Archive for February, 2014


Universities that emphasize career preparation in their recruiting have a new and serious credibility gap.

Business leaders think today’s graduates, even from predominantly “voc-tech” heavy universities, are ill-prepared for the job market, according to a new survey.

By contrast, university provosts think their students are doing great. The width of the gap between the two groups suggests universities that are claiming to prepare students for the work world are more out of touch with that world than they–and their now more heavily indebted and under-employed graduates–ever realized.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/02/26/provosts-business-leaders-disagree-graduates-career-readiness

The American Center for School Choice and the Commission on Faith-based Schools has released a disturbing report, Religious Schools in America: A Proud History and Perilous Future that notes faith-based schools are disappearing due to increased internal financial pressures and the external drains “free” (tax-funded) government alternatives, such as charter schools, are causing on school enrollments.

Funding continues to be the thorniest issue. For faith-based schools, however, the solution will not be found in direct financial support from state or federal government sources (other people’s tax dollars). That will only develop further dependency of faith-based institutions on government, which inevitably has unwanted and anti-faith strings attached.

What is needed, instead, is a new model of education funding, wherein the states do not privilege secular education with full funding from a state-based coercive tax system (which drains families of faith and others who prefer alternatives to the statist education system), but allows all families full educational choice to send their children to any schools they wish and can afford. The statist education system is threatened by that approach, but undoing the hegemony of state-based education is the only way to stop the continued decline in K-12 education in the U.S.

Allowing people the full freedom to vote with their feet and their pocketbooks (and not be forced to support the current statist system through coercive taxation) will result in a stronger, healthier and higher quality primary and secondary (and post-secondary) education system for all in the long run.

“The word Classicus in itself means no more than belonging to a class, but in ancient Rome it was the name of the citizen who belonged to the wealthiest and most heavily taxed class. According to tradition, King Servius Tullius divided the whole Roman population by property into five classes: those in the first class, who paid the highest taxes, were the classici par excellence. Classified apart from them and from proprietors in general were the proletarii, who could not serve the state with their money but only with their offspring; according to Servius Tullius’s division, they constituted the sixth and poorest class.

It is easy to understand that the word classicus was soon transferred to people who excelled above others in other areas. It was used, for example, for a witness who was completely reliable, of a writer of the first rank, of a student who excelled others with his gifts, and so forth.  This distinction continued as long as Latin was spoken, but it disappeared in the Middle Ages [only] to reappear in the time of the Renaissance. The term then assumes the general meaning of excellent and exemplary, and it becomes the designation for whatever is authoritative and serves as a model.  And while humanism assigned authority mainly or exclusively to Greek and Latin writers, classicus became limited to authors of ‘classical’ antiquity.”

Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), “Classical Education”
Essays on Religion, Science and Society
Editor John Bolt
Translators Harry Boonstra and Gerrit Sheeres
(Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008, p. 209)

“The study of antiquity is . . . not only of formal and practical value:  for the development of thinking, understanding Greek and Latin terms in our scholarship, understanding citations, and allusions in our literature, and so forth. Its lasting value also lies in the fact that the foundations of modern culture were laid in antiquity. The roots of all our arts and learning–and also, though in lesser degree, the sciences that study nature–are to be found in the soil of antiquity. It is amazing how the Greeks created all those forms of beauty in which our aesthetic feeling still finds expression and satisfaction today; in their learning they realized and posited all the problems of the world and of life with which we still wrestle in our heads and hearts.”

Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), “Classical Education”
Essays on Religion, Science and Society
Editor John Bolt
Translators Harry Boonstra and Gerrit Sheeres
(Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008, p. 242)

Sadly, this story is no longer news. What is shocking is how many evangelical Christians, who profess belief in biblical creation, send their kids to nominally evangelical and Reformed colleges that long ago sold their scriptural birthright for a mess of secular scientific respectability (and research funding) and still  expect their kids to remain evangelical or Reformed. Once faculty members lose their faith in the authority of Scripture and the biblical account of creation, the devolution of their institutions and students into formerly Christian colleges and students is only a matter of time and chance and random encounters of the secular kind. That devolutionary shift is certain because the words of Jesus are still true:  “A student when mature will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).

Read more on this sad trajectory in this World magazine article.