The Spirit of the Enlightenment in Education
The defining spirit of Restore Our American Republic (ROAR) is the spirit of the Enlightenment, a time of youthful exuberance and curiosity that led to an age characterized by a celebration of the individual. As such, ROAR is opposed to the failed educational approaches such as the Progressive education philosophy, the dominant educational philosophy in the U.S. since the 1930s.
Progressive education is based on the premise that the primary function of education is to “socialize” young minds. According to John Dewey:
“The mere absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat.”
This philosophy is a direct assault on the functioning of an individual mind and one of the principal reasons our foundation of individualism in the U.S. has been badly damaged. At ROAR we will be challenging this philosophy and showing how an approach to learning that systematically integrates a student’s knowledge into a well-organized hierarchy is the necessary and rational mechanism for independent, critical thinking. Genuine knowledge, and the ability to think clearly and independently, comes from starting with concretes and gradually inducting them into conceptual material through the principles of logic. In this way, students can integrate their knowledge and avoid virtually any memorization, the great destroyer of motivation in students of all ages.
If we wish to restore our American republic, we must restore the love of learning and the intellectual independence it fosters by showing how to systematically integrate information into a hierarchy of knowledge as the cornerstone of educational philosophy in the U.S.
(For more information on a philosophy of education based on the systematic development of a hierarchy of knowledge, please see the Vandamme Academy website at www.vandammeacademy.com.)