Why Classical Education is growing so rapidly


As a Classical school, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a part of the most dynamic and exciting trend in American education today.

Everyone realizes that education in the United States is in trouble. Not only are standards low and student performance lacking relative to other countries around the world, but the prevailing approach to educating young people neglects the formation of children’s hearts and leaves them disenchanted.

... as we watch the Classical Education movement begin to blossom around the country, it gives us great hope for the future.

For Catholic families, the state of education is even more dire. By treating learning as a chore and a credentialing exercise, students are denied the opportunity to take joy and delight in truth seeking, and they are deprived of the formative experiences that should deepen their faith and their love for God and neighbor.

All across the country, Classical Education is providing a remedy for what ails the American establishment by recovering the tools to make students successful in the classroom. Using data-driven and developmentally sensitive curricular standards, Classical Education gives students solid foundations in every subject area, and prepares them for every academic challenge by teaching them how to think and learn rather than merely imitating what they see and hear on a screen.

Most homeschooling is built upon a Classical educational platform, private Classical Christian schools are thriving, and networks of Classical charter schools are responding to the demand for educational alternatives by parents who want a better education for their children. And now, Catholic schools are recovering Classical Education as their own educational tradition.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School, a K-12 academy in located Denver, is one of the trailblazers in Classical Catholic primary education.

A recent article in CatholicPhilly quotes Rosemary Anderson, Our Lady of Lourdes' principal:

Classical education is really an integration of the whole person’s formation...You’re teaching virtue in every lesson, just because what they’re learning about is relevant to them, they aren’t just reading it out of a textbook.

The movement - or rather, the return - towards Classical Catholic Education is gaining momentum around the country.

This past school year, the Diocese of Marquette in Michigan adopted a Classical curriculum for all diocesan schools. In an article published by the Heartland Institute, Dan Guernsey of the Cardinal Newman Society explains the diocese's decision:

I think there’s a market for classical [education], because there’s an elite, unique, attractive element to it....The liberal arts understanding, which animates classical schools and schools that are like classical schools, is that knowledge is pursued for its own sake, and the function of the schools is to develop a fully functioning, flourishing human person.

An article in the Catholic World Report explores the results of a shift to Classical Education in one of the Diocese of Marquette's schools, Sacred Heart Academy in Grand Rapids. In the three years since its shift to a Classical Curriculum, the school's enrollment has quadrupled. Sacred Heart's provost, Zach Good, attributes the school's turnaround to the community's commitment to the principles of Classical Education:

Every year we freely embody our vision, it gets easier," said Good. "There’s not much room for regret.

The revival of Classical Education has been taking root for some time. In a 2010 editorial in the New York Times, Stanley Fish concluded:

Forget about the latest fad and quick-fix, and buckle down to the time-honored, traditional 'study and practice of the liberal arts and sciences: history, literature, geography, the sciences, civics, mathematics, the arts and foreign languages.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School strives to be at the cutting edge of this trend. We believe that Classical Education is vitally important today. And as we watch the Classical Education movement begin to blossom around the country, it gives us great hope for the future.