The Art of Self Construction
Good information to know about colleges you may be going to or donating to; do you want to attend or support an institution that disinvites speakers whom are controversial, thereby suppressing free speech and real debate?
Make no mistake about it: the New Left has unleashed their minions on free speech via Nazi Brownshirt tactics and Middlebury College is a recent arena for them. They failed to take control of U.S. culture directly via the government, so instead they taught thousands of college students at the “best” colleges that force is justified to stop the spread of opposing ideas, and now we have these violent attacks of speakers on campus.
Read about Charles Murray’s frightening experience at Middlebury College at which his host, Professor Allison Stranger, was seriously injured in the neck. Why the heck the administration didn’t have police remove the disruptive and violent protesters, I don’t know. That’s what’s needed to stop these attack: the protection of the speaker’s rights.
You can read about the appalling events at this link:
And the Daily Mail reports with video here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4280516/Professor-injured-mob-protesting-conservative-speaker.html
The Outcome of The Great Connections Seminar 2016
This July, our high school-to-graduate school students hailed from places such as Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Nepal and all directions of the U.S. Over half were returnees who paid their own way—one from Buenos Aires!
Six came to study how to be a teacher in our style, so they could take that skill back to their classrooms and organizations where they live.
For this purpose, I created a two-day Great Connections Training Program for Teachers and conducted it before the week started. I’m now being asked to conduct a class for teachers at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala.
We added a new component to the instruction this year, a 5-day writing class. Malachy Walsh, former creative director for J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, was our instructor and he brought all of his knowledge and world-tested skill in excellent communication to the program.
Before he worked in advertising, Malachy studied literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago under the Aristotle scholar and member of the committee that created The Great Books, Richard McKeon. His love of these books was nothing but strengthened over the years by the advantages they gave him in advertising and marketing—his co-workers would marvel at how he solved certain problems. He knew it was from incorporating the principles of Aristotle’s Rhetoric into his thinking!
Malachy used the Rhetoric for our class this summer—and he was deeply impressed with how quickly our students were able to work together to produce excellent solutions to the writing problems he posed to them.
He went out of his way to comment to me about something else that impressed him: arriving early every morning, he would listen to our daily faculty meetings. At these, my instructors and trainees would review the performance of the students from the previous day and analyze what went well, what needed improvement, and what each student needed to optimize his or her experience. Then we would figure out what changes we needed to make that day to help students have the best experience possible.
He remarked that he saw how this review and revision resulted in better classes every day. Bottom line: this careful work is part of the reason we have consistent, remarkable outcomes after one week of classes.
For example, Saulo Maciel, a junior in Journalism from Campo Grande Brasil, declared “I learned more in one week than in ten years at school.”
Our students are ambitious to live well and spread reason, individualism, and freedom through their projects and careers. That includes their personal choices, the way they run the companies they plan to create, their work as journalists, musicians, computer programmers, or their academic teaching careers. We’re preparing a kind of professor different from the indoctrinating collectivists that rule most of the Academy today.
You can see these ambitions in some of the comments which are below. Unlike their experience at traditional school, they relished spending an entire week studying and discussing very difficult readings at least six hours a day, more than double the usual college class-day hours.
I hope you’ve had a chance to see the short videos we had made last year, now on www.rifinst.org homepage. You can hear the students, assistant instructors, and interested professionals recount the immense intellectual and practical value in our program.
Student by student, we transform lives, and these students go back to the world, empowered to turn the tide away from collectivism and towards reason, individualism, and freedom.
You are making all this happen. Our enduring thanks for your generous and important support through your contribution this year. Your gift and others enabled us to offer some travel aid this year, allowing Saurav Ghimire and Saulo Maciel to attend the program from Nepal and Brazil respectively. Each is taking back what they learned to teach others in their countries.
I hope you feel free to contact me any time about the program – or anything else for that matter!
Marsha Familaro Enright
P.S. Why do we get so many returnees? Because the program powerfully prepares students to find, choose and succeed in their life path. They don’t get this help at school, so they return to refresh and expand their knowledge.Imagine how helpful this is to students (and their parents) who attend before investing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars at colleges?
What Students Said About The Great Connections, 2016
“It allows you to think outside the box. This is something that school does not teach and if I want to get ahead of the game, it is a must.”—Rene Miguel, Junior, Business, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois
“The Great Connections is an intense experience that helps people to learn how to learn rather than what to learn. I plan to implement the group discussion methodology in the office with my co-workers.”
