Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Liberal Education, Part Three

This Sunday the Chicago Tribune had an article about "Un-schooling", which is a variant of "home schooling" but is much less structured. The article was semi-interesting but this paragraph really caught my eye, when a "traditional" teacher was taking these "Un-school" activists to task (her name was Jill Fox, an education professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, per the article):

"It's one thing to allow children to choose to study Amelia Earhart before studying Harriet Tubman, with the clear understanding that both will be studied thoroughly during the school year. It is another thing to allow children to study Muhammad Ali and completely skip over what the state standards or district curriculum requires".

There you have it, in a nutshell, why our debate of a liberal arts education is off the mark. Look at the CORE individuals that this "education professor" has cited as critical for our students to "study thoroughly".

Now remember, any three names could have been selected for this "example". Ms. Fox selected these individuals because any education establishment individual would obviously understand, at a glance, how important it is that the students learn about these individuals.

Of all the people you'd pick, at a glance, these three wouldn't be in the top fifty or one hundred if you were trying to select impactful or important people in history. What about Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine? Or Abraham Lincoln? Or Martin Luther (the original one, who started the reformation)? Or William Shakespeare?

Of course, none of these people qualify, off the bat, because they are white males and it is patently obvious to anyone involved in liberal arts of today (not our idealized liberal arts that we discussed in previous posts) that all white males are irrelevant to the discussion, except perhaps as an example of "what not to do" or in order to recognize the horrors that they have caused to whales, forests, etc...

The liberal arts of today is basically an indoctrination, with a few notable exceptions. The indoctrination is extremely liberal, even socialist. Look at the forced resignation of Summers, the leader of Harvard University. Alan Dershowitz, an extreme liberal (by most standards) even defended Summers. Other blogs have piled on this issue far earlier and better than I would have but it is instructive of the total environment today.

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