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Like other philosophers, Aristotle expects the explanations he seeks in philosophy and science to meet certain criteria of adequacy. Unlike some other philosophers, however, he takes care to state his criteria for adequacy explicitly; then, having done so, he finds frequent fault with his predecessors for failing to meet its terms. He states his scheme in a methodological passage in the second book of his Physics:. One way in which cause is spoken of is that out of which a thing comes to be and which persists, e.
In another way cause is spoken of as the form or the pattern, i. Further, the primary source of the change and rest is spoken of as a cause, e. Further, the end telos is spoken of as a cause. This is that for the sake of which hou heneka a thing is done, e. A bronze statue admits of various different dimensions of explanation. If we were to confront a statue without first recognizing what it was, we would, thinks Aristotle, spontaneously ask a series of questions about it. We would wish to know what it is, what it is made of , what brought it about , and what it is for.
According to Aristotle, when we have identified these four causes, we have satisfied a reasonable demand for explanatory adequacy. More fully, the four-causal account of explanatory adequacy requires an investigator to cite these four causes:. In Physics ii 3, Aristotle makes twin claims about this four-causal schema: Each of these claims requires some elaboration and also some qualification. As for the necessity claim, Aristotle does not suppose that all phenomena admit of all four causes. Thus, for example, coincidences lack final causes, since they do not occur for the sake of anything; that is, after all, what makes them coincidences.
If a debtor is on his way to the market to buy milk and she runs into her creditor, who is on his way to the same market to buy bread, then she may agree to pay the money owed immediately. Although resulting in a wanted outcome, their meeting was not for the sake of settling the debt; nor indeed was it for the sake of anything at all. It was a simple co-incidence. Hence, it lacks a final cause. Similarly, if we think that there are mathematical or geometrical abstractions, for instance a triangle existing as an object of thought independent of any material realization, then the triangle will trivially lack a material cause.
In non-exceptional cases, a failure to specify all four of causes, is, he maintains, a failure in explanatory adequacy. The sufficiency claim is exceptionless, though it may yet be misleading if one pertinent issue is left unremarked. By this he means the types of metal to which silver and bronze belong, or more generally still, simply metal. That is, one might specify the material cause of a statue more or less proximately, by specifying the character of the matter more or less precisely. Hence, when he implies that citing all four causes is sufficient for explanation, Aristotle does not intend to suggest that a citation at any level of generality suffices.
He means to insist rather that there is no fifth kind of cause, that his preferred four cases subsume all kinds of cause. He does not argue for this conclusion fully, though he does challenge his readers to identify a kind of cause which qualifies as a sort distinct from the four mentioned Phys. He does not rest content there, however.
Instead, he thinks he can argue forcefully for the four causes as real explanatory factors, that is, as features which must be cited not merely because they make for satisfying explanations, but because they are genuinely operative causal factors, the omission of which renders any putative explanation objectively incomplete and so inadequate. Because he thinks that the four aitia feature in answers to knowledge-seeking questions Phys. Generally, Aristotle does not respect these sorts of commitments.
Thus, to the extent that they are defensible, his approach to aitia may be regarded as blurring the canons of causation and explanation. It should certainly not, however, be ceded up front that Aristotle is guilty of any such conflation, or even that scholars who render his account of the four aitia in causal terms have failed to come to grips with developments in causal theory in the wake of Hume. For more on the four causes in general, see the entry on Aristotle on Causality. Together, they constitute one of his most fundamental philosophical commitments, to hylomorphism:.
In general, we may focus on artefacts and familiar living beings. Hylomorphism holds that no such object is metaphysically simple, but rather comprises two distinct metaphysical elements, one formal and one material. Among the endoxa confronting Aristotle in his Physics are some striking challenges to the coherence of the very notion of change, owing to Parmenides and Zeno. Thus, when Socrates goes to the beach and comes away sun-tanned, something continues to exist, namely Socrates, even while something is lost, his pallor, and something else gained, his tan.
If he gains weight, then again something remains, Socrates, and something is gained, in this case a quantity of matter. Accordingly, in this instance we have not a qualitative but a quantitative change. In general, argues Aristotle, in whatever category a change occurs, something is lost and something gained within that category, even while something else, a substance, remains in existence, as the subject of that change.
Of course, substances can come into or go out of existence, in cases of generation or destruction; and these are changes in the category of substance. Evidently even in cases of change in this category, however, something persists. To take an example favourable to Aristotle, in the case of the generation of a statue, the bronze persists, but it comes to acquire a new form, a substantial rather than accidental form. In all cases, whether substantial or accidental, the two-factor analysis obtains: In its most rudimentary formulation, hylomorphism simply labels each of the two factors: Importantly, matter and form come to be paired with another fundamental distinction, that between potentiality and actuality.
Again in the case of the generation of a statue, we may say that the bronze is potentially a statue, but that it is an actual statue when and only when it is informed with the form of a statue. Of course, before being made into a statue, the bronze was also in potentiality a fair number of other artefacts—a cannon, a steam-engine, or a goal on a football pitch.
Still, it was not in potentiality butter or a beach ball. This shows that potentiality is not the same as possibility: So, given these various connections, it becomes possible to define form and matter generically as. Of course, these definitions are circular, but that is not in itself a problem: The second premise is a phainomenon ; so, if that is accepted without further defense, only the first requires justification. The first premise is justified by the thought that since there is no generation ex nihilo , in every instance of change something persists while something else is gained or lost.