—Ian Mihura (center), Junior, Computer Science, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I have never been in a classroom where students wanted to stay after the session had ended. I have never learned so much or so well in my life, and that is saying something, given my love for my university experience at George Mason. But you have shown a way for me to tap into a completely different aspect of learning—about the liberal arts and about myself—that likely would have escaped me had I not committed to attending this seminar. My only regret is that I haven’t gone since the first time you invited me in 2014!”—Scott McGinley, Junior, Economics, George Mason University, Washington, DC
“The Great Connections seminar gave me tools for communicating I’ve never encountered before. It encouraged me to be aware of ideas in a new way. Before I went, I liked ideas but now I am more confident I can understand and talk about them. I was taught to speak so my ideas can be understood.”– Madison Ross, Junior, Mathematics, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
“Before coming, I was frustrated because I was not learning enough in my studies; I was only working just enough to get decent grades. As a result, I was not enjoying school. The Seminar renewed my determination to put my all into my studies. I know now that it is within my power to achieve my dreams, to help advance the health of humanity through science and innovation.” –Nora Gibes, Freshman, Biochemistry, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan
“Life-altering is used much too lightly, much too often. However, when I saytheseminar was life-altering, I mean it with the heaviness of a woman who is in awe of her experience. My entire life I have been searching for a way to TRULY understand life––why I’m here and how I can make the most of the time I’m given. My previous reality was that I had neither the resources—such as the inspiring pieces in this seminar—nor the ability to dissect the pieces with people who have a passion to learn and UTILIZE knowledge.”— Sarrah Ali, Senior, Cypress Creek High School, Houston, Texas
“I truly can say that I have grown intellectually and spiritually as a person. It has made me see reason, love, and individuality from a new perspective. This experience is one I will not forget.”– Kayla Torquemada, junior, physical therapy, San Jose State University, Pleasanton, CA
“Now I will be more confident to speak in international platforms, analyzedecisions by the pay off they give, use writing skills learnt and much more.” –Saurav Ghimire, J.D., Katmandu School of Law, Nepal
“I feel more aware of the need to stop and listen to my body, to reflect, to ground my choices and actions in self- love and self- interest; and to reflect on whether I’m acting congruently with my values and goals. I feel more determined to make the most of my hours and days. There’s so much I want to do, and every moment counts.”—Sable Levy, Junior, Actuarial Studies, University of Texas at Austin,
“Companies across the U.S. say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find applicants who can communicate clearly, take initiative, problem-solve and get along with co- workers.
“Those traits, often called soft skills, can make the difference between a standout employee and one who just gets by.” – claims a recent Wall Street Journal article, Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply – WSJ.
Students who come to The Great Connections Seminars develop those pronto. Their increase in these skills in one-week is astonishing. Great Connections 2016 student Saulo Maciel, junior in Communications from Campo Grande, Brazil said “I learned more here in one week than in ten years at school.”
Students!: The Sound Money Defense League is offering $135,000 in gold for college and graduate student scholarships. Application deadline is November 16, 2016.
Bending children to the needs of the state go back much farther than Common Core. Hear about the failure of public education to teach most of its students — since its inception in Massachusetts in the early 19th century.
What kind of education fosters the habits and virtues needed for in a free society, where independent, active, versatile, and self-responsible citizens are crucial? What would the education market look like in a fully free society, with entirely private education? Hear my answers and the way in which everyone would be served by private interests.
My talk at The Heartland Institute, Wednesday, August 10, 2016. Read Common Ground on Common Core, edited by Kirsten Lombard, for the complete, referenced account.
One of our students, Jake Ilson from Charlotte, NC, who attended the first Great Connections Seminar in 2009, and also returned in 2010, has applied again this year, and his comments are eye-opening and gratifying:
“My mom sent me the first year and the year after. I loved every minute, and I was lucky to experience this amazing and unique form of learning. Every summer I see my friends sharing posts about The Great Connections and I think ‘If only I could go again.’
“I dislike my primary school’s classes, I find them tedious and monotonous. I hope that this seminar could open my mind more to my potential and help push me to pursue my personal goals.
“It’s been 6 years since I attended the Great Connections. I still think about it constantly. Every time I find myself in a debate, argument, discussion, or otherwise, I think back to the lessons and struggles we had in the first two seminars.
“Great conversation can only happen with efficient communication. Everyone has a voice, and many times, more often than not, people are silenced because others talk louder. I learned to listen, and then to listen some more. Now, I make sure that everyone has a chance to speak, and, like the moderators of the seminars I attended, I try to keep the conversation civil and on topic.
“In this election season, this knowledge has become more useful than ever. I have never had such powerful discussions as the one’s I have over this year’s political snafu. Having learned how to listen and delicately respond, I can get my point across in an otherwise heated argument, and even sway people to see the shortcomings of our current system. I attribute these skills to what I learned from the Great Connections seminars.”
A frightening example of the path our “top” colleges are leading the young and of the ideas coming out of Academia: Adams Professor of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard speaking on “Why We Need More and More State Coercion – And What To Do About It.”
“Without such coercion, our citizens cannot produce the extraordinarily large number of free-access goods that we want and need…”
She gives the typical collectivist rationalization “The more interdependent we become, globally and within our nations, the more state coercion we need.”
