Commentary: When Classical Learning Meets Public Education, the Dialogue Isn’t Always Socratic

School Work

The future of the controversial classical education movement will be showcased later this month when Columbia University senior lecturer Roosevelt Montás is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at a national symposium hosted by Great Hearts, the biggest classical charter network.

The views of Montás, author of the widely praised memoir “Rescuing Socrates,” are well to the left of many in the classical charter movement, which is rooted in Christian conservatism. What makes Montás’ upcoming speech so notable, then, is the signal it sends about the movement’s effort to diversify its brand and project a welcoming attitude as it seeks to expand beyond conservative strongholds and suburbs where it began.

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Head of School at Rutherford Classical Academy Phillip Schwenk Announces New Charter School Will Be Located in La Vergne

Phillip Schwenk

Phillip Schwenk, the founding head of school at Rutherford Classical Academy, announced that the charter school will be located in La Vergne on Ingram Boulevard, close to I-24, and will accept 340 students the first school year.

The Rutherford County School Board voted last April to approve the building of the charter school by a vote of 5-2.

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Florida Board of Governors to Vote on Use of Classical Learning Test for College Admissions

The Florida Board of Governors is expected to vote at the end of August on whether to offer the Classical Learning Test (CLT) along with the SAT and ACT for public college admissions, a move that would make the Sunshine State the first in the nation to offer a test based specifically on the foundations of Western civilization and a “back to basics” education model.

A committee of the board of governors already met in June and approved the CLT as an option for the 12 schools in the State University System, the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time. After a two-week public comment period, the full board of governors will take its final vote August 30.

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Former Tennessee State Sen. Dolores Gresham: Story Claiming American Classical Education Charter Schools’ ‘Core Knowledge’ Program Has ‘Links’ to Common Core Is False

American Classical Education (ACE) board member Dolores Gresham, a former Tennessee state senator, said Tuesday the story at Tennessee Lookout that claimed Hillsdale College’s affiliated ACE charter schools are teaching a curriculum with links to the Common Core Standards, is “false.”

“The Core Knowledge Foundation program is not the same thing as Common Core,” Gresham said in a statement. “It is decades older than Common Core and is already in use by many schools in Tennessee – including all three of Nashville’s top-performing charter schools.”

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Hillsdale College Professor: Man’s Divine Nature Not Just a Christian Principle, But a ‘Rational’ One as Well

Hillsdale College’s associate dean for its graduate school of government in Washington, DC, told attendees at an event Friday evening in Connecticut that while the enemies of religious liberty reject that which is divine in man, that concept is not “a Christian principle, per se,” but, in fact, “a rational principle.”

“In a certain sense, that can be summed up very simply, that we are actually children of God,” Dr. Matthew Mehan said at the College’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers. “That is not a Christian principle, per se, although clearly it is one of the Christian principles. It’s actually a rational principle. And it’s actually a teaching of the philosophers and the poets both in ancient Greece and Rome.”

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Hillsdale College’s Blake Center to Expand Events After Local Zoning Board Clearance

Hillsdale College’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut, has received clearance from the town’s zoning commission to expand its offering of events and increase the number of people who attend them.

The executive director of the Blake Center, which is a replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, spoke with The Star News Network about the zoning commission’s unanimous approval of a modified special-use permit that will allow Hillsdale to increase the number of allowed guests at the center’s seminars and other events to 75.

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Dr. Jay Bhattacharya: ‘What Protections do Americans Have That Data Tracking the Unvaccinated Won’t Be Used Illegitimately?’

SOMERS, Connecticut – Stanford University School of Medicine Professor Jay Bhattacharya, M.D. said in an interview with The Star News Network Friday that Americans “should be asking” whether diagnostic code data now being utilized to identify patients who were either never vaccinated or not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be used “illegitimately.”

Bhattacharya responded to a question about the recent implementation in the United States of new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) diagnostic codes that requires doctors at clinics and hospitals to ask patients about their COVID mRNA vaccination status.

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American Classical Education Submits Charter School Applications in Five Tennessee Counties

Wednesday marked the deadline for charter school applicants to submit their packages to local school boards in counties where they wish to establish a new charter school, and American Classical Education (ACE) has submitted applications in five Tennessee counties.

