Friday, November 20, 2015
CPB Classic: A Modest Proposal for a College Curriculum
From August, 2013
A Modest Proposal for a College Curriculum
"A "return to rigor" in the college experience is certainly in order. College graduates should differ from non-graduates in more ways than just their projected lifetime earnings, SAT scores, and high school GPAs. They should actually know things that non-grads do not, and they should behave in ways that non-grads do not. In my view, a college graduate should be readily discernible from the non-grad in his appearance, presentation, manner of speech, work habits, leisure activities, physical fitness, morals, and social relations. Graduates should be different from when they matriculated four years earlier."
"The fall seminar would cover, at a minimum, Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The spring seminar would add Aristotle, Euripedes, and Sophocles. See here to see how all these works can be read in a year."
"Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline in American education....Nothing so enriches the vocabulary, so instructs about English grammar and syntax, so creates a discipline of the mind, an elegance of expression, and serves as a gateway to the thinking and values of Western civilization as mastery of a page of Virgil or Livy (except perhaps Sophocles’s Antigone in Greek or Thucydides’ dialogue at Melos)."
What about athletics?
"Seniors will compete in Modern Penathlon, endurance running, open water swimming, and multi-day wilderness trekking."
The End Product
"How would a graduate of such a program differ from typical college graduates? This would not be a person to trifle with, a person inured to hardship and possessing extremely strong self-discipline. They can read Ancient Greek and French, paint a portrait, and ride a horse. They have extraordinary mental and physical endurance. They have mastered both elements of the liberal arts and sciences."