don’t go to college to get a job

October 23, 2007 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

My husband and I heard Martin Cothran speak on the topic, Classical vs. Modern Education at Trinity Christian Academy. One of the things he said was,

“Don’t go to college to get a job.”

Some professions, of course, need a specialized education, but colleges do not train for the future. For example, what college predicted the computer revolution? Albert Einstein said that the the most important thing is not knowledge; it is imagination. By giving our children a classical education, they can do anything, be anything.

Cothran’s talk was engaging and I took notes. What I’ve written here are some of the things he said. The goal of classical education is to pass on civilization, to pass on the culture to our children. Every civilization has taught language by learning another language. Latin is a grammar language where word order doesn’t matter, so when you learn Latin, you’re forced to learn grammar because Latin is grammar. Latin is organized, systematic, and it marches in neat rows. In contrast, modern languages are lax and individualistic. English, specifically is a hodge podge, and because it’s such a mess, it’s versatile.

Cothran identified 3 types of education

  • progressivism: Schools should be used to change culture. In this model, students are used for political end. (for example, kids are taught about global warming and they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and they are taught to think that by using a certain kind of lightbulb and using less water, they can save the animals on the other side of the world)
  • pragmatism: The goal is not to change culture, but to fit kids into the current culture. This is anti-intellectualism in American life. Students must choose a career cluster in the 8th grade and then by the time they’re out of high school and want to do something outside of their chosen career, they feel like they wasted all of their high school years.
  • classical: This is a broad education, learning the best that has been thought and said and therefore, kids can do anything. It is studying the liberal arts, the quadrivium of math, geometry, astronomy and music.

politically-incorrect-guide.jpgCothran recommended reading the The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature.
Cothran, who teaches logic and rhetoric at the Highlands Latin School, has published several books with Memoria Press (I use their Prima Latina) He writes about politics, education, books and more on his blog, vere loqui: in defense of the obvious.

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Entry filed under: education, family, homeschooling. Tags: , .

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