This post is a tribute to Earl Shorris, one of my favorite writers on education who passed away in 2012. I am reprinting the April 16, 2013 Wall Street Journal Book Review of his latest book, The Art of Freedom. This piece was written by Naomi Schaefer Riley.
In The Art of Freedom, Earl Shorris describes his efforts to establish a set of courses that would teach the core texts of Western civilization to people living in poverty, whose school experience had scanted the canon or skipped it entirely.
Almost two decades ago, Earl Shorris, a novelist and journalist, told the editor at his publishing house that he wanted to write a book about poverty in America.
The editor, to his credit, said that he didn’t want just another book describing the problem. He wanted a solution.
So Shorris, who had attended the University of Chicago on a scholarship many years before and who was greatly influenced by its Great Books curriculum, hit upon the idea of teaching the core texts of Western civilization to people living in poverty, whose school experience had scanted the canon or skipped it entirely.
His Eureka moment came when he was visiting a prison and conducting interviews for another book he was planning to write.
He asked one of the women at New York’s Bedford Hills maximum security prison why she thought the poor were poor.
“Because they don’t have the moral life of downtown,” shereplied. “What do you mean by the moral life?” Shorris asked.
“You got to begin with the children . . . ,” she said. “You’ve got to teach the moral life of downtown to the children.
And the way you do that, Earl, is by taking them downtown to plays, museums, concerts, lectures.”
He asked whether she meant the humanities. Looking at him as if he were, as he puts it, “the stupidest man on earth,” she replied: “Yes, Earl, the humanities.”
Poverty, Shorris concluded, was a condition that required more than jobs or money to put right. So he set out to offer the “moral life” as well. Beginning with a class of 25 or so students found through a social service agency in New York, Shorris—along with a few professors he had recruited—taught literature, art history and philosophy. The first classes included readings in Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides and Sophocles.
Thus was born the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which is now the recipient of broad philanthropic support.
It is offered to the poor in more than 20 cities around the United States, as well as in other countries, from South Korea to Canada.
“The Art of Freedom” is a narrative of the program’s founding experience as well as a meditation on the Western classics and their effects on readers.
The book, sadly, appears posthumously. Shorris died last year at the age of 75.
The idea of the Clemente Course—named for Roberto Clemente, the baseball player who gave his name to the Manhattan community center where the course debuted—was to “educate a self-selected group of adults living in poverty,” in classes taught by professors from nearby colleges and universities.
The spirit of the Great Books program was a key part of the idea: There would be no chasing after trendy reading lists or narrow relevance. When Shorris went to recruit students in the South Bronx, in New York City, a white social worker asked him if he were going to teach African history. “No,” he said. “We will teach American history. Of course the history of black people is very important in the development of the United States.”
Over time, Shorris began to add texts from the various cultures where the course was being offered—Native American myths, South Korean novels.
But his focus on the Western classics was refreshingly relentless. He was accused of “cultural imperialism,” but the charge didn’t seem to faze him.
The Clemente Course now taught in Darfur, in the Sudan, teaches John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty.”
Shorris had no patience for mediocrity in his project and insisted on only the best professors to teach Clemente’s classes. When he had to find staff to teach in Chicago, he writes, “neither Chicago State nor the nearby community college . . . were up to the standards of the Clemente Course.”
In the classes he taught, he addressed his students with “Mr.” or “Ms.” He believed that a proper form of address conveys dignity and avoids the kind of casual relationship that most universities want their students and professors to have.
The Clemente Course differs from life at universities in other ways—for instance, by taking the Western classics seriously. How many college graduates have read Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides and Mill?
It also differs in its sense of what the texts can do.
Much of the liberal arts curriculum in universities today is devoted to learning about oppression of one sort or another, but Shorris argued that the study of the humanities is a fundamentally optimistic endeavor.
Not that Clemente texts are routinely cheery or anodyne.
Shorris himself taught Dostoevsky, “the brilliant archeologist who dared to make us look deep into our dark sides.” But Shorris did feel that, by reading and discussing classic texts, life was better or richer in some fundamental sense: more valued, more hopeful, more free.
One way that the humanities can help the poor in particular, according to Shorris, is by making them more “political.