ACE board member and former Tennessee State Senator Dolores Gresham, who retired while serving as Senate Education Chair in 2020, told The Tennessee Star the charter school operator submitted paperwork to  Rutherford, Clarksville-Montgomery, Jackson-Madison, Maury, and Robertson Counties.

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Conservative Christopher Rufo Among the Appointees to New College of Florida’s Board of Trustees by Gov. DeSantis

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed conservative activist Christopher Rufo and five other people to the New College of Florida Board of Trustees with the goal of restructuring the university’s curriculum to a “classical liberal arts model.”

Rufo, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and filmmaker known for his activism against Critical Race Theory, was appointed on Friday along with Hillsdale College Professor Matthew Spalding, Claremont-McKenna College Professor Charles Kesler, former Emory University Professor Mark Bauerlein, Inspiration Academy founder Jason Speir and attorney Debra Jenks. 

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Virginia Board of Education Asks Youngkin Administration to Combine History and Social Sciences Draft with Previous Draft Begun Under Northam

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Virginia Board of Education voted unanimously to delay advancing a November draft of the History and Social Science Standards of Learning until January, and instructed Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow to change the draft to include content from an August draft presented to the BOE. Additionally, the board requested that Balow provide a document comparing the August and November drafts with the draft that will be presented in January. The vote came during Thursday’s 11-hour meeting featuring hours of public comment followed by hours of board debate over the standards. Updating the standards began under the previous Democratic administration, and in August Balow asked the board to delay advancing the standards for public review, citing technical errors including the omission of wording calling George Washington “The Father of Our Country.” At the same time, the board agreed to separate the standards document from the more in-depth curriculum frameworks. In subsequent meetings, Balow asked for more delay to present an updated draft that included input from voices that weren’t included in the August draft, eventually submitting the November draft of just the standards late last week. Organizations and advocates said the document was missing or downplaying…

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Superintendent Balow Asks Board of Education for More Time on History Standards to Include More Input, Including from Conservative Organizations

RICHMOND, Virginia – Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) needs more time to prepare updated drafts for review of new Historical and Social Sciences Standards and accompanying curriculum frameworks. That’s another delay in approval and implementation of the standards after Balow first asked for more time in August.

“Since the September Board meeting, new board members have raised important concerns and questions about the draft standards. Additionally, we sought reviews by individuals and entities, whose voices had not yet been heard. Meanwhile, VDOE staff has worked diligently, to correct errors, remove repetition, reorder guidance, and edit language so that parents, educators, and students can understand and use the standards document,” Balow said in a Monday memo to the board.

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Hillsdale College Academy Scientist: Government’s Handling of COVID Pandemic a ‘Disaster’ That Ruined Public Health and Science

Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff, Ph.D. told attendees at Hillsdale College’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Connecticut Thursday evening that government health agencies that forced lockdowns and mass vaccinations to manage the COVID-19 pandemic have thrown the basic principles of public health “out the window.”

Swedish native Kulldorff, who is on leave from Harvard University and is a founding fellow of Hillsdale’s Academy for Science and Freedom, is also a co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, a document published in October 2020 that has since been translated into 44 languages and signed by nearly one million scientists, physicians, and citizens.

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Hillsdale College Connecticut Campus Hosts First Major Event: ‘Religious Liberty and the American Founding’

SOMERS, Connecticut – Hillsdale College’s campus in Somers, Connecticut hosted its first major event over the weekend with a seminar titled “Religious Liberty and the American Founding.”

Dr. Matthew Spalding, Hillsdale’s vice president for Washington operations and dean of the college’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government, spoke Friday evening on the topic of civil and religious liberty.

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Hillsdale College Begins Academic Programming at Connecticut ‘Faith and Freedom’ Campus

Hillsdale College’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut, has begun its academic programming that includes seminars, lectures, training sessions for K-12 teachers, and community events, according to information sent to The Connecticut Star.

Hillsdale spokeswoman Emily Stack Davis sent information about the start of the Blake Center’s spring offerings, noting that its programs “will focus on Christianity, Western Civilization, and America.”

