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Republican-led legislatures have recently made it clear what they don’t want taught in public school classrooms: sexuality, gender identity, structural racism. But when it comes to what they do want, one approach frequently arises: classical education. The central tenet of classical education is that students should focus on the Western canon, usually starting with the ancient Greeks. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he is hoping to make changes to the state’s institutions of higher education by “aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the Western tradition.” In many other states, classical charter schools are gaining popularity among conservative institutions like Hillsdale, a classical Christian college.
Jeremy Wayne Tate is helping to drive classical education’s revival. In 2015, he founded a company that developed the Classic Learning Test, or CLT, as an alternative to the College Board’s SAT. Today, it’s accepted at more than 200 predominantly faith-based schools. This week, the Florida legislature passed a bill that would make the CLT an alternate admissions test for public universities in that state, which could give the exam a foothold against more mainstream options — and potentially change public education across the country.
(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
Thoughts? Email us at f[email protected]. Follow Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Twitter: @lourdesgnavarro
“First Person” was produced this week by Sophia Alvarez Boyd. It was edited by Stephanie Joyce and Kaari Pitkin. Mixing by Pat McCusker. Original music by Isaac Jones, Pat McCusker, Sonia Herrero and Carole Sabouraud. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker. The “First Person” team also includes Anabel Bacon, Olivia Natt, Wyatt Orme, Derek Arthur and Jillian Weinberger. Special thanks to Kristina Samulewski, Shannon Busta, Allison Benedikt, Annie-Rose Strasser and Katie Kingsbury.