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Preparing students for the ‘real’ world

Erin Manning passes along this excellent blog post from a Classics education blog. The writer quotes a passage from Evelyn Waugh, and then:

As I wrote in a recent post, we have all the more reason to teach the Great Books to the Glee generation.  The parents in Waugh’s story are the parents of today, as they have likely been the parents of every age.  They want their children to go to school in order to get a good job that pays good money and comes with health insurance.  This is the reason for the constant rise in Spanish class enrollments, the addition of technology programs, and the demise of cursive writing in the primary schools.  The headmaster in Waugh’s story is the headmaster of today, along with the principal and the school board.

Yet Mr. Scott-King is an unlikely hero, for he has quietly taken his stand and dared to challenge the prevailing misconceptions of his day.  Why on earth would we want to prepare students for the world we see around us?  Do we really want to prepare them to work for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?  Do we really want to prepare them to be successful in the entertainment or sports worlds of today?  Would we not much rather, if we took but a moment’s pause to consider it, prepare them to change those worlds?  Would those who are Christians not much rather prepare them to be the salt and light that Christ commanded us to be?

Judas was well prepared for his world.  Hobbes only thought that life was nasty, brutish, and short.  Consider the ancient world, where there was poor medical care, poor sanitation, and the Romans ruled with the iron gladius.  Judas was well prepared for this world, for he knew that it would take bribery and betrayal to make things happen.  He put to good use the lessons of his education.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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