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Programming at Hillsdale’s Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut to Begin This Spring

Programming at Hillsdale College’s new Blake Center for Faith and Freedom in Somers, Connecticut is scheduled to start this spring. 

In 2019, the late Friendly’s Ice Cream co-founder S. Prestley “Pres” Blake and his wife Helen offered their property at 732 Hall Hill Rd., along with $25 million, to the Michigan-based Christian college to establish an educational center consistent with the values of the school. Their now-repurposed home is modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and sits on about 100 verdant acres.

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ACLU Requests Tennessee Records on Announced Charter School Partnership with Hillsdale College

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee has asked the state of Tennessee to release all records regarding an announced charter school partnership with Hillsdale College.

The organization sent open records requests on Monday, requesting information about Governor Bill Lee’s (R-TN) “developing partnership with Hillsdale College to establish a number of publicly funded charter schools in Tennessee,” a press statement said.

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‘A K-12 Civics Report Card’ Ranks America’s Leading Civics Education Programs

In a new report released Wednesday at the Boston-based Pioneer Institute, one of America’s top education scholars provides reviews and grades for the nation’s leading civics programs.

At a time when the purpose of civics education grows increasingly polarized, and many organizations present rival resources, Dr. David Randall, author of “Learning for Self-Government: A K-12 Civics Report Card,” evaluated 15 leading civics programs and graded them on their effectiveness.

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Exclusive: Erik Prince Blames Afghanistan Debacle on ‘Cosplay National Security Apparatus’ that Believes ‘Their Own BS’

The Founder of the Blackwater private security firm and the author of a comprehensive plan to save Afghanistan by shifting the country’s security to private contractors and away from the American military told the Star News Network he warned U.S. diplomats the government of President Ashraf Ghani would fall before Labor Day.

“I told a number of ambassadors in the region there; they should expect a collapse of Kabul by Labor Day, and I said that back in April, based on when the U.S. air pressure, when the Air Force really stopped bombing, when that threat largely disappears, then the Taliban would be able to group and mass as they have done, and then they start blowing up cities,” said Erik Prince, the Navy SEAL veteran and national security entrepreneur.

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Hillsdale College Launching Nashville Internship Program

Group of people talking at an internship panel

Hillsdale College, a premier conservative liberal arts institution, told The Tennessee Star that they’re launching an internship program in Nashville. According to plans shared with The Star, the college aims for these internships to be full-time and paid arrangements for freshmen, sophomores, and some juniors. Additionally, the college is arranging affordable housing, social and educational events, and transportation. Hillsdale College aims to launch the program by next summer.

Ken Koopmans, Hillsdale College’s Executive Director of Career Services, explained to The Star that the growing number of Hillsdale College graduates and opportunities in Nashville inspired the program. Nashville recently landed a top-ten ranking as one of the best-performing cities based on job growth, wage growth, high-tech GDP growth, housing affordability, and household broadband access.

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President Trump Names Dr. Carol Swain Vice Chairman of 1776 Commission

President Donald Trump announced the appointees for the 1776 Commission on Friday, an advisory group to the President on America’s founding principles. The 1776 Commission was formed last month, one day before the election, for the purpose of restoring an accurate understanding of the nation’s founding and history.

The commission will ensure compliance with the celebration of Constitution Day as required by law for all federally-funded educational institutions, and ensure that the departments of education, defense, and state prioritize federal resources in support of the American founding. The commission’s duties also include producing a report on the country’s core, founding principles and their perennial application in the Union; advising and aiding the President and the Semiquincentennial Commission on the 250th anniversary celebration of America’s founding; developing and implementing an award for students accurately versed in the founding; and generally advising or supporting agencies, public initiatives, and public knowledge as they pertain to the American founding.

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Michigan’s Hillsdale College Defies Governor’s Shutdown, Holds Outdoor Commencement Ceremony

Hillsdale College hosted a three-day commencement event despite coronavirus restrictions. The private Michigan college hosted a dinner for graduates Thursday night, a party for seniors Friday night, and an outdoor graduation ceremony on Saturday.

In a statement released in April, Hillsdale College Provost Christopher VanOrman said, “We could not say goodbye to our graduating seniors without celebrating their accomplishments. We look forward to having them return to us for a three-day-long celebration.”

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