” But, he writes, “I don’t mean ‘political’ in the sense of voting in an election, but in the way Pericles used the word: to mean activity with other people at every level, from the family to the neighborhood to the broader community to the city-state.”
The humanities, he tells his first class, “are a foundation for getting along in the world, for thinking, for learning to reflect on the world instead of just reacting to whatever force is turned against you.”
Shorris recounts the story of a young man in his first class—a 24-year-old with a history of violent behavior—who called him describing how a woman at work had provoked him. “She made me so mad, I wanted to smack her up against the wall.
I tried to talk to some friends to calm myself down a little, but nobody was around.” Shorris asked him what he did, “fearing this was his one telephone call from the city jail.” Instead, he told Shorris, “I asked myself, ‘What would Socrates do?’ ”
This article once again makes the point of how simple and deep education should be. Our efforts at Monticello College are inspired by the work of people such as Earl Shorris, Louise Cowan (a great educator and founding fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture), Viniece Walker (the insightful Bedford prison inmate) and the hundreds of other Liberal Arts advocates who understand the vital necessity of the classics to our culture and our civilization.
Are technology and education merging or fighting each other? This post explores how business development and disruptive innovation impacts education.
15 years ago Clayton Christensen published a best selling book entitled The Innovator’s Dilemma.
Christensen is considered a leader in the field of business development especially in times of vast technological advancement and improvement.
Christensen explores the phenomenon of why firms fail despite being leaders in their market, willing and able to compete with the best, and capable of continuous innovations within their industry.
He explains the differences between what he calls “sustaining technologies” and “disruptive innovations.”
“Sustaining technological changes” are not the problem for leaders in an industry. Time and time again, they showed their ability to compete in the high end of their market, innovating and at times dealing with radical technological changes.
And because these are sustaining innovations, these improvements are almost always best utilized by the firms that already have a prominent position in an industry.
New businesses attempting to compete by means of these sorts of innovations often fail, because the established firms nearly always have more money, more established relationships with clients, a better reputation, and more technological prowess in the market. According to Christensen, “the leaders of an industry don’t fail because they become passive, arrogant, or risk-averse or because they can’t keep up with the stunning rate of technological change.”
Industry giants only face real trouble when it comes to what are called “disruptive innovations” – these are the changes that topple industry leaders.
These are not radical improvements – quite the contrary, disruptive innovations are usually innovations that are either so inexpensive that they open a new market, or start in a niche that the industry doesn’t care about because it’s too small.
Under the radar disruptive technology often grows faster than users’ needs and with time catches up to and surpasses the more high-end or mainstream technologies that are the domain of industry leaders.
An example that has nothing to do with “high tech” comes from the mechanical excavator industry. This industry was dominated by “steam powered,” “cable driven” mechanical shovels until the 1920’s, when gasoline powered engines began to replace them.
This was, however, not a disruptive innovation but a sustaining one. The design of the machines changed radically from that of a steam-powered engine moving a system of cables, to that of a gasoline engine driving a system to extend and retract the cables connected to the bucket.
The new engines were more capable than the old ones, and were better at doing more work more reliably, and cheaper than the old system.
But even though the power source changed and the machine design improved, it was still a cable technology driven machine, so despite the radical change in the industry, the same firms that were strongest in steam shovels stayed on top.
The disruptive change came with the introduction of hydraulics after World War II.
The new hydraulic-actuated systems (replacing the network of physical cables)—a change that eliminated nearly all of the established players by about 1970—opened the door for new untried companies willing to take a chance on this new radical technology.
The first hydraulic-based excavators were less capable than the cable systems that were in existence, and certainly couldn’t compete with them. However, they were small enough that they could be deployed for jobs previously done by hand, opening up a new market, in which the desired attributes were quite different from the big jobs that the cable actuated excavators were used for.
The technology involved in hydraulics continued to improve, however, and with time eventually equaled and then surpassed the needs formerly filled by cable-based systems.
While all of this new innovation was going on, the established firms were still going strong, and didn’t take much notice, if any, of the new technology or the new businesses using it (the newcomers were not considered competition as they could not compete with the big industries existing client base).
Suddenly, so it seemed, (really a period of a decade or two) the new arrivals were “in the midst of the mainstream market.”
