Education is essential to freedom. Developing the skills necessary to effectively communicate, to convey & receive knowledge through precise speech and the written word is essential to creating and perpetuating civilized community. Cultivating an ability to discern truth through the study and practice of logic, reasoning, and critical thinking engenders a healthy skepticism that compels philosophical & empirical curiosities. Properly delivered, an authentic education develops the ability to seek, recognize, and convey knowledge & information, and ultimately advance the pursuit of truth. If freedom is the liberty to exercise virtue, and education is the means by which we discern truth and virtue from falsehood and vice, then an authentic education is the path to true freedom.
Our Founding Fathers saw this as a grave concern in terms of civic responsibility. Were they successful in founding a new nation that embodied all of their best aspirations, it could only ever hope to persevere by the efforts of virtuous citizens. If evil was not to prevail against their hard work, the nation would require honorable people who were capable of recognizing and performing their civic duties and actively advancing the private sphere in their own professions to create healthy communities that passed on the knowledge and capabilities necessary to perpetuate self-government. As Benjamin Franklin so famously responded when asked what kind of government the delegates created:
“A republic, if we can keep it.“
As a practical matter, to endeavor to educate is not the same as successfully educating, and education can mean different things to different people. One who controls the curricula exerts great influence over successive generations. Ensuring the design and outcome of education results in the development of productive and healthy, civic-minded individuals, ready and able to assume their civic responsibilities should be a high priority of any republic desiring to ‘secure the blessings of liberty, to themselves and their posterity.‘
This being true, an examination of the models of education employed throughout history to empower the individual to think and act freely for themselves, to discern virtue and to act virtuously; learning where these models have worked to produce healthy, capable, and competent free people is for the republican, an existential pursuit.
When and where in time and place did societies succeed at educating the next generation well & properly sufficient to produce men & women capable to advancing an authentic human development resulting in a broad prosperity? How did they do it? The ready answers to these questions should be on the lips of every patriot.
The center for the study and practice of Scholastic Models & Outcomes looks to the past and present to find proven, exemplary practices that develop those skills and abilities of particular interest to the preservation and perseverance of free peoples.