We can’t” whenever we want change. But when change suits them, they are fast and all powerful.

    Agree 100%. Covid absolutely exposed how powerful the gov’t is. Terrifying. The issues we face go far beyond just our education system.

    Yes. In fact, I’ve had a great idea this morning in writing the earlier comment. :-)  What a great Republican message in 2024. We could bounce off the anonymous but often cited conservative quote: “The government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everything you have.” That would be the heading, followed by an ominous timeline of the federal and state government lockdowns. Just a healthy reminder of what government really is–how fast it can move and how all-encompassing it can be. 

    This has Republican marketing potential. :-) (Sorry for the digression.)

    • #12
  13. Andrew Gutmann Contributor
    Andrew Gutmann
    @andrewgutmann

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Andrew Gutmann (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    It’d only take 20 years or so to sweep the whole thing right? We don’t have 10 years, or perhaps even 5. Just do what New Zealand did. . . . Not good folks.

    I don’t disagree. But easier said than done! I don’t understand why it seems impossible. In New Zealand a leftist government did it because the minister of Finance was a free market guy. They were kicked out of their relationship with Great Britain because they joined the EC. He just did it. I think it’s a question of leadership. New Zealanders didn’t ask for it they were clueless. I spoke to him a few years later when he was visiting. He, said just do it. I thin he’s right,. It would take just one state governor to do it. The example would prove contagious.

    I suppose there is a chance in red states. I can’t see this happening in blue states. The teachers unions are too powerful and the Democratic party is completely beholden to the unions.

    I would have agreed before I saw the lockdowns over the last few years. It is amazing how fast and decisively and authoritatively governments at all levels can impose a new way of doing things. There’s a lesson in those lockdowns for taking a New Zealand approach to education.

    Gosh, Government. That probably wasn’t the lesson you wanted me to learn from watching you in action, but learn it I did! :-) In fact, I would bounce off of the lockdowns in a speech to the country’s parents:

    Watch out for government. It’s a lot stronger than you’d ever imagine. We’re told day after day “We can’t” “We can’t” and “We can’t” whenever we want change. But when change suits them, they are fast and all powerful.

    Agree 100%. Covid absolutely exposed how powerful the gov’t is. Terrifying. The issues we face go far beyond just our education system.

    Yes. In fact, I’ve had a great idea this morning in writing the earlier comment. :-) What a great Republican message in 2024. We could bounce off the anonymous but often cited conservative quote: “The government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everything you have.” That would be the heading, followed by an ominous timeline of the federal and state government lockdowns. Just a healthy reminder of what government really is–how fast it can move and how all-encompassing it can be.

    This has Republican marketing potential. :-) (Sorry for the digression.)

    You should trademark it!

    • #13
  14. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I hear these guys are very over subscribed. Like they have broken some metric or something. 

    https://agamim.org/our-program

     

     

    • #14
  15. Andrew Gutmann Contributor
    Andrew Gutmann
    @andrewgutmann

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I hear these guys are very over subscribed. Like they have broken some metric or something.

    https://agamim.org/our-program

     

     

    That school looks terrific. Such a shame new charter schools are so hard to open in most blue states.

    • #15
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