By the time the established companies realized what was happening and introduced their own hydraulics it was too late, and the fledging businesses that had appeared to be of no account were better positioned with the new technology.*
Moving from the world of mechanical improvements into our universe of high tech, Clayton Christensen had this to say about disruptive technologies in a March 2013 Wired Magazine interview:
Howe (interviewer): If you had to list some industries right now that are either in a state of disruptive crisis or will be soon, what would they be?
Christensen: Journalism, certainly, and publishing broadly. Anything supported by advertising. That all of this is being disrupted is now beyond question.
And then I think higher education is just on the edge of the crevasse. Generally, universities are doing very well financially, so they don’t feel from the data that their world is going to collapse.
But I think even five years from now these enterprises are going to be in real trouble.
Howe: Why is higher education vulnerable?
Christensen: The availability of online learning. It will take root in its simplest applications, then just get better and better. You know, Harvard Business School doesn’t teach accounting anymore, because there’s a a guy out of BYU whose online accounting course is so good. He is extraordinary, and our accounting faculty, on average, is average.
Howe: What happens to all our institutions of advanced learning?
Christensen: Some will survive. Most will evolve hybrid models, in which universities license some courses from an online provider like Coursera but then provide more-specialized courses in person. Hybrids are actually a principle regardless of industry. If you want to use a new technology in a mainstream existing market, it has to be a hybrid. It’s like the electric car.
If you want to have a viable electric car, you have to ask if there is a market where the customers want a car that won’t go far or fast. The answer is, parents of teenagers would love to put their teens in a car that won’t go far or fast. Little by little, the technology will emerge to take it on longer trips. But if you want to have this new technology employed on the California freeways right now, it has to be a hybrid like a Prius, where you take the best of the old with the best of the new.
Monticello College is certainly not a disruptive technology, nor will we be competing with large universities any time soon. But we are positioned perfectly to take advantage of emerging disruptive technologies and we do occupy a unique niche and employ the hybrid concept creatively.
We believe that just like the bursting of the 2008 real estate bubble, there exists a higher education “tuition” bubble and that over the next five to ten years it will burst creating a real crisis for higher education. Our business model and academic structure is designed to accommodate these coming changes and provide stability and high quality liberal education for decades to come.
*Thanks to www.squeezedbooks.com
Although this philosophy has often been attributed to the creator of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, there is no evidence that he actually penned it. Regardless who the author is, it still makes my point.
In our capacities as fathers and mothers, family protectors, and business decision makers, we all have to measure other people.
We have to judge who to trust, to help us, and who to lead us. Who will I trust with my kids? Who will I do business with? Who do I trust as a political leader? Who do I trust for investment advise?
The list goes on. What I am really saying is that we have to make judgments about others everyday.
The question is what criteria are we using when we make these judgments?
In the quest to build leaders it is easy to say that we want them to have impact in society, to make a difference, to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” Ok, I agree with that, but what character qualities, what skills, what disciplines do we want to inculcate in these future leaders to achieve the desired “change?”
What follows is the philosophy of Charles Schulz (or someone else).
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4 Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, few of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
And we seem to be little effected by these momentary achievements.
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Identify 2 mentors who helped to open the doors of life for you.
7. Recall one act of kindness that forever changed your perspective on life.
The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are almost never the ones with the most credentials, the most money…or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.
In fact, I submit that people who make a positive difference in your life are probably making a positive difference in the lives of others at the same time. Good people are usually good to everybody.
These criteria should also apply to our leaders. High achievement is contagious and helps to raise the standard for all of us, so yes when possible we want our leaders to be the best in their fields, but we also need leaders who are not afraid to admit mistakes, we need leaders who genuinely care for others, we need leaders who are charitable in their private lives, we need leaders who are truth and principle driven, and who are self-deprecating and humble.
“Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be [their] rulers . . .”
It is time we reexamined this whole leadership thing.
After all, we are the ones who decide who we are going to follow—a basic requirement for leadership.
So if we get to decide who the leaders are why are we choosing so many bad leaders?
Or maybe bad leadership is not the issue here. Maybe bad choosing is the real problem.