In substantial generation or destruction, a substantial form is gained or lost; in mere accidental change, the form gained or lost is itself accidental. Since these two ways of changing exhaust the kinds of change there are, in every instance of change there are two factors present. These are matter and form. For these reasons, Aristotle intends his hylomorphism to be much more than a simple explanatory heuristic.
On the contrary, he maintains, matter and form are mind-independent features of the world and must, therefore, be mentioned in any full explanation of its workings. We may mainly pass over as uncontroversial the suggestion that there are efficient causes in favor of the most controversial and difficult of Aristotle four causes, the final cause. Since what is potential is always in potentiality relative to some range of actualities, and nothing becomes actual of its own accord—no pile of bricks, for instance, spontaneously organizes itself into a house or a wall—an actually operative agent is required for every instance of change.
This is the efficient cause. These sorts of considerations also incline Aristotle to speak of the priority of actuality over potentiality: The operation of some actuality upon some potentiality is an instance of efficient causation. By contrast, most think that Aristotle does need to provide a defense of final causation. It is natural and easy for us to recognize final causal activity in the products of human craft: Nor is it a mystery where artefacts obtain their functions: The ends of artefacts are the results of the designing activities of intentional agents.
Aristotle recognizes these kinds of final causation, but also, and more problematically, envisages a much greater role for teleology in natural explanation: He thinks, for instance, that living organisms not only have parts which require teleological explanation—that, for instance, kidneys are for purifying the blood and teeth are for tearing and chewing food—but that whole organisms, human beings and other animals, also have final causes.
Crucially, Aristotle denies overtly that the causes operative in nature are intention-dependent. He thinks, that is, that organisms have final causes, but that they did not come to have them by dint of the designing activities of some intentional agent or other. Although he has been persistently criticized for his commitment to such natural ends, Aristotle is not susceptible to a fair number of the objections standardly made to his view.
Indeed, it is evident that whatever the merits of the most penetrating of such criticisms, much of the contumely directed at Aristotle is stunningly illiterate. To anyone who has actually read Aristotle, it is unsurprising that this ascription comes without an accompanying textual citation.
For Aristotle, as Skinner would portray him, rocks are conscious beings having end states which they so delight in procuring that they accelerate themselves in exaltation as they grow ever closer to attaining them. In fact, Aristotle offers two sorts of defenses of non-intentional teleology in nature, the first of which is replete with difficulty.
He claims in Physics ii The argument here, which has been variously formulated by scholars, [ 21 ] seems doubly problematic. In this argument Aristotle seems to introduce as a phainomenon that nature exhibits regularity, so that the parts of nature come about in patterned and regular ways. Thus, for instance, humans tend to have teeth arranged in a predictable sort of way, with incisors in the front and molars in the back. Hence, he concludes, whatever happens always or for the most part must happen for the sake of something, and so must admit of a teleological cause.
Thus, teeth show up always or for the most part with incisors in the front and molars in the back; since this is a regular and predictable occurrence, it cannot be due to chance. Given that whatever is not due to chance has a final cause, teeth have a final cause. The argument is problematic in the first instance because it assumes an exhaustive and exclusive disjunction between what is by chance and what is for the sake of something.
But there are obviously other possibilities. Hearts beat not in order to make noise, but they do so always and not by chance. Second, and this is perplexing if we have represented him correctly, Aristotle is himself aware of one sort of counterexample to this view and is indeed keen to point it out himself: Aristotle in fact mentions many such counterexamples Part. It seems to follow, then, short of ascribing a straight contradiction to him, either that he is not correctly represented as we have interpreted this argument or that he simply changed his mind about the grounds of teleology.
Taking up the first alternative, one possibility is that Aristotle is not really trying to argue for teleology from the ground up in Physics ii 8, but is taking it as already established that there are teleological causes, and restricting himself to observing that many natural phenomena, namely those which occur always or for the most part, are good candidates for admitting of teleological explanation.
That would leave open the possibility of a broader sort of motivation for teleology, perhaps of the sort Aristotle offers elsewhere in the Physics , when speaking about the impulse to find non-intention-dependent teleological causes at work in nature:. As Aristotle quite rightly observes in this passage, we find ourselves regularly and easily speaking in teleological terms when characterizing non-human animals and plants. It is consistent with our so speaking, of course, that all of our easy language in these contexts is lax and careless, because unwarrantedly anthropocentric.
We might yet demand that all such language be assiduously reduced to some non-teleological idiom when we are being scientifically strict and empirically serious, though we would first need to survey the explanatory costs and benefits of our attempting to do so. Aristotle considers and rejects some views hostile to teleology in Physics ii 8 and Generation and Corruption i. Once Aristotle has his four-causal explanatory schema fully on the scene, he relies upon it in virtually all of his most advanced philosophical investigation.
As he deploys it in various frameworks, we find him augmenting and refining the schema even as he applies it, sometimes with surprising results. One important question concerns how his hylomorphism intersects with the theory of substance advanced in the context of his theory of categories. As we have seen, Aristotle insists upon the primacy of primary substance in his Categories. According to that work, however, star instances of primary substance are familiar living beings like Socrates or an individual horse Cat.
Yet with the advent of hylomorphism, these primary substances are revealed to be metaphysical complexes: Socrates is a compound of matter and form. So, now we have not one but three potential candidates for primary substance: The question thus arises: Is it the matter, the form, or the compound? The compound corresponds to a basic object of experience and seems to be a basic subject of predication: Still, matter underlies the compound and in this way seems a more basic subject than the compound, at least in the sense that it can exist before and after it does.
On the other hand, the matter is nothing definite at all until enformed; so, perhaps form, as determining what the compound is, has the best claim on substantiality. In the middle books of his Metaphysics , which contain some of his most complex and engaging investigations into basic being, Aristotle settles on form Met. He expects a substance to be, as he says, some particular thing tode ti , but also to be something knowable, some essence or other.