I shudder to think what else the young are learning from her. And her influence is wide: just take a look at her credentials.
He notes that the Department of Education didn’t come into being until 1980, but large-scale involvement of the federal government in education dates from 1965. In this piece he delves into the historical justifications and evolution of how education came under federal guidance, and based on its track record whether it should remain so. In the age of Common Core, of public education disappointing parents and failing children, it is an enlightening piece that’s worth a read in its entirety. Here are some important highlights:
On whether the Department of Education is constitutional:
“At the time the Constitution was written, education was not even considered a function of local government, let alone the federal government. But the shakiness of the Department of Education’s constitutionality goes beyond that. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the things over which Congress has the power to legislate. Not only does the list not include education, there is no plausible rationale for squeezing education in under the commerce clause. I’m sure the Supreme Court found a rationale, but it cannot have been plausible.
On a more philosophical level, the framers of America’s limited government had a broad allegiance to what Catholics call the principle of subsidiarity. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local governments cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do. Education is something that individuals acting alone and cooperatively can do, let alone something local or state governments can do.”
On whether there are serious problems in education that can be solved only at the federal level:
“The first major federal spending on education was triggered by the launch of the first space satellite, Sputnik, in the fall of 1957, which created a perception that the United States had fallen behind the Soviet Union in science and technology. The legislation was specifically designed to encourage more students to go into math and science, and its motivation is indicated by its title: The National Defense Education Act of 1958. But what really ensnared the federal government in education in the 1960s had its origins elsewhere—in civil rights. The Supreme Court declared segregation of the schools unconstitutional in 1954, but—notwithstanding a few highly publicized episodes such as the integration of Central High School in Little Rock and James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi—the pace of change in the next decade was glacial.
Was it necessary for the federal government to act? There is a strong argument for “yes,” especially in the case of K-12 education. Southern resistance to desegregation proved to be both stubborn and effective in the years following Brown v. Board of Education. Segregation of the schools had been declared unconstitutional, and constitutional rights were being violated on a massive scale. But the question at hand is whether we need a Department of Education now, and we have seen a typical evolution of policy. What could have been justified as a one-time, forceful effort to end violations of constitutional rights, lasting until the constitutional wrongs had been righted, was transmuted into a permanent government establishment. Subsequently, this establishment became more and more deeply involved in American education for purposes that have nothing to do with constitutional rights, but instead with a broader goal of improving education.”
On the federal government’s track record in education:
“As I documented in my book, Real Education, collateral data from other sources are not as detailed, nor do they go back to the 1940s, but they tell a consistent story. American education had been improving since World War II. Then, when the federal government began to get involved, it got worse.
I will not try to make the case that federal involvement caused the downturn. The effort that went into programs associated with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in the early years was not enough to have changed American education, and the more likely causes for the downturn are the spirit of the 1960s—do your own thing—and the rise of progressive education to dominance over American public education. But this much can certainly be said: The overall data on the performance of American K-12 students give no reason to think that federal involvement, which took the form of the Department of Education after 1979, has been an engine of improvement.”
On the education of the disadvantaged, especially minorities:
“What about the education of the disadvantaged, especially minorities? After all, this was arguably the main reason that the federal government began to get involved in education—to reduce the achievement gap separating poor children and rich children, and especially the gap separating poor black children and the rest of the country.
The most famous part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was Title I, initially authorizing more than a billion dollars annually (equivalent to more than $7 billion today) to upgrade the schools attended by children from low-income families. The program has continued to grow ever since, disposing of about $19 billion in 2010 (No Child Left Behind has also been part of Title I).
Supporters of Title I confidently expected to see progress, and so formal evaluation of Title I was built into the legislation from the beginning. Over the years, the evaluations became progressively more ambitious and more methodologically sophisticated. But while the evaluations have improved, the story they tell has not changed. Despite being conducted by people who wished the program well, no evaluation of Title I from the 1970s onward has found credible evidence of a significant positive impact on student achievement. If one steps back from the formal evaluations and looks at the NAEP test score gap between high-poverty schools (the ones that qualify for Title I support) and low-poverty schools, the implications are worse. A study by the Department of Education published in 2001 revealed that the gap grew rather than diminished from 1986—the earliest year such comparisons have been made—through 1999.
That brings us to No Child Left Behind. Have you noticed that no one talks about No Child Left Behind any more? The explanation is that its one-time advocates are no longer willing to defend it. The nearly-flat NAEP trendlines since 2002 make that much-ballyhooed legislative mandate—a mandate to bring all children to proficiency in math and reading by 2014—too embarrassing to mention.
In summary: the long, intrusive, expensive role of the federal government in K-12 education does not have any credible evidence for a positive effect on American education.”
Read Charles Murray’s entire piece here.
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