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Objective vs. Classical Education

Lisa VanDamme

Presented at: OCON 2004

Date: Jul 10, 2004

For nearly a century Progressive education has dominated American schools. As a result, generations of students have graduated ignorant of history, unfamiliar with the classics of literature and unable to write clearly. In recent years the growing number of parents seeking a superior education outside the school system have turned to a different movement: "classical education."

The classical approach to education has many virtues. Advocates of classical education urge the importance of a rigorous academic education. They promote the "Great Books" of the Western tradition. They value the legacy of Greece and Rome and encourage a patriotic appreciation of the Founding Fathers and the United States. They stress the importance of writing skills, from grammar to logic and rhetoric. And they advocate a grand-scale, philosophic perspective on the world. Is classical education, then, the ideal sought by Objectivists?

No! answers Mrs. VanDamme, who discusses not only the virtues of classical education, but also its fundamental and rarely identified flaws.

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