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Classical education describes the time-tested curricula, materials, methods, and aims that have traditionally been used to educate our youth and that have served to build our nation and preserve Western civilization. It is an education in the liberal arts and sciences that includes teaching of objective standards as well as instruction in moral character and civic virtue.
Historically, classical education was reserved for the upper classes, but that is no longer the case. Charter schools are public and anyone may enroll. No tuition is charged and no tests are given to determine eligibility. If there happens to be a waiting list, the order of admission is decided by lottery. Classical charter schools offer a classical education to anyone who desires it, without consideration of social status, race, or income.
It is true, classical schools are characterized by the old-fashioned belief that students should memorize a great many facts. But the learning of facts is merely preparatory. Lower-order thinking is for the sake of higher-order thinking. Of far greater importance are the creativity and good conversation made possible by virtuous habits and a well-stocked mind.
The last half century has seen an endless parade of education reforms, and ever-increasing costs have yielded persistently lackluster results. Classical education made possible the greatest achievements of Western civilization, not least its political and economic philosophy, science and technology, material prosperity, law codes and free institutions. Classical educators think it wise to keep hold of the goose that lays the golden eggs.
The ends of a classical education did not cease to be relevant with the opening of the twenty-first century. They were not made obsolete by technological advances of the telegraph, the television, the computer, or the internet. They were not extinguished with the expansion of trade between Europe and the East during the Renaissance, and they will not be extinguished in the global economy that continues today. A classical education is in every essential point a timeless education. Its aims are good for every person and at all times.