These criteria seem to pull in different directions, the first in favor of particular substances, as the primary substances of the Categories had been particulars, and the second in favor of universals as substances, because they alone are knowable. In the lively controversy surrounding these matters, many scholars have concluded that Aristotle adopts a third way forward: This matter, however, remains very acutely disputed. Very briefly, and not engaging these controversies, it becomes clear that Aristotle prefers form in virtue of its role in generation and diachronic persistence.
When a statue is generated, or when a new animal comes into being, something persists, namely the matter, which comes to realize the substantial form in question. Even so, insists Aristotle, the matter does not by itself provide the identity conditions for the new substance. First, as we have seen, the matter is merely potentially some F until such time as it is made actually F by the presence of an F form. Further, the matter can be replenished, and is replenished in the case of all organisms, and so seems to be form-dependent for its own diachronic identity conditions.
For these reasons, Aristotle thinks of the form as prior to the matter, and thus more fundamental than the matter. This sort of matter, the form-dependent matter, Aristotle regards as proximate matter Met. Further, in Metaphysics vii 17 Aristotle offers a suggestive argument to the effect that matter alone cannot be substance.
Let the various bits of matter belonging to Socrates be labeled as a , b , c , …, n. Consistent with the non-existence of Socrates is the existence of a , b , c , …, n , since these elements exist when they are spread from here to Alpha Centauri, but if that happens, of course, Socrates no longer exists. Heading in the other direction, Socrates can exist without just these elements, since he may exist when some one of a , b , c , …, n is replaced or goes out of existence.
So, in addition to his material elements, insists Aristotle, Socrates is also something else, something more heteron ti ; Met. Hence, concludes Aristotle, as the source of being and unity, form is substance. Even if this much is granted—and to repeat, much of what has just been said is unavoidably controversial—many questions remain. For example, is form best understood as universal or particular?
However that issue is to be resolved, what is the relation of form to the compound and to matter? If form is substance, then what is the fate of these other two candidates? Are they also substances, if to a lesser degree? It seems odd to conclude that they are nothing at all, or that the compound in particular is nothing in actuality; yet it is difficult to contend that they might belong to some category other than substance.
For Aristotle, in fact, all living things, and not only human beings, have souls: DA a13, a20—6; De Part. It is appropriate, then, to treat all ensouled bodies in hylomorphic terms:. Further, the soul, as the end of the compound organism, is also the final cause of the body. Minimally, this is to be understood as the view that any given body is the body that it is because it is organized around a function which serves to unify the entire organism.
Aristotle contends that his hylomorphism provides an attractive middle way between what he sees as the mirroring excesses of his predecessors. In one direction, he means to reject Presocratic kinds of materialism; in the other, he opposes Platonic dualism. He gives the Presocratics credit for identifying the material causes of life, but then faults them for failing to grasp its formal cause.
By contrast, Plato earns praise for grasping the formal cause of life; unfortunately, he then proceeds to neglect the material cause, and comes to believe that the soul can exist without its material basis. In his view, to account for living organisms, one must attend to both matter and form. Aristotle deploys hylomorphic analyses not only to the whole organism, but to the individual faculties of the soul as well.
With each of these extensions, Aristotle both expands and taxes his basic hylomorphism, sometimes straining its basic framework almost beyond recognition. He takes it as given that most people wish to lead good lives; the question then becomes what the best life for human beings consists in. Because he believes that the best life for a human being is not a matter of subjective preference, he also believes that people can and, sadly, often do choose to lead sub-optimal lives.
In order to avoid such unhappy eventualities, Aristotle recommends reflection on the criteria any successful candidate for the best life must satisfy. He proceeds to propose one kind of life as meeting those criteria uniquely and therefore promotes it as the superior form of human life. This is a life lived in accordance with reason. When stating the general criteria for the final good for human beings, Aristotle invites his readers to review them EN a22— This is advisable, since much of the work of sorting through candidate lives is in fact accomplished during the higher-order task of determining the criteria appropriate to this task.
Once these are set, it becomes relatively straightforward for Aristotle to dismiss some contenders, including for instance the life of pleasure. According to the criteria advanced, the final good for human beings must: Plainly some candidates for the best life fall down in the face of these criteria.
According to Aristotle, neither the life of pleasure nor the life of honour satisfies them all. What does satisfy them all is happiness eudaimonia. Still, as Aristotle frankly acknowledges, people will consent without hesitation to the suggestion that happiness is our best good—even while differing materially about how they understand what happiness is.
So, while seeming to agree, people in fact disagree about the human good. Consequently, it is necessary to reflect on the nature of happiness eudaimonia:. In determining what eudaimonia consists in, Aristotle makes a crucial appeal to the human function ergon , and thus to his overarching teleological framework. He thinks that he can identify the human function in terms of reason, which then provides ample grounds for characterizing the happy life as involving centrally the exercise of reason, whether practical or theoretical. Happiness turns out to be an activity of the rational soul, conducted in accordance with virtue or excellence, or, in what comes to the same thing, in rational activity executed excellently EN a— Strikingly, first, he insists that the good life is a life of activity; no state suffices, since we are commended and praised for living good lives, and we are rightly commended or praised only for things we do EN b20—a Further, given that we must not only act, but act excellently or virtuously, it falls to the ethical theorist to determine what virtue or excellence consists in with respect to the individual human virtues, including, for instance, courage and practical intelligence.
