It’s undeniable that today’s education system has problems. Evidences of declining academics and behavior are everywhere in the schools.
But coming face to face with this reality leaves us with a big question: what do we do to right the ship? Furthermore, what does good education look like?
Author and educator David Hicks provides an interesting answer to these questions in his book Norms & Nobility.
“The logic of democracy… demands that everyone be educated as members of an elite. Each student in a democracy must be educated as an aristocrat. Democracy assures him of the unique privileges of an aristocrat: the freedoms of thought, expression, movement, and worship, as well as the rights to own property and to have a voice in framing the laws by which he and his children will be governed.”
However, today’s typical American student has come to view these things as absolute rights, rather than privileges to be enjoyed and responsibly conserved and cultivated. And that is where the problem lies. Hicks offers a different course:
“Education, therefore, must impress on the citizen a lively sense of the responsibilities attending these privileges: his responsibility to the past, his obligation to govern and discipline himself, to contribute in every way he can to the preservation and development of his society’s purpose and sense of values, his duty to love the law and to carry himself before his compatriots in an exemplary manner, and the opportunity to use his leisure for the realization of his marvelous human potentials.”
Would we see better education results if more schools instilled these values and ideas in American students?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.