- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (November 12, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1581343841
- ISBN-13: 978-1581343847
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Case for Classical Christian Education Paperback – November 12, 2003
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About the Author
Douglas Wilson (MA, University of Idaho) is a pastor, a popular speaker, and the author of numerous books. He helped to found Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, and is currently a senior fellow of theology at New St. Andrews College. He blogs regularly at DougWils.com.
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The authors approach is a kind of 95 thesis for public education, that is, he is not interested in repairing public education but rather in building a Christian education that is in keeping with the best of educations of the past. As a matter of fact, what he calls for is a Christian 'paideia' or Christian upbringing that would involve not just the schools but all of society. That isn't likely to happen anytime soon, though he makes the case for it being the ideal. To be fair, he suggests that the first Christians were too busy dodging persecution to worry about a 'paideia of God' but as they grew in power, they eventually earned the luxury of being able choose the kind of education everyone received. Clearly, today's leaders in education do not have Christian values in mind; quite the opposite is true, so does that mean we are more like those being persecuted than those who got to choose? The author would suggest we start our own schools where we have control over pedagogy. His assertion is that history has taught us how to teach effectively, but we have abandoned it in favor of progressive ideals that simply have not produced results. Educators have been promising new and better results for decades in spite of the fact that scores and our ranking in the world continue to drop. At what point do we abandon progressive ideals and go back to what works? If there is any hope in fixing public education, that is a question we will have to address.
Overall, there are a number of points where I disagree with this author, but his argument against the current state of education, as well as his history of the development of education from the time of the Greeks, was extremely informative and well worth the read.
Path: Wilson explains the current situation of education in the States, worse than you may imagine. He then explains how we have gotten there, divorcing facts from morality. At this point he gives a possible solution, returning to a classical education based upon God and His revelation to man. This does not mean that all that is studied is the Bible, but that all things studied are taken in relation to the Scriptures.
Sources: As noted in his preface, his citations of his other works “were included in an attempt to tie various strands of this work together, and not because I really wanted to increase my footnote appearance batting average” (11). Needless to say, he quotes himself quite a bit. He also regularly references C. S. Lewis, John Milton Gregory, and Dorothy Sayers.
Agreement: I agree that much of our current educational system is a joke. I agree with his desire to address all subjects with a view to Scripture. His canonical book list was helpful. His view on extracurricular activities and education was valid. There was much in this book that I whole heartedly agreed with - and most of it was delivered with his usual wit.
Disagreement: I don’t believe that all parents who send their children to public schools are idiots or heretics. I don’t agree that dyed hair is of the Devil, or portable cd players for that matter.
Personal App: I have been given the responsibility to educate my child.
Favorite Quote: “On the other side, equally extreme, are those who are dangerously close to sacrificing a heifer to the great god Football in their next halftime celebration. Given the quasi-religious fervor that grips many of these people, it is surprising that the Supreme Court has not yet struck down high school football programs as a clear violation of the so-called separation of church and state” (163).
It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.