When we choose leaders, are we more concerned about what is in their hearts or are we more interested in what is in their wallet and how much that will benefit us?
When we choose leaders do we care more about how they think or who they know?
When we choose leaders are we more interested in what they do when few are looking or do we value the intuitive skill of smelling out a good photo op?
Again I say, it is time we reexamined this whole leadership thing.
We have spent considerable space in these posts discussing education, particularly the liberal arts.
This post is dedicated to the lesser known side of our curriculum—the manual arts.
Manual arts are not something that the average American thinks about in the 21st century.
But a hundred years ago, the vast majority of Americans were engaged in the manual arts everyday.
In fact, excluding the last 60 years of developed nations, manual arts were the reality for nearly the entire global population. Even now, most of the seven billion inhabitants on earth engage in the manual arts daily.
Without the manual arts, most of what we enjoy almost unconsciously, would not exist. In our high-tech, synthetic, and artificial world, we have reached a “roman” sense of existence—the only difference from then to now—we just have more sophisticated slaves.*
In a very thought-provoking article by Oliver DeMille, The Future of American Education: 8 Trends Every Parent Should Understand, DeMille gives us a glimpse of what we have become:
Since 2001 a number of social commentators have noted that as a society we are outsourcing more and more of the things that were typically done by families (one of the best works on this is The Future of Business by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich).
For example, the following list includes things done almost entirely by families in the year 1900:
Reading Bedtime Stories
Taking Care of Animals
The list has changed in the past century, and the victim has been the family. Perhaps the “Big 5” on the list are:
Childcare, which has been outsourced, especially in urban America, to professional childcare institutions.
Food Preparation, which has been outsourced to fast food and pre-packaged meals. For example, 1999 was the first year in which expenditures in the U.S. for fast food exceeded expenditures for groceries.
Entertainment, which used to consist of families reading together or activities like group picnics and outings. Today, even when families are together, they usually sit facing away from each other toward a television, movie screen, or sporting event.
Teaching Religion, which was once seen as the role of parents with the preacher lending a helping hand, is now almost entirely outsourced to the pastor or Sunday school teacher or to some secular alternative.
Education, which historically was overseen by parents who hired and evaluated teachers and did much of the instruction themselves, has now been almost fully outsourced to “the experts.”
Another huge trend, which already has drastic consequences that are only beginning to be understood, is the outsourcing of counseling between husband and wife (discussion of their fears, anxieties, worries and fondest dreams) to expert counselors.
Perhaps the 54% divorce rate in the U.S. is connected to this; as Allan Bloom** pointed out in 1987, people live, sleep and sometimes eat together, but they don’t think, dream and work together toward a common goal in the same way that our grandparents did. This delegation of intimacy to the experts may yet be the biggest trend of all.
And what is the impact of using videos or DVDs in the place of reading bedtime stories to toddlers? The outsourcing of our families and the things only families can do well is a growing trend, and a very sobering commentary on the future of our society.
Historians might compare it to the fateful practice among French women in the 1750s-1780s of not nursing their own children—of instead turning them over to wet nurses. Few would argue that this was the only cause of the bloodbath and societal fall in the French Revolution in the 1780s, but almost everyone agrees that this was a significant part of it.
So, with all these duties being outsourced, what is left that only the family can do? According to the new economy – nothing. The leading view today is that “It Takes a Village,” that even love can be outsourced to teachers, coaches, clubs, and mentors.
The truth is that it does take a village, a community, but a community of families working, playing, cooperating and facing obstacles together, not a community of government institutions.
This idea of outsourcing seems to be a national pastime, albeit there does appear to be a small underground resurgence of the manual arts illustrated by websites such as theurbanfarmingguys.com.
One of the reasons we have disowned the use of the manual arts is due to the steady progression of technology. The advent of labor saving devices (LSDs) has improved our lives in many ways. It has also been the underlying source of a whole host of sedentary lifestyle diseases. Where is the balance?
Labor saving devises or the greater concept of saving labor has an interesting history.
From the advent of the Industrial Revolution, saving labor changed the world from mere survival to producing a cash crop beyond subsistence or allowing a farmer increased discretionary time for more favored pursuits.
