1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A New School -- Suggested Reading

A few of us in the Denver area are looking at starting a new public charter high school. The basic idea of the school is one that takes the needs of the human heart seriously. Those needs can be stated as follows: the need of truth, beauty, goodness, justice, and total self-satisfaction. The goal of such a school as the one we envision is not merely "college preparation" but preparation for a more human life.

Here are some texts that I have found helpful in thinking about a new kind of school:

  • Luigi Giussani, The Risk of Education

  • Jean Daneilou, Prayer as a Political Problem

  • Christopher Dawson, The Crisis of Western Education

  • Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue

  • Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

  • Neil Postman, The End of Education

  • Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

  • Hank Edmondson, John Dewey & The Decline of American Education

  • Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture

  • David Schindler, Heart of the World, Center of the Church

The first thing to be noted that several of the texts are not primarily about education, but culture. But as Giussani says somewhere, the terms are synomous. We take it as axiomatic that an educative proposal is also a cultural proposal.

Is it possible for a public charter high school to operate with philosophical sources such as the above? Time will tell. Over the next few weeks I will provide commentary on how some of these texts relate to a public (in the richest sense of the word) high school.

-- PPB

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