Saturday, October 17, 2009

Leisure and Education in America

George Roche had a powerful influence in my life and in the life of the institution he lead for 28 years.

It was not until after I had completed my Hillsdale career that I felt the need to study his book, Education in America.

My copy is autographed - To Dana - who knows that a better way exists to educate our young - George Roche.

First published in 1969 and acquired by me in 1977, I didnt re-read it until 1990, when we began making serious choices for the schooling of our four charges. I bring it to your attention today because I continue to enjoy this topic and think his book sheds bright light on the questions arising from my current book club.

Cindy, at Dominion Family, is a fun mother of nine who thinks. I like her blog posts because she has knack for illustrating problems and providing a friendly forum for discussions. Currently the term *classical* is bothering her, especially as it applies to education.

That's why I went to my shelf in search of Dr Roche's excellent volume. He TWICE references the esteemed Josef Pieper, whose book Leisure: The Basis of Culture is our book club selection.

Because I think most readers skip/skim through lengthy quotes, I'm going to post links only to these two references. The first is from Roche's chapter three entitled *Scientism and the Collapse of Standards*. The second is from chapter eight, *Multiversity*.

In the comment section of Cindy's query about the definition of *classical* education, I noted that discernment is required. We must be ever vigilant of the words used by those we trust.

While many parents complained about attending Parents Nights (at our children's schools) and listening to the same old rhetoric, I did not. Not only was I there to show my support, but also I was making sure that those in charge were staying true to stated vision (definitions) that we had used to make our school choices.

In conclusion, without a link, the last two paragraphs of Dr Roche's Education in America, entitled *Ultimate Solutions*.

Educational reform must begin with parents as individuals, with the recognition that better upbringing for their children lies in their hands, not in the hands of the state. If and when enough parents begin living their lives self-responsibly and apply such principles to their children who are an extension of self, a new educational day will have dawned. The answer, then is not to "throw the rascals out," substituting good men for bad in the political control of collectivized education. Instead, let each act in his own small orbit, with his own children, with those who he influences directly. If one's example and understanding are of high enough quality, the education pciture will begin to change no matter what course politicalized education might take.

Those who effect great revolutions are always small in number. Such people need not wait to become a majority. No one else can do the job except those who understand what needs to be done. The disruptive influence of political centralization in education will continue until it has been overshadowed and rendered meaningless by a moral force of sufficient intensity, a force generated by individuals who understand what is at stake and who serve notice by their own example that a better way exists to educate our young.

If you're reading this, then that means you're already overshadowing and on the path to rendering meaningless statist education.

We are a moral force of sufficient intensity.

Dont lose heart!


  1. One of the first "thinking about society" books I ever read was *A World Without Heroes* by Roche. My mil lent it to me right after I got married, and it was the first of many such loans and eventual purchases!

    You're right. Change doesn't necessarily require a plurality, especially a political one. Our lives usually contribute much more than our votes, though I'm glad for that, too.

    And yes, I read both of the quotes. The one about citing sources vs. wanting to know the truth was especially interesting.

  2. Tickled to *hear* that you have read Roche, Laura. Thanks for reading the quotes.

    Something I think might be of interest to you a an artist. Hillsdale's Chairman of Art Dept, Sam Knecht, is cited in the 2nd edition of Ben Curtis's Drawing from Observation.

  3. I read the quotes. :) The last paragraph and your conclusion is heartening. Thank you.