By the 1970s the workingman was able to produce much more with a fraction of the backbreaking labor required a century before which stabilized into a 40-hour work-week…increasing discretionary time even further.
It also freed the American housewife of many undesirable chores, and like her spouse, freed up significant “my time”…but to what end?
If it was to allow them to relax a little more, no harm down. If it permitted more time to give to others or to develop talents that would be good too, but unfortunately for most of people, it led to their less ambitious side with copious amounts of time being devoted to the latest entertainment and diversion– Television– late morning and afternoon soap opera TV series such as the “Dark Shadows” or “General Hospital”, and time devouring shows such as “The Price is Right.”
It allowed them more time to engage in recreation and entertainment on the weekends, often ignoring family, relationships, and service to neighbors, and expanding into long weekends which monopolized the traditional Sabbath for non-Sabbath day activities.
By the 1990s we were thoroughly absorbed by a numbing consumerism, life had gotten pretty easy so labor saving was really no longer the goal, but keeping up with the “Jones,” and securing the latest fashions or gadget, or the newest car, or a bigger house was—this really exploded with the advent of computer technology, gaming, and home entertainment from the late 1990s to the present.
The latest chapter in our American LSDs story is resulting in skyrocketing obesity— 70% of all adults and 30% of children in America suffer from poor health and diseases not seen two decades ago.
According to Popular Mechanics (2011), every man should possess certain basic manual art skills.
They provided a list for men to become more manly, clearly an indication that males no longer possess these skills.
Removing anything on the list that was technology related, I am including the remaining 16 manual arts that the modern man has apparently lost:
1. Sharpen a knife
2. Patch a radiator hose
3.Frame a wall
4. Back-up a trailer
5. Build campfire
6. Use an ax properly to chop wood
7. Fix a dead outlet
8. Navigate with a compass and map
9. Fillet a fish
10. Get a car unstuck
11. Paint a room
12. Mix concrete
13. Clean a gun
14. Change oil in a car (and know that the filter needs to be changed too)
15. Paddle a canoe
16. Fix a bike flat
While writing this post, my 22-year-old daughter looked over my shoulder, saw the topic and stated that of her closest 15 male friends ( ages 20-30) only one had competency with all the items on this list. Things that four decades ago any self-respecting man did himself–only specialists can handle today.
Today there are 184 million active facebook users in America (that’s 60% of our entire population) spending more than two hours a week on facebook, but if you factor in all online activities (all social media, all gaming, all youtube viewing and other online videos, etc) the percentage sky rockets to almost 25% of our awake time.
For the average American over the age of 16 that can be as much as five hours a day, every day or the equivalent of an entire work week per month. This does not include texting, and playing games on our iphones.
This is all time wherein we are distracted from our loved ones, our community and our social responsibilities.
How do we not see that this is a monumental waste of our national resource of labor, not to mention a decline of our national character?
We are so far removed from reality that we even believe that we can get a sense of the plight of the third world farmer through playing a video game!
LSDs and the specialization of the consumer age has not only made us inept to care for ourselves, it has driven the cost of living many times over what it was just fifty years ago. Are our lives really better and more satisfying now compared to the 1940s?
Working as a youngster on a dairy farm in the mid 1970’s, I worked along side sixty year-old men who never had high cholesterol and very little arthritis. They had no weight problems (a little pudgy—they were in their sixties) and were active in every other way. They could put in a 12-hour day of hard farm work as easily as I could. Yet today I see countless 30-something men who are overweight, soft, and would likely expire at the thought of hard physical labor. What has happened to us?
We have forgotten the enjoyment of using our hands, the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from “doing it ourselves” and the security of self-sufficiency. We have forgotten that human beings are still needed for the most basic necessities of life—food still grows in the ground and must be harvested, fruits still needs to be picked from the tree, cloth is still manually fed into the sewing machine, and fossil fuels and natural resources are still wrenched from the earth— by hand.
Not having personal experience in the manual arts is one level of losing our humanity and threatens civilization—not remembering that someone is practicing the manual arts right now—is a much deeper and catastrophic failure.
We believe that every congressman, every police officer, every corporate CEO, every surgeon, every diplomat, every teacher, every real estate agent; every American citizen would make better decisions, have better morals, and lead happier lives if they were more engaged in the manual arts. In fact, we challenge our reads to do just that– find ways to more deeply engage in the manual arts.