Aristotle concludes his discussion of human happiness in his Nicomachean Ethics by introducing political theory as a continuation and completion of ethical theory. Ethical theory characterizes the best form of human life; political theory characterizes the forms of social organization best suited to its realization EN b12— The basic political unit for Aristotle is the polis , which is both a state in the sense of being an authority-wielding monopoly and a civil society in the sense of being a series of organized communities with varying degrees of converging interest.
Rather, he advances a form of political naturalism which treats human beings as by nature political animals, not only in the weak sense of being gregariously disposed, nor even in the sense of their merely benefiting from mutual commercial exchange, but in the strong sense of their flourishing as human beings at all only within the framework of an organized polis. The polis is thus to be judged against the goal of promoting human happiness.
A superior form of political organization enhances human life; an inferior form hampers and hinders it. Aristotle considers a fair number of differing forms of political organization, and sets most aside as inimical to the goal human happiness. For example, given his overarching framework, he has no difficulty rejecting contractarianism on the grounds that it treats as merely instrumental those forms of political activity which are in fact partially constitutive of human flourishing Pol.
In thinking about the possible kinds of political organization, Aristotle relies on the structural observations that rulers may be one, few, or many, and that their forms of rule may be legitimate or illegitimate, as measured against the goal of promoting human flourishing Pol.
I Came, I Saw, I Translated
Taken together, these factors yield six possible forms of government, three correct and three deviant:. The correct are differentiated from the deviant by their relative abilities to realize the basic function of the polis: Given that we prize human happiness, we should, insists Aristotle, prefer forms of political association best suited to this goal. Necessary to the end of enhancing human flourishing, maintains Aristotle, is the maintenance of a suitable level of distributive justice.
Accordingly, he arrives at his classification of better and worse governments partly by considerations of distributive justice. He contends, in a manner directly analogous to his attitude towards eudaimonia , that everyone will find it easy to agree to the proposition that we should prefer a just state to an unjust state, and even to the formal proposal that the distribution of justice requires treating equal claims similarly and unequal claims dissimilarly.
Still, here too people will differ about what constitutes an equal or an unequal claim or, more generally, an equal or an unequal person. A democrat will presume that all citizens are equal, whereas an aristocrat will maintain that the best citizens are, quite obviously, superior to the inferior. Accordingly, the democrat will expect the formal constraint of justice to yield equal distribution to all, whereas the aristocrat will take for granted that the best citizens are entitled to more than the worst.
When sorting through these claims, Aristotle relies upon his own account of distributive justice, as advanced in Nicomachean Ethics v 3. That account is deeply meritocratic. He accordingly disparages oligarchs, who suppose that justice requires preferential claims for the rich, but also democrats, who contend that the state must boost liberty across all citizens irrespective of merit.
The best polis has neither function: Still, we should also proceed with a sober eye on what is in fact possible for human beings, given our deep and abiding acquisitional propensities. Given these tendencies, it turns out that although deviant, democracy may yet play a central role in the sort of mixed constitution which emerges as the best form of political organization available to us.
Inferior though it is to polity that is, rule by the many serving the goal of human flourishing , and especially to aristocracy government by the best humans, the aristoi , also dedicated to the goal of human flourishing , democracy, as the best amongst the deviant forms of government, may also be the most we can realistically hope to achieve. Aristotle regards rhetoric and the arts as belonging to the productive sciences.
As a family, these differ from the practical sciences of ethics and politics, which concern human conduct, and from the theoretical sciences, which aim at truth for its own sake.
Because they are concerned with the creation of human products broadly conceived, the productive sciences include activities with obvious, artefactual products like ships and buildings, but also agriculture and medicine, and even, more nebulously, rhetoric, which aims at the production of persuasive speech Rhet. If we bear in mind that Aristotle approaches all these activities within the broader context of his teleological explanatory framework, then at least some of the highly polemicized interpretative difficulties which have grown up around his works in this area, particularly the Poetics , may be sharply delimited.
Verstraete In nearly all Latin primers for universities and colleges, the student is guided through the grammar in a gradual and incremental manner. Typically, with nouns the first two declensions come first, along with the use of the nominative and the accusative case, and with verbs the first conjugation and perhaps the second as well, together with the present indicative active, while the student is given her first taste of the fact that Latin, unlike English, is a highly inflected language.
The basic pedagogy is really not all that different from primers directed to pre-college students except that the material is covered at a much faster pace, so that one year of university Latin equals two, three, or even four years of Latin at the secondary school level. This is a good choice. Four years ago in the Archdiocese of Washington, D. Jerome , a failing school for students pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
Jerome had to come up with a solution or be one of hundreds of parochial schools across the nation to be closed. This page document has detailed objectives for each grade, moral qualities to be acquired and reading lists. Jerome would desire truth, understand courage, modesty and prudence and understand what difference God makes to all the facets of the world. Jerome is a thriving classical academy with quotes about chivalry and other virtues on the hallway walls. The Word was made flesh here. The school is bursting at the seams, with applications for this coming fall, when it plans to increase enrollment to Rania Rosborough, a doctor who sends three of her children to St.
Jerome, said she was less-than thrilled with the instruction she got from public schools while growing up in Maryland.
She and her husband wanted more for their kids. She liked how the school trains kindergartners about ancient Egypt, first-graders about ancient Greece and second-graders about the Roman Empire, onward through history. Theresa, students attend classes in buildings designed by ecclesiastical architect Duncan G.
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The Doric columns, airy atrium and white-and-green terrazzo floors import Mediterranean classicism onto the Texas prairie. When his pre-K-through-fifth-grade school starts again in the fall, it will have students. Kids who understand grammar have a better chance of being writers. Each year, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools compares the SAT scores of classically educated students with national statistics. The class of averaged in reading, in writing and in math, scores much higher than the national average.
