The high school dropout rate continues to rise. Those students that do graduate and go to college require an increasing amount of remedial assistance. In addition, recent polls show 52 percent of college entrants are liberal and 48 percent conservative. At graduation, 88 percent are liberal and 12 percent conservative.
Going back to square one, people such as David Barton of Wallbuilders articulately describes the Judeo-Christian principles emphasized by the Founders of this nation. They stressed that schools should be Biblically based. The Founders drafted the U.S. Constitution under the assumption that citizens would continue to follow religious principles. Also, they presumed that candidates for public office must demonstrate the same. The Founders referred to the need to have good roots to get good fruit. One might ask; is there a solution to this conversion of the public school system to a secular religion?
The solution may have arrived, at least in part, from advancements in technology. About 10 years ago the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the availability of 2,100 online courses, free of charge. Millions all over the world have taken advantage of this opportunity. Only if the enrollee wants documentation to verify the studies are there fees involved. This is causing concern to the brick and mortar colleges. This is especially newsworthy because of the increase in college tuition. For the past 30 years, the cost of living in the United States has gone up 106 percent and the cost of health services has increased 251 percent, but college tuition has increased a whopping 452 percent!
The availability of online schooling via the internet is having, what appears to be, a dramatic effect on grammar schools and high schools. One illustration can be seen by observing a new entry into online schooling, Freedom Project Education (FPE).Arthur Thompson is the CEO of both the not-for-profit corporation The John Birch Society and the American Opinion Foundation (AOF). Until 2006, the AOF historically sponsored summer camps for teenagers. It then shifted to designing an online home school curriculum. As the curriculum and the internet technology evolved, it resulted in a dramatic reaction from college and high school teachers who object to the curriculum they are forced to follow while teaching in the public schools. The result is that 130 adjunct teachers, 65 percent of them with Ph.D.s, have joined the staff of Freedom Project Education
To be a home school parent is a time consuming task. For the increasing number of two paycheck and single parent families, it is frequently impractical. Yet the number of home school participants continues to grow. Most home school parents feel capable of overseeing the education of children yet there are inevitably subjects that fall outside their academic comfort zones.
The FPE system provides access to coursework any time, day or night. FPE teachers and staff interact with students as well as with parents or guardians so they can oversee the process.
One might ask, what attracted 130 adjunct teachers to FPE? Public school students are taught what to think as opposed to learning how to think for themselves. FPE is a classical education emphasizing subjects such as Latin and logic as well as coursework in the Bible, great books, economics, and humanities – all of which contribute to forming the well-rounded individual conversant in a wide variety of subjects. In addition, one who is able to properly distinguish which disciplines are fit for the mind, the soul, or the body will more likely be able to integrate them successfully. The aim of this classical education is to create a generation of men and women who are able to balance the practical demands of the material world (math and science) with the humanistic requirements of right living and moral development.
The curriculum is rigorously college preparatory in nature with the result that these students will have no need to spend time on remediation. In case the FPE home-schooled student decides to eschew higher education in the short or long term, he or she will be better trained to think critically. The FPE online high school was successfully launched September 2011. As of September 2012, pre-K through grade 12 will be available online. Information on FPE can be found at http://fpeusa.org/.
Because of AOF, the FPE tuition is amazingly low. Considering the response from the 130 adjunct teachers that were attracted to FPE, the reaction from the public school system was not a surprise. As an example, the Tigard-Tualatin (Oregon) School District announced in October 2011 the goal to have online courses available to both middle and high school students by early 2012. The suggestion was pushed hard by Superintendent Rob Saxton. The same process is taking place across the nation. Is it conceivable the public school system is terrified by what the FPE curriculum could do to secondary education? If not, perhaps they should be. Phoenix University launched online courses with a mere handful of registrants in 1989. Current enrollment is now 490,000. Paraphrasing Victor Hugo, there is no stopping an idea whose time has come!
Art Crino is a combat veteran of WW II, graduate of OSU in Electrical Engineering and his career was in engineering and factory management.