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The Best and Brightest?

Jan 11, 2024

The Best and Brightest? by Randall Smith at The Catholic Thing. [I]t would probably be better if we told young people—and by this, I mean especially young people given the privilege of a college education—that they are not “the best and brightest.” That honor is something they will have to earn out in the world, by caring for others, doing things of value, and serving God and neighbor. Right now, they are just big balls of potential. Whether they’ll ever amount to much depends on whether they learn anything of value; master any important skills and virtues, including mastering their own passions and appetites; understand themselves and their fellow citizens better; and gain the experience they need out in the world, including the experience of recovering from mistakes and failure. Read


What Can You Do with a Liberal Arts Degree? by Julian Kwasniewski at One Peter Five. We see the liberal arts as humanizing—making their practitioners better at using their human faculties. Consequently, graduates of liberal arts colleges like the ones mentioned aren’t heady, effete intellectuals whose study fails to prepare them for the “real world.” Alumni are rather in possession of uniquely strong skills such as excellent communication, reasoning ability, and above all a coherent set of thoughtful principles to give them direction in life. In comparison to “hard skills” such as graphic design, welding, or investment theory, such soft skills are much harder to acquire and are prerequisites for being a good learner in other disciplines. Read


How to Get Better Teachers in America’s Schools by Kevin Roberts at The Daily Signal. Twenty years ago, when I was hiring teachers for the private K-12 school I founded, I knew better than to recruit certified teachers. From my previous work as a college history professor, I know that the people least prepared to teach a subject are education majors. Requiring an embarrassingly low minimum of credit hours to be certified to teach a subject—just four courses in some states—education majors encounter the least substance and rigor, but the maximum of racialist theory and left-wing ideology in their program. If my new school was going to succeed in teaching at the highest levels, then I would have to find subject-matter experts with a heart for teaching. That’s what we did—and what thousands of schools across this country do, because of the humiliating, yet expensive, reality of teacher licensure. Read


Only The Orthodox Will Survive by Robert Benne at First Things. [A] serious Christian school must have high standards of hiring. It has to have an explicit, orthodox Christian mission and it has to hire administrators, faculty, and staff for that mission. It has to have a fully informed and committed board that insists on those things happening. Without that there will be a slow accommodation to secular, elite culture. Indeed, if a college or university has swallowed that ideology whole, orthodox Christianity will move out as it moves in. Read


What Parents Can Do About TikTok by Mark Bauerlein at First Things. The Center for Countering Digital Hate reported in a study that in the United States, when thirteen-year-olds set up new TikTok accounts, they were shown suicide content within 2.6 minutes and eating disorder content within eight minutes. This stands in stark contrast to the Chinese version of TikTok, where children are limited to forty minutes a day on the app and shown content like science experiments, museum exhibits, and educational videos. Read


Throwback Thursday


The True Method of Higher Education by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. at The Catholic Thing. I recently saw an American report on the “success” of higher education in this country. The criterion used the average salary of graduates from the different disciplines. This criterion was used to indicate the better and the worst “majors” in a college curriculum, at least for making money. But if this financial standard is to be used as the norm for judging the nature or importance of “higher” education, for advising students as to what to study, then we might as well close the shop and turn everything into a training school. Read

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