Of those students, The idea is catching on with parents and educators alike. Some school systems have adopted classical models in public charter schools. It's ranked in the country on U. In the Phoenix area, there is Great Hearts Academies , a network of 16 public charter classical schools. One of the "philosophical pillars" on its site states: And Hillsdale College, a private, liberal arts institution in southern Michigan, is starting up classical charter schools around the country with funding from the Barney Family Foundation.
Our children memorize reams of grammar, Scripture, history facts and chants; things people don't bother to do any more," said Seth Drown, dean of academic affairs for Augustine School in Tennessee, where enrollment has increased every year for the past decade. Most people think education is about the first one on that list. But knowledge is just the platform for the other two. It's when you step back and look at the big picture, that is when meaning gets attached to learning.
And that is what we all desperately want. What do you think? Would you consider a classical education curriculum for your child? We are non-sectarian based classical model of education. We have an incredible school for preschool through high school that teaches kids how to love to learn and think critically.
Our kids come out of this school prepared to handle whatever direction they choose in life. While we are not a super tech school we do feel that technology is important and are thinking of ways to present both. Teach a child to read I'm curious as to why you can't have both the iPad and a classical education. I learned how to write Caligraphy in the art room from a 85 year old nun and learned how to navigate DOS from a 26 year old teacher. Heck right now Rossetta Stone, the language learning computer program, has a Latin course I think.
Technology doesn't have to take away things from the classroom, it can in fact add to it. The problem is standards of conduct, respect of teachers, and politicians not understanding the difference between knowledge and understanding, have all plummeted. I'd like to see this same method be tried in the inner city areas of the country. It's easy to teach students that want to learn and whose parents have a vested interest in them. Most schools need adaptive teaching styles and the ability to inspire students to learn.
Trust me, that 85 year old Caligraphy teaching nun did not inspire much. This isn't about stone tablet learning vs. The basic point in this quote is well-taken, but let's not spread misinformation about Plato to make it. My kids attend parochial school and are doing well. I wish I lived near a classical school because I can see how my 10 grader son would have done really well there. They attend the same school I attended. I went on to college in the biological sciences and did better than many of my classmates due to my foundation in science in grade school and high school yes, parochial schools teach modern sciences and my understanding of spanish and a little latin made all those scientific terms easier to understand.
As an administrator in a public school I can honestly say that all of you are both right and wrong. Unfortunately, articles like this one tend to focus on one facet of the educational system. Technology is a tool, nothing more. As a former math teacher, I am angry that standards have completely defined the scope and sequence of a course. I would routinely ask other teachers why topics, concepts or processes were not covered in prerequisite courses. Their response was always, "it's not a power standard.
I also applaud public school teachers for continuing to struggle through this process and try to give all students, not just those screened and selected, a quality education. Those of you who attack schools and teachers need to understand we have been handcuffed by politicians as to what we can cover and how long we can spend on a topic.
If you need proof then search for your state education web site and then search for Common Core Standard or something similar. Print them out and then compare and contrast the curriculum with the private school's curriculum. Remember, public schools are bound by ed code to teach the standards. I wonder what the population of special needs children is at these schools. Also, how are students with discipline concerns handled? A couple of questions.
What is the primary job of a politician? What significant contributions to our society have politicians made in the last 20 years? As the mother of classical christian-educated girls, who started in "good" public schools, I had no choice but to be forced into finding a better option than what local public schools offered my girls.
Prior to this experience, I always thought people who paid a lot of good money to send their kids to private school were crazy, especially in "good" school districts. I don't think it was the public school's fault initially, but they did not handle the situation well, which made it exponentially worse.
They are very limited in what they are allowed to do anymore and are forced to educate everyone by certain ridiculous, standards. Oh, and teachers can't be fired??? Unfortunately, for us that meant they had to educate the extreme bully that assualted my daughters an many others.
Our family and others were threatened by the bully's family. They told me that it wasn't really a problem 3 families moved from the school over this! For me that was just enough. I could not tolerate feeling like I might throw up when I had to set foot in my kid's school. And I didn't think it was healthy to want to hurt people their either the bully's mom was hired to work in the school after the principal was very aware of our situation.
We made a major lifestye adjustement in the face of a recession to make classical christian education happen for my kids. Only after administrators refused our request to try to sent our kids to another school in the district. I also just had a great experience working with the public school special ed process for my private schooled daughter. I finally got something for my tax dollars! I don't think public school vs. They can work beautifuly together. However, I needed to keep my kids safe. I am glad I found a private classical christian school to teach them in ways they could never have experienced in public school.
Everything we went through turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Public school is what it is good and bad , but for families that went through what we did, its nice to have other options. As a former administrator in a public school district, I couldn't agree more with you. The vitriol directed at public schools and teachers astounds and appalls me. Standards are set by legislative bodies, voted in by the very citizens who abuse public ed.
When that happens, the whole dialogue about education can change. When educators; private OR public, are free to teach according to their calling and, truly, the needs of each child are taken into account from remedial to acceleration , education will change. If the student is unable to pass an entrance exam to enter the school, then maybe that student needs tutoring until they can pass it. Why shouldn't classical educators expect all their students to be able to keep up intellectually?
I couldn't attend these schools, myself, as I know I do not have the intellectual capabilities. It wouldn't be fair to anyone to let a student go there who wasn't on the same intellectual level as most of the other students. It wouldn't even be fair to the student, themselves. These schools have certain standards as they should. One thing I would have hoped to see from a career educator is the use of the paragraph to separate your ideas and not come off as rambling. People need to pause when they read something to allow a new start for a different thought process. I just graduated from a classical homeschool co-op called Classical Conversations.
