Volume 4 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal of K-12 Educational Research - Page 73

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 71 Introduction The early Christian apologist, Tertullian, famously remarked, “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” In light of recent events, educators may ask, “What indeed has classical learning to do with our digital needs?” COVID 19 has made the importance of digital offerings and 21st century skills all the more urgent and obvious in our educational structures. In an era when technology grows dominant, when STEM programs are stressed as key to the future, and when teachers are expected to be facilitators more than lecturers, it seems odd that a so-called “classical education” has also experienced a revival. At classical schools, a study of liberal and fine arts is regarded as relevant to contemporary life as digital citizenry. The language of Latin is emphasized over the language of code. What a student can learn from a master teacher is seen as more significant to personal character formation than opinions elicited in a student- centered classroom (Joseph, 2011). Comporting with the educational philosophies of perennialism and essentialism, classical education emphasizes the transmission of a historic body of knowledge and emphasizes disciplines that are believed to produce good humans over those who are simply college and career-ready (Joseph, 2011). In terms of what counts for true education, classical schools insist that the interconnectedness between student, subject, and teacher is an irreplaceable dynamic. While these philosophic value sets may not be shared by the wider educational world, the numeric value sets are. The largest single provider of classical education within the public sector, Great Hearts charter network, boasts ACT scores that are 35% higher than state averages and SAT scores with a 200-point advantage over the national average (Great Hearts, 2017). In the private sector, the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS), representing the largest body of classical private schools in the United States and internationally, reports higher PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores among its member schools than those in any other sector, including other major forms of private schooling (ACCS, n.d.). While such numbers have a cursory way of suggesting a model’s worth, classical educators regard the percentages as a by-product and not a prime product. These educators insist that a classical approach to learning is satisfying the fundamental intent of education—that is, to cultivate students who flourish as humans, equipping them to know, love, and do what is true, good, and beautiful (Turley, 2014). Background of the Study The percentage of students in America being classically schooled is on the rise. Classical public charter schools are proliferating through the support of such networks as the Institute for Classical Education and the Barney Charter School Initiative. The growth of the model has, in fact, warranted the design of a new college entrance exam—the Classic Learning Test (CLT)—to serve alongside or in the stead of the traditional SAT and ACT. At the time of this writing, over 160 colleges and universities have adopted the CLT as a recognized admissions exam, and countless individuals have seized upon its online testing platform (CLT, n.d.). Classical education is, in short, gaining traction in both the private and public sector. Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2020, VOL. 4, ISSUE 1 www.dbu.edu/doctoral/edd CLASSICAL EDUCATION FOR CONTEMPORARY NEEDS: A GROUNDED THEORY Joylynn Blake, EdD