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Friday, June 21
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Classical stupidity

The Indiana Charter School Board denied a charter to the Seven Oaks Classical School in Bloomington on Tuesday.

Among the list of concerns about Seven Oaks Classical School were the school’s lack of a lunch program for students, its shortage of financial expertise and its board’s insufficient K-12 experience.

First of all, let’s discuss how charter schools are hurting public education in Indiana.

Charter schools take money away from public schools, plain and simple. Funding is redirected to these private schools.

These schools charge tuition, despite being funded by the state. So this creates inequality: poorer students cannot afford to attend these schools.

Thus, they get a substandard education. If state money is going to fund charter schools, this is less money available for public schools. This is a blatantly unequal system.

So, now that we got that out of the way, why would Seven Oaks in particular be a terrible school?

Well, after doing some research into their curriculum, it is apparent that classical means extremely antiquated. The way they teach language is lifted directly from history books. Students learn to write letters by dictation, which means instead of the teacher simply writing an “A” on the board and the students copying it in pencil and paper, the teacher instead describes orally how an “A” should look.

Their intense and unnecessary emphasis on writing letters correctly is contradicted by their lack of emphasis on grammatical structure rather than comprehension and critical thinking. It doesn’t matter how correct a sentence is if a student can’t understand what it’s really saying and think about its critical meaning.

The method of mathematics they teach is known as Singapore Math. It emphasizes “the development of a strong number sense,” among other things.

What is a strong number sense? Seven Oaks’ website does not answer this ?question.

The page devoted to “Classical Education Myths” is also entertaining. It reads: “My child is not intelligent enough to attend a classical school.”

I have a hard time believing a parent would say this about their child, not to mention how elitist the mere inclusion of this sounds on the page.

Also on this page is a statement I take some offense to: “Man inhabited Earth without developing technology until the last two hundred years.”

This is certainly a true statement. I’m not arguing that we as the human race did in fact inhabit the Earth for a long time before technology. But should we really boast about the time when we dragged our knuckles on the floors of caves?

If the state would stop funding charter schools it would open up the opportunity for public schools, schools that allow everybody in, to try new methods of education that would otherwise be done at charter schools, giving every student his or her fair chance.

Because that’s the principle public education was built on — a fair chance for all.

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