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Rachel Campos-Duffy shined a spotlight on the success schools like Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, are having with classical education Feb. 4.
Founder and CEO of the Classic Learning Test (CLT) Jeremy Tate described on Fox & Friends Weekend how classical education is giving many American colleges and universities an edge.
Tate appeared on the show a weekend before he guest-taught a session of Benedictine’s leadership class on Monday, Feb. 6. The college’s president, Stephen D. Minnis, leads the class with Dean of Students Joseph Wurtz.
“Jeremy is doing amazing things for classical education,” Minnis said. “The message he is bringing to the media is exactly what we have seen here at Benedictine College.”
The Feb. 4 show began by citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics showing enrollment in colleges across the nation decreasing by about 13%.
“While many colleges struggle to draw in students, many faith-based universities are seeing a boom in applications, championing the classical curriculum,” said the report.
Tate, whose CLT test is now accepted in hundreds of universities, described the classical approach to education.
“The story of American higher ed has been the story of one college after another trashing any kind of a serious core curriculum,” he said. “If you’re watching this, and you graduated college in the ’60s or ’70s, then you probably took U.S. history or economics or Western Civilization. But those days are long gone. Many colleges now have gone to kind of an à-la-carte model.”
Meanwhile, he named Benedictine College and others schools which have “doubled down on a traditional core curriculum in the great books, in Western Civilization, with the aim of the cultivation of virtue and moral formation. It’s an incredible education.”
Simultaneously, colleges like Benedictine “are bucking the national trend which is really a decline of young people going to four-year brick and mortal liberal arts colleges.”
Ahead of his scheduled visit to the college, Tate posted on Twitter, “I am excited to be heading back to Benedictine College next Monday!” He added: “Last time I visited I met a student who was also accepted to ‘two other highly regarded schools.‘ I asked him, ‘Why did you choose Benedictine?’ He responded, ‘I wanted to grow closer to Christ.’”
Benedictine College recently launched the Sheridan Center for Classical Education. The program includes the college’s Great Books Program, and the college’s new Classics Department. (Dr. Edward Mulholland, the Sheridan Chair of Classics is shown above leading a Great Books class.
“As John Senior said when he started the legendary Integrated Humanities Program at KU, the modern world suffers from artificiality,” Mulholland said. “I find that my students see this and desire what is real. The Great Books are steeped in a real flesh and bones humanity that offers them an experience of reality that satisfies them as their Instagram lives never can.”
The results of such programs are impressive, Tate told Campus-Duffy. “You’re seeing young people being drawn to the classics, being drawn to these Great Books that have been a cornerstone of our civilization and have taught people over the centuries,” he said.
This is even more important to the Sheridan Center for another reason: the center also offers coursework in Classical Education, and is partnering with local Catholic schools to support their efforts in classical education.
The demand for classical education is growing, according to Tate. “This same explosive growth that we’re seeing at the college level we’re seeing at K-12 as well, with the growth of classical charter schools, and an absolute explosion of homeschooling is going on right now,” he said.
Tate thanked Campos-Duffy for her work “covering the story of hundreds of classical Christian schools launched every year. And the real difference, Rachel, is in the lives of these young people. You meet these children that are receiving this kind of education and there is a difference. It’s incredible. It’s encouraging. “
President Minnis said, “It’s so great to see classical education growing at the rate it is. Today’s young people are going to Transform Culture in America, and our job is to give them the best analytical tools available. Classical education has stood the test of time already, so we know it will give students a strong foundation into the future.”