As if the chaos surrounding for-profit charter school Grand Traverse Academy isn’t enough to convince you that the charter school fiasco in Michigan is … well, a fiasco, there are plans in the works to open up yet another for-profit charter school in Traverse City. The people responsible for this want to open their school some time in 2015, and just like Pasquale Battaglia down state in Brighton, are basing it on the “Classical” education model offered by Hillsdale College. In fact, they already had a representative from the Barney Classical Education Initiative come up and give them a presentation on their version of a charter school this past summer.
Yes, this is the same Hillsdale College mentioned before that recently came under scrutiny by the state for not enrolling enough “dark ones” at their college, and then took heat for referring to minorities as “dark ones.” Hillsdale College, for not being an actual authorizer, appears to be very invested in opening up as many of these schools as possible.
Classical education is a new buzzword used by conservatives to mean returning education back to some romantic era when students learned things like rhetoric, philosophy, Latin, read the Bible in school and prayed between completing their homework in perfect cursive penmanship. What people seem to not understand is very few people ever enjoyed classical education. It was reserved for the rich elites before effort was made to fund public education so more people could attend school. For example, in Massachusetts during the colonial period of American history only about 1% of male children attended a formal school where Latin was taught, and that was because in Colonial America the only people anyone thought would need to learn Latin were those males who planned on entering three professions as adults: Law, medicine or the ministry. Historian J.L. Bell offers the statistic that in 1765, only 166 male children out of 908 attending schools in Boston were enrolled in the Latin schools, the rest were attending one of the writing schools in the city. The majority of children old enough to attend school were already finished with any education by the time they were ten or eleven; they were either apprenticed and learning a trade, or at home learning how to be a home maker if they were girls. African American children living in Boston at that time have even fewer records of any education they may have received.
So what is the real story behind classical education that is considered to be so superior to anything in the public schools we have now, and why are conservatives so insistent on having these schools? It seems the people who are promoting this kind of school want some way to have a Christian school for their children to attend, and have the taxpayers of the state of Michigan pay for it. This is actually very illegal, but currently it’s happening in a number of schools that receive public funds and if people like Pasquale Battaglia, or in Traverse City, Jane Breederland get their way, there will be more of these schools operating in the state.
Jane Breederland has a degree in communications from Calvin College and used to work as the communications consultant for SEMCO Gas in Port Huron. Now she is in Traverse City working to open a charter school where children will get back to basics learning things like cursive and Latin because “it’s how our Founding Fathers learned.” Classical education is actually conservative Christian education with an emphasis on teaching proper values and character development, something most charter schools love to promote as if they’re the moral high ground compared to government schools that house those kids who are an affront to western civilization.
Once again, any person who believes they’re going to improve western civilization with an education model probably should have good values of their own.
For instance, see Jane question Joe Biden on fiscal responsibility:
See Jane conjecture that any place where delicate ladies might be in harm’s way is no place for ladies.
See Jane insist women have no business at any hearing discussing women’s reproductive rights when they can practice their reproductive rights at home in bed.
See Jane express that almost every resident of Michigan is deeply concerned about the threat of Asian Carp in the Great Lakes, and this should be a priority for the future President “Frothy” Santorum.
See Jane discuss Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Church.
See Jane provide compelling testimony on what she thinks is happening in government controlled schools.
See Jane use an analogy for why being gay is bad.
See Jane completely miss out on irony in a statement to President Obama concerning spending money.
Remember this is a woman who wants Michigan taxpayers to pay for her for-profit charter school that will teach conservative Christian values.
Once again, a conservative Christian who doesn’t seem to know very much about education, but has plenty of opinions about what education should be. My advice to Jane Rodda Breederland and all of the other ed “reformers” out there: Does a heart surgeon tell an airline pilot how to fly a plane? Does an electrical engineer tell a butcher how to butterfly a pork chop? No, because that would be ridiculous for them to do so. Why is it that people with no background in education feel they have all the answers to fix education, and completely leave out the education professionals? It’s just as ridiculous, but for some reason it keeps happening.