A seemingly overwhelming amount of information inundates 21st century children daily. Classical education, an increasingly popular education model, equips children with reasoning, informal and formal logic, and rhetoric to help them process the surplus of information and arguments. This model dates to antiquity but fell out of fashion over the last century. Thanks to an educational renaissance over the last two decades, thousands of exciting new and revamped educational models, including classical schools, sprung up across the country. Schools with a classical education model argue that the ability to question every source, empowers students to make sense of the endless stream of information around them.
Many schools with a classical learning model teach logic, rhetoric, and grammar while emphasizing Latin and/or Greek language. Because of English’s Latin roots and the sizeable influence of Greek on technical languages such as economics and natural sciences, students well versed in these languages gain a serious potential advantage when it comes time to take the SATs and other standardized tests.
In Florida’s Miami-Dade School District, one charter school implemented a classical model and found extraordinary success. As an independently operated charter school serving mostly Hispanic students, this school leverages the strengths of its community and provides education from Pre-K through 12th grade. Archimedean Conservatory, aims “to provide its students an excellent education with emphasis in the teachings of the two main branches of the 3,000-year-old Greek civilization: The Classical achievements in literature and the arts as they permeate our modern civilization and the art of mathematical thinking as the lifeline and the wind beneath modern science and technology”.
Using this model, Archimedean Conservatory propelled itself to the top of state and national lists for best middle and high schools. In 2017, they ranked 6th out of nearly a thousand middle schools, and 10th out of over 700 high schools in Florida. Nationally, they rank in the top 1 percent for all public schools according to US News and World Report.
Hundreds of classical schools like Archimedean Conservatory exist across the nation. They offer students the opportunity to study using the same rigorous methods employed by the best and brightest lawyers, philosophers, and inventors of the past. Historically, only more affluent students and families received a classical education. Public Charter Schools, as free public schools of choice, however, enjoy increased flexibility and autonomy, which allows them to provide a broad portfolio of public education options. Charter schools provide expanded options and opportunities for students and families with the goal that every student one day attends a high-quality school that fits their needs and interests.
Education needs to prepare students, not for the jobs currently in demand, but for those not yet discovered. This fast-paced world demands a set of skills that many schools simply fail to provide. Fortunately, American innovation continues to yield promising results. Some schools find tremendous success by reimagining old ideas and applying lessons of the past to problems of the present. Naturally inquisitive, children often challenge authority as a part of growing up, but classical education approaches this rebelliousness as an asset. The classical education model embraces western tradition while emphasizing logic, language, and a rigorous liberal education. Classical schools embrace the lessons of history to build an educational foundation in philosophy, mathematics, and classical literature for students today, allowing them to grow into the brilliant thinkers of tomorrow.