The last four years of school were an incredible experience as my friends and I explored deep issues and grew together. It's really true that the classical model trains minds to think, reason, and debate. As I get older, I find many of my peers to be incapable of holding an intelligent discussion, or absolutely inarticulate when it comes to defending something they care about. I've read the classics, studied art and music, and through it all, glimpsed the potential that mankind has for excellence.
It's sad to see the level of apathy and acceptance of mediocrity that many people, young and old, have today. I'm just one voice, but I can say for sure that Classical Conversations is the major reason why I care at all. I can't recommend classical education enough. My child attends a Classical Education charter school in Minnesota.
Being a charter school gives it the best of both worlds IMHO ; it is free like a public school, and not rooted in religion like a parochial school. My son spent 7 years in the public school system, bored to tears. They teach for the standards on the State and National tests, because that is in large part how they maintain funding.
These were very good public schools, in very good metro suburbs. In a class of students, they rarely had time left over for the few kids at the top. My son was intrigued by the classical education curriculum, and was excited at the opportunity to study Latin. Classical Education does NOT mean outdated education. Eagle Ridge Academy has a wonderfully diverse curriculum. The school balances the arts, literature and history with math and science. He just finished Physics as a 10th grader, as well as his 4th year of Latin. Latin may be a dead language; however, learning the structure and rules of Latin, his grasp and use of proper English has increased tenfold.
It has also made learning German a breeze, and next he wants to tackle Mandarin. He and his fellow students engage in lively discussions, moderated by the teachers, and they must substantiate their arguments or be quickly overruled. They have been taught to think, to analyze, to compare and to contrast diverse ideas. Every other test requires actual written work, be it a geometry proof or an essay answer. There are no multiple guess questions at ERA. Am I worried about cutting edge technology? He lives in a world of technology, and he uses his tablet, his smart phone, his cloud and his computer for his schoolwork and leisure activities like any other 15 yr old.
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Plato and iPads can coexist wonderfully, if you have an open mind. The problems I have with your "free" charter schools are these: This means public schools have a disproportionately higher amount of special needs and troubled kids — which by law they MUST teach and they MUST show progress for — and they have less funding to do it with. Go ahead, brag about your charter school education. Just remember you've taken away from your public school students to achieve it. So you would deny a child who has been blessed with a sharper mind, who is bored in school, and whose parents see more potential, the right to a "Classical Education" because yours can't do that for some reason.
Why must everyone accept that the government is the one taking the money from your school to put somewhere else The school my grandchildren attend is funded through Hillsdale College and a family trust Don't just assume where the money is coming from. Our local public school district attempted to separate students into three groups below average, average and above average ability to learn.
What a firestorm that started! I had never realized that every student is above average and brilliant So the district went back to the same old same old. We have achieved declining mediocrity! The trivium as the basis of the liberal arts is about free thinking not closed minds and can therefore enable the criticism as well as acceptance, or degrees thereof of any orthodoxy. I am the author of Trivium 21st Century currently on sale in the UK, due to be published in the US in September available on amazon here: The comments criticizing this article only illustrate the need for a classical education that teaches children to think and not regurgitate "facts" a la modern spin doctors on political "news" shows.
The key component of classical education is it teaches one how to reason logically. If you understand the early Greek philosophers you would understand my statement. And what does this have to do with iPads? You could have easily said Children choose Plato or Bubble Gum. I feel like many of the commenters did not understand the article they read. A classical education teaches kids to think for themselves. It teaches them to question. Ever hear of the Socratic method? It's a well tested theory of education that goes back centuries and has nothing to do with filling in bubbles on a standardized test.
All those Facebook and Google geniuses studied the classics and had a Montessori education. Our family sent all four of our children through classical, Christian schools. Two went on to work for the President of the United States, one is a helicopter rescue pilot and two are married to Air Force Academy grads. But, more importantly, they are people who know how to think for themselves and make a contribution to their generation and their culture Part of their success is the classical training, but their character comes from the Christian training.
I delivered newspapers at first to pay for their tuition and then leaned how to teach Latin to help pay for their education. These schools got off the "modern education" failing treadmill that enriches school consultants and textbook companies and went back to what worked for thousands of years in western civilization that produced some of the greatest thinkers in the world. I can't recommend more strongly to get your kids out of government schools as fast as you can. Get a paper route — it's worth it!
You comment feels like you would be completely ignorant of that rich philosophical discussion. Classical schools are oriented to always ask the question behind the more obvious questions and or stated assumptions. Religion doesn't hurt philosophical inquiry; it fuels it.
Secular schools have jettisoned philosophy as well as religion because the two go hand in hand. Especially now with our politically correct multicultural secularism—its to scared to ask any hard questions because it doesn't want to offend. It has given up the idea of truth entirely As someone who loves religiously based classical education, its the public schools that look like mindless indoctrination to me. Of course i don't fault—like you seem to be doing—any educational system for its in-ductive qualities: What I find objectionable is an induction into a mindless "shame culture" which has lost its way from our cultures' long heritage of rational discourse.
It's better to discuss the origins of the universe from the perspective of scientific knowledge than to argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Classical and Christian are not necessarily the same thing. Actually I don't understand why they are being lumped together since a classical education has nothing to do with Christ and everything to do with questioning, not accepting dogma I would love my child to get a classical education, however, not at the expense of going to a "Christian" school.
