“The best service that can be rendered to a Country, next to that of giving it liberty, is in diffusing the mental improvement equally essential to the preservation, and the enjoyment of the blessing.”
James Madison, 4th President of the United States
“Advice to My Country,” edited by David Mattern, University Press of Virginia, 1997
Souter: Republic is lost, unless . . . civic education improves.
In a speech at Georgetown University Law Center today (5.20.09), retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter made a powerful plea for re-educating the American public about the fundamentals of how government works. The republic, Souter said, “can be lost, it is being lost, it is lost, if it is not understood.” He cited surveys showing large majorities of the public cannot name the three branches of government, something he said would have been unheard of when he was growing up in rural Weare, N.H. What is needed, Souter said, is nothing less than “the restoration of the self-identity of the American people.”
“Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. . . . We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“So from my perspective, the modern secular university has abandoned both the pursuit of classical learning and the development of character. That’s why they’re particularly dangerous places today, and it’s why Christian students must be well grounded before they go there. And this is also why I so strongly support the Christian classical education movement that is beginning to spread across the country. It combines, you see, the two historic goals of a liberal education: the cultivation of knowledge and the cultivation of character. It shows us the continuum in the intellectual history of the West that goes back to the Greco-Roman era and, therefore, enables us to better understand our own postmodern era. If we cut ourselves off from the past, we can’t understand the present. And it’s particularly critical, in my mind, for Christians to understand the philosophical and cultural currents that have shaped our society.”
*[In 1994 there were only ten classical Christian K-12 schools in the United States. Today there are 220 serving 33,000 students. Graduates routinely score much higher than average on scholastic achievement tests and the vast majority go on to successful careers in higher education.]