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Christless Classical Curricula

May 2, 2024

Christless Classical Curricula by Helen Freeh at The Imaginative Conservative. Classical charter schools have surged in number over the past thirty years in response to the decreasing quality of education and the often-disordered learning environments of American public schools. Aided both by this decline and the abundance of state funding for education, classical charter schools are multiplying across the country. Such expansion has benefited many students and communities while also causing problems for others. Read


Why Should Every High-School Student Read Plato’s Apology? by Jeannette DeCelles-Zwerneman at Cana Academy. Of all the classic texts high-schoolers could read, why does Plato’s Apology hold a place of eminence as one of the must-read classics? No less than Peter Kreeft lists the Apology as one of the most important books of all time. He says Plato’s dialogue not only introduces students to philosophy, it challenges them to do philosophy: that is, to think hard about the issues that make the dialogue urgent and consequential. Read


6 Guideposts for Leading Students to Think Theologically in Difficult Times by Andrew J. Zwerneman at Cana Academy. Theology is a field of knowledge wed to faith—not only the generic faith that undergirds every search for knowledge but the faith that is a spiritual gift bestowed by God on the believer seeking understanding of him. In that alone, it stands in sharp contrast to the fields from which most social analysis derives; and, because it stands apart, it needs special consideration. To help navigate the tricky waters teachers face with their contemporary students, here are six guideposts for leading your students to think theologically—to believe in order to understand, to understand in order to believe. Read


Classroom Ambience by Joseph Bissex at The Heights Forum. In conversation with a group of eighth graders one day, I observed, unsurprisingly, a consensus distaste for institutional education. One honest interlocutor opined that “school is like a prison.”…Two thoughts occur to me. First, why is this kind of discouraging environment standard in educational institutions? Second, what, if anything, can we do to improve it? Read


Pillen Approves Nebraska’s Newest ‘School Choice’ Law as Opponents Weigh Next Steps by Zach Wendling at Nebraska Examiner. Gov. Jim Pillen on Wednesday approved a Nebraska lawmaker’s replacement “school choice” measure as opponents now weigh how they will fight the new law. Legislative Bill 1402, from State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, will devote $10 million to the state treasurer to distribute private K-12 scholarships to prospective students. It also effectively repeals Linehan’s Opportunity Scholarships Act (LB 753) passed in 2023. Read


Chaplains in Public Schools? Florida’s Catholic Bishops ‘Pleased’ by New Law by Matt McDonald at Catholic News Agency. Florida’s bishops are welcoming a new law that allows public schools in the state to have volunteer chaplains. The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, which represents bishops in the state’s seven dioceses on public policy matters, did not take a position on the bill while legislators debated it earlier this year. Read


Franciscan University Rejects Biden Administration’s Transgender Policies in Title IX by Tyler Arnold at Catholic News Agency. Franciscan University of Steubenville will continue to separate its housing, restrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams on the basis of biological sex — rather than self-asserted “gender identity” — despite recent federal changes to Title IX guidelines. The announcement comes after President Joe Biden’s Department of Education issued a new interpretation of Title IX, which states that all prohibitions on sex discrimination will now apply to discrimination based on a person’s self-asserted “gender identity.” Read


Augustine Institute’s New Campus Aims to Become Evangelizing ‘Crossroads’ for Renewal of Church in US by John Lavenburg/Crux at Catholic Herald. Following the purchase of a sprawling new campus in Florissant, Missouri, the president of the Augustine Institute says he envisions not only growth of its graduate program, but for the campus to become a “crossroads” for the renewal of the US Church. Founded in 2005 in Denver, Colorado, as an education apostolate, the Augustine Institute has grown into the nation’s largest Catholic graduate school of theology in the country with over 560 students, who primarily attend the institute online. Over the years and through different ventures, it has also grown into one of the nation’s largest Catholic publishing and media apostolates. Read


Throwback Thursday


Sacrificial Friendship in Charlotte’s Web by Leigh Lowe at Memoria Press. Charlotte’s Web, written by E. B. White in 1952, is a quintessential book for children. While conveying important truths about the nature of people and the world, it is also an imaginative, happy story about life on a family farm. The book gives us a clever glimpse into the lives of our animal friends while beautifully describing nostalgic childhood experiences like attending state fairs, visiting barnyards, and making your first friends. Charlotte’s Web points out what is miraculous in the often underappreciated experiences of everyday life. It exquisitely details the changing seasons of both land and life. While there are a number of meaningful themes in this book, one of the most profound is sacrificial friendship. Read

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