Education & Liberal Learning

The Loss of a Culture of Personhood and the End of Limited Government

October 6, 2014
Philadelphia, PA The idea and practice of limited government begins with Christianity.  Pagan antiquity could not imagine such a thing, because there was no distinction between religion and governance.   For the pagan, there is an overall order to all…
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Are Evangelical Colleges Parochial?

Billy and Ruth at WC August 24, 2014
Hillsdale, Michigan. Readers may recall the dustup earlier in the summer when Peter Conn prompted pious gasps for suggesting that institutions like Wheaton College (the evangelical one) should not be accredited. His reasoning was based in part on the belief…
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Accreditation to the Rescue (for real?)

blanshard July 14, 2014
Hillsdale, Michigan. I am a little late to the surge of 1s and 0s in response to Peter Conn’s less than tepid essay about faith and higher education. The gist of his gripe is the well-worn Voltairian notion that faith…
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Public Schools, Local Schools, Family Schools

May 23, 2014
[Cross-posted to In Medias Res] Yesterday was the final day of the school year at Peterson Elementary School, the public school which three of our four daughters have attended. It is less than a mile from our home here on…
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There’s Equality, and There’s Equality

valley_usold2 January 6, 2014
In one of my favorite movies, John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley, a family of coal miners is faced with the prospect of lower wages handed out by the owners of the mine, because the closing of the ironworks…
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The Liberal Arts and the Educational Technology of Language

Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger) December 9, 2013
THE PRESIDENT HAS AN ASSIGNMENT FOR YOU: This is what the bold text on the website tells us as it proudly heralds a new national “Student Film Contest”.   Next to the headline we find an image of the benevolently-smiling…
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The Uselessness of Liberal Education: An Apology

maecenas-presenting-the-liberal-arts-to-emperor-augustus-1743 October 28, 2013
It is necessary for the perfection of human society that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation. –St. Thomas Aquinas  The trouble with mere pragmatism is that it doesn’t work. –G. K. Chesterton I would like to…
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The Bar Jester Assesses Assessment

amdxxbc01mc October 16, 2013
Believe in something that is good, true, and beautiful.
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Community among Academics: An Economist’s Retrospective

Pepperdine_University September 6, 2013
Two weeks ago I spoke to an orientation program for new faculty at Pepperdine. I shared with them what I had been told at my new faculty orientation nineteen years before. Back then, I had just spent four years as…
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On Killing (Chickens)

rooster August 26, 2013
Hidden Springs Lane. Last weekend the deed was done. Having acquired 25 chicks in the spring (they were free) it soon became clear that this was, as they say, a mixed run. That is, the chicks were not separated by…
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In Search of the Real Coolidge

calvin-coolidge-whitehouse August 13, 2013
Our interest in historical subjects says as much about our society as about the subjects themselves.  The growing interest in the life, thought and presidency of Calvin Coolidge issues from frustration with contemporary politics and politicians—none so much as Barack…
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Everywhere at Once, Nowhere at All

504653_businessman_looking_at_his_pda July 30, 2013
“Right now, the main thing I’m taking from this conference is that PowerPoint is destroying the educational process.” The conference, organized around the theme of “Technology and Human Flourishing,” was held under the aegis of Baylor University’s annual Symposium on…
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Life Under Compulsion: Play and No Play

baseball June 10, 2013
In East Bangor, Pennsylvania (pop. 800), there’s a little diner named for the trolley that used to take people to the once bustling steel town of Bethlehem.  The proprietors have adorned the walls with photographs of other local things that…
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Life Under Compulsion: Noise

play May 20, 2013
The child’s language is melodious.  The words hide and protect themselves in the melody – the words that have come shyly out of the silence.  They almost disappear again in the silence.  There is more melody than content in the
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On Not Knowing Nothing: Mastery and Expertise

May 17, 2013
I belong to a guild. As such, I’m recognized by its practitioners as a peer, a fellow, even, like them, a master. By this I do not mean anything remotely self-aggrandizing, not  suggesting I am an exemplar or even a…
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The Locale and Grace of Teaching

books May 6, 2013
I’ve not yet decided if I’ve succumbed to despair (a sin) or prudence, but I no longer participate in any of the forums at my campus about online education, MOOCs, virtual office hours, assessment, and the countless other distractions from…
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