The manual arts are a natural cure for egoism, self-deception, and obesity. The manual arts are an instinctive remedy for a troubled mind and eliminate the need for sleep aids. The manual arts will increase health, vitality, and improve your view of the world. The manual arts enhance our powers of observation and appreciation.
Many of the manual arts involve dirt or soil or being outside in the fresh air—it is spiritually grounding and emotionally balancing.
Some of the least stressed and happiest people I know are masters of the manual arts.
*At the peak of Roman culture there were seven slaves for every roman citizen. The Romans had for the most part completely shunned the manual arts, becoming increasingly dependent on slave labor and the importation of their food supply. We have reached a similar existence. We are becoming more and more dependent on exports and even the manual labor done in this country is emotionally and culturally relegated to a certain segment of our population.
** Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom
A March 9, 2013 Wall Street Journal article entitled “Doing a Texas Two-Step Around Educational Reform” once again brings to the forefront the fundamental discussion of “what is education and why?”
The article begins by summarizing the recent decision of over 800 Texas School Boards to lower high school graduation requirements.
Mr. Charles Cook, a co-author of this piece, makes the simple claim that decreased graduation requirements lead to decreased learning expectations, which lead to ignorance of the world we live in and failure as a nation:
Ever-lower expectations lead to one predictable outcome: a profound ignorance of the world among young people in an era when international events and evolving fiscal and trade policies have a personal impact on communities, businesses, and individuals in every corner of the U.S.
Citing the 2008 report “Still At Risk: What Students Don’t Know, Even Now,” Cook points out that its not just jobs that we should be concerned about but the greater concept of citizenship:
Allowing young people to graduate as historical or geographical illiterates is myopic for another reason. Training them for getting jobs is not good enough; graduates of public schools are also citizens. Ask any physician today whether politics impacts his livelihood.
Cook, the CEO of Responsive Ed, which operates sixty charter schools in Texas, then goes on to give an overview of the education for citizenship:
We have a different approach to equipping students to face the future, one that has the weight of millennia of human experience behind it: a rigorous classical education. Such an education (called liberal-arts at the college level) does not shortchange math and science. On the contrary, those subjects are studied with more rigor than can be seen in today’s public schools.
Students also learn the fundamentals of English grammar; American and World history through the reading of primary documents; and the great stories of human struggle and yearning told by the greatest storytellers Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Melville.
They study the principles of liberty and self-government as articulated by the Founding Fathers and the ennobling beauties found in painting, sculpture, and song. Yes the children have to learn Latin, too, just as the Founding Fathers did, because that language gives the greatest insight into the vocabulary and grammar of our own tongue and the Romance languages, including Spanish.
Cook, then articulates what is on the mind of most every employer and what every employee entering the workforce should pay close attention to:
Certainly America needs as many engineers and computer scientists as the country requires in the 21st century. But that does not describe what lies ahead for the vast majority of young people entering the marketplace.
The most common complaints of American employers are that job applicants and recent hires lack communication skills and higher-level thinking skills. More plainly, many applicants cannot read a memo, they cannot express themselves in speech or in writing, they lack the ability to think through difficult problems.
We think that students who have been taught to write forcefully by studying Shakespeare and Tom Paine, who have learned to speak by studying the speeches of Cicero and Abraham Lincoln, who have learned to think through difficult problems by studying the Constitution through an analysis of the Federalist Papers, and who revel in the rigors of Latin grammar will have no difficulty in reading the boss’s memo.
Training Young people in the liberal arts and science also will better prepare them to become the “boss” when it is time for the present cohort of bosses to retire. Those on the front lines of hiring employees in this state see the need for a classical education.
Cook ends the article with this pointed paragraph:
Jobs do not create the human mind; the human mind creates jobs. As a result, the very best education—the kind the Founding Fathers had—is what will produce good workers and good citizens. The challenge for those who want to eliminate testing in world history and geography or the other subjects in Texas is to explain how students are prepared for a global economy when they are not required to learn anything about either the globe or the economy.
Thanks to my friend Pam O’Dell of New York who continues to scour the WSJ for pertinent articles.