We can read Plato and Socrates ourselves thank you. You can't separate them completely, because the truths of the classical works parallels Christian belief. I homeschooled my son in 9th grade and used a Christian-Latin science program as part of the curriculum. After about six weeks into the program, when we studied the chapter on what a great Christian Sir Isaac Newton was and read about the concept of "gravitrons", I skipped ahead to see if this sort of nonsense was part of the chapter's test, and if it was at all related to thinking about real science.
It wasn't, and we dumped the program. So much for Christian-Latin version of science. Not only did that particular program NOT utilize the Socratic method the very foundation of Science , it made no mention of the concept of Scientific Theory. I'm a professor at a large state university. I wouldn't design a curriculum and pedagogy exactly like the one described here. It would be more "modern" in several respects. I would want more science and a basic introduction to statistics and probability that would prepare for college. However, what is described here is so far superior to what students in public schools receive these days that I would recommend this kind of education to anyone, and I would prefer it for my own children.
The schools are lost—jerked around in every conceivable way by federal and state governments. The students are assessed incessantly, and the assessment industry controls way too much of what happens to children. The education schools are intellectual wastelands; often their entire curriculum is stipulated by agencies external to the school itself. The kind of education that is described here is not easy to get without special supervision and teaching. Much of what is taught in schools these days is accessible through other media. The most important variable overall remains the individual teacher, and the morale in the schools is so low these days, and teachers have such little autonomy anyway, that there is not much ground for hope there.
It would be interesting to know more about the experience of teachers in these programs. I absolutely agree with you! I went to public school through high school and was bored silly. I attended a Jesuit college, however, and studied the classics I was a Classical Studies major. Talk about an eye-opening experience. I read philosophy, learned Latin and Classical Greek, learned to appreciate art and music.
I went there for a Renaissance education and I got one. Then I went to law school, passed the bar and became a practicing lawyer. My college education is with me every day in the form of logic training and an expanded world view. This kind of background is golden and creates a truly educated person. Not to be left out, but this is also a big movement in homeschooling as well.
Book 1 of Plato's Republic: A Word by Word Guide to Translation (Vol. 2: Chapters 13-24)
These kids aren't going to fall behind in technology, they are still kids. We haven't adhered to the whole train of thought, but we do love incorporating a LOT of good literature into our learning. And for those who think Plato is irrelevant, just turn your mind to this quote from The Republic: Our education as a nation has suffered directly because of technology and the reliance on it to do the job of the teachers. Teachers can not figure out why kids are doing poorly, so they are trying to teach kids multiple ways to do the same things before any of those ways has actually sunk in, confusing the kids.
Teacher's spend more time printing out "lessons" from the internet, and then sending kids home with it instead of teaching it in class. They spend more time creating "presentations' to display on fancy apple mac's or ipads in the classroom believing that their silly slideshows and video montage's some how do a superior job of teaching then a traditional teacher in a classroom. They expect parent's to pick up their slack. I have news for teachers: You are paid to teach, not parents. It is your responsibility to teach our children that is why we send them to you.
Teach them to read, write, and do math. That's all they need. They don't need a video wall. They don't need iApps. They shouldn't be spending so much time using technology. Not until their basic building blocks have been built. There's plenty of time in middleschool, highschool, or at home for them to use technology. And if you teacher's think you're teaching kids "how to use computers" in the process, you're silly. None of what you're teaching them translates to them knowing "how to use a computer". You're pointing your finger at the wrong people.
The only reason teachers use technology, and video presentation, and the like are because the are forced into doing so by the districts that they teach in. The school districts are spending piles of money on technology for the classroom and the teachers are being forced to use it. What do you want to do, drop your kid off everyday and, well, you're done! Even the best school in the nation has an expectation that parents will be working with the children at home, exposing them to culture, reading, etc.
Parents like you are what is wrong because you lay all the responsibility at the school's doorstep and take none of it yourself. I really hope that you are not involved in teaching your children how to spell! Ranting against schools but not being able to write a proper plural form of "parent," among many other mistakes — how should I take your points seriously? That money pours in because the government doesn't want children to think. It wants to create a generation of automatons that won't question authority.
The future can only be saved by our children and they must be taught the truth and given the wisdom to stand fast in an era of lies. Sounds like good preparation for a career looking for an answer to the eternal question "Do you want fries with that? Thank you for choosing McDonalds drive thru. Would you like to try a hot apple pie with your extra value meal today?
It's funny you are critical of what people learn at these schools, because apparently you can't read very carefully.
English Bible History: Timeline of how we got the English Bible
Did you miss the part in the article that said "Each year, the Association of Classical and Christian Schools compares the SAT scores of classically educated students with national statistics. I don't remember what my SAT scores were, but I'm not sure they are relevant. Any education biased by religious"facts" is inherently faulty.
Why bother with Greek philosophers? If their philosophers were any good, would their economy be like it is today? Well Cat, maybe the problem is that modern movers and shakers didn't study those philosophers. Plato in the second grade?? Sign my future kids up!! Though I notice that these schools seem to all be parochial. I wonder if any exist that don't rely on a religious foundation. As someone who will bring up her children non-religious, I'd love to enroll them in a "classical" school without also being taught religion as truth. If the parents do their job and don't rely on the schools to educate their children there will be no problem coming up with the next generation of critical thinkers.
The content is different but the methodologies. I have been teaching like this in Canada for the last 15 years. Sorry, but nothing ground-breaking here You've been teaching Latin, logic and rhetoric in Canadian public schools the last 15 years? And I don't mean a chapter in a social studies book, but actually studying these subjects on their own. If so, good for your school! It IS new around here. He meant the Methodology, the how to think stuff. I can see why you're confused about this teacher's comment Latin is by no means useless. Want a solid vocabulary? Want to be able to piece together the meaning of text in half the languages you'll be exposed to?
A grounding in Latin shows you the incredible dynamism and elegance of language. Add in some classical Greek, and suddenly most scientific and medical jargon makes some degree of sense to you even without direct training in those fields. It really does open doors and let you peek behind the curtain of rote memorization and the dull surface-appearance of things that most people limit themselves to. I'd definitely want my child to go to a Classical school. The tech stuff I can teach after school, but the critical thought and ethics, values? That right there is priceless. Getting a classical education is great, but somewhere in the curriculum there should be some mundane subjects that explain the difference between multiplication and division, and how to balance a checkbook.
This article does not exhaust the material taught in classical education. Do you seriously think these kids are getting into Georgia Tech and the Academies engineering schools and don't know this? Both my sons go to a classical school, my 3rd grader is mastering basic algebra and my Pre-Kindergartner is already learning basic addition and subtraction.
And no "funny math tricks" they are learning it by memorizing math facts and the concepts behind how math works. The most important factor for any child's education, more than having he latest tech or "classic" curriculum, whether its public school, private school, homes school, is having parents with higher education and higher incomes.
Parents make it happen. The biggest problem I see with this article is that the author is a specialty in religious studies and education so naturally there's going to be one side to this. The world is moving in a new direction, not to say some aspects of classic learning are awful, but denying what is moving things in this world forward is also putting on blinders to advancements for mankind. If you educate a child for the world that is, he will be unprepared for the world that will be. Teach a child to think and he can adapt as time passes and technology changes.
Damien - "The world is moving in a new direction" The question is, Is it the right direction, for whom, and how do we know? Those are questions that only a classical education can prepare a student to ask - and answer,. Income has nothing to do with anything. I know wealthy parents who aren't involved in their child's education, and I know homeschooling parents with very little money who turn out well educated children.
I'm in Chicago, and statistically speaking, income has A LOT to do with everything — particularly education and future success. Overall, the US education system is pretty jacked up, but I don't know of another place where it's more on display than at Chicago Public Schools. Though it is much easier for a child from a wealthy family to get an exceptional education, it is possible for anyone.
As an example, I'll tell you my story. My parents have taken out loans from many people and banks, so they could send me to a private school that gives me a classical education. In no way is my family wealthy. I'm now being challenged for the first time in my school career, and I'm learning more than I could have even imagined before coming to this school. I'm reading books in my class that would normally be read three years later in public school.
If a parent wants to send their child to a good school, they will make it happen. I teach at one of the schools mentioned above and you might be surprised to hear that we teach five or six different views of the origin of the universe, and endorse none of them. Instead, we strive to teach kids the basic facts regarding all the views and how to ask questions and decide for themselves. Kids write essays which compare and contrast the different views rather than learn to praise one view as "enlightenend" and the other as "moronic.
Classical schools teach philosophy, and not agendas. This is what separates the movement from schools whose pedagogical methods derive from John Dewey's thought—whether they be religious or secular. This is a method of pedagogy, not an agenda. I wish I went to one of these schools. I was so obnoxiously bored in grade school. I was a smart kid what happened since then, I don't know and wasn't challenged at all. Unlike public schools, classical schools actually teach their children to think. Which means they are open to teaching ALL ideas, not just the handpicked ideas that the gov't chooses to force down our children's throats.
I guarantee you classical students study a lot more non-Christian religions than public school students too.
European science in the Middle Ages
I homeschool using the Classical method and all sciences are covered. BOTH sides for argument's sake are presented and given to the student to make up their own mind. Also, this method of teaching children need not have any particular religion attached. We follow a Christian Latin text because of the pronunciation differences, otherwise we are non-denominational. For those wondering about math: My daughter is going into ninth grade and is up to algebra II. The math program we have used all along includes practical math, i.
Balancing your checkbook, etc. Evolutionary theory is the only one supported by evidence. The other arguments are based on things like an argument from ignorance "we don't know how it got that complex, so God must have done it" or basically an argument from authority or popularity "a lot of people have a different idea, so that idea deserves to be considered" , which are basically logical fallacies that have no impact on how likely the idea is to be true.
This is not to say that evolutionary theory has complete answers and explanations to all of the questions, but I think it is a mistake to "teach the other side" just because the other side exists, and to adopt the idea that all viewpoints are worth equal weight — they're not, and the point of logical thought, critical thinking, and evidence is to sort out which ones are worth considering.
If the child asks WHY the other sides aren't presented — that's a good question and it deserves an answer. But I think it would be doing them a disservice to waste time in the classroom "teaching" intelligent design or what-have-you as an "alternative" to evolution. It is at Ridgeview. Please feel free to check out our website: I think that iPads are of little importance to worry about, you use it, you don't, whatever. But the curriculum is brilliant. It works with the mind and disciplinary policies that keep kids in line. It encourages critical thinking, something public schools discourage at heart-I have a blog about it, but it gets political, so I won't say everything, I don't want to start that.
The best parts of this school-at least in my mind, is encouraging thinking for yourself-and thinking well, and then discipline. If you walk into a random classroom at my school, you will see how important discipline is-its essential in every sense of the word. I hope you're not hinting that you are a teacher. It terrifies me that someone with your lack of grammar skills is teaching our children. I'm sure, Loubies, that you're truly an intellectual tyrannosaurus, but, the problems are with punctuation, not grammar.
What a ridiculous article. The reason schools use iPads is because in the long run they are a lot cheaper than textbooks.