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Instead Of Donating To Your Woke Alma Mater, Support Classical K-12 Schools


For those who wish to further mankind’s happiness, there is an outstanding alternative to writing a check to rotted institutions of allegedly higher learning. The charter school movement represents the American desire for improvement at its finest.

A charter school’s impetus comes from the parents who wish for a different choice for their and their neighbors’ children, something that better fits students’ quest for knowledge. Just as children’s learning methods differ, charter schools come in an almost infinite variety and flavor. They represent a resurgence of education, the Ameri-can-do attitude, and grassroots volunteerism.

At a recent event at Merit Academy, a classical charter school in Woodland Park, Colorado, students listened raptly as a 106-year-old veteran of the Battle of Britain, former Capt. Monica Kinnaman, discussed what it was like to defend civilization against tyranny. Classes like these, containing timeless lessons learned from valued elders, inoculate against the fevers currently sweeping college campuses.

Alexander Pope claimed that “education forms the common mind. Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.” Americans must agree, as education’s importance has permeated the national psyche since our establishment. The Northwest Ordinance, sometimes referred to as our fourth founding document, expressed this truth eloquently when passed on July 13, 1787. It asserted that “religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Today, that commitment to furthering education in America remains strong. Last year, institutions of higher learning raked in nearly $60 billion in donations.

Clearly, those donors have generous hearts. However, how has their generosity been put to use? Are the recipients demonstrating that they are the centers of knowledge and morality, never mind religion, envisioned by the nation’s founders, or have they drifted from their proper path? Events since the terrible pogrom in Israel last October demonstrate that many of these institutions, once revered and supported as the acme of education, are undeserving of the magnificent flood of money they annually receive. 

Pope’s observation aligns nicely with St. Ignatius of Loyola’s alleged comment: “Give me a child till he is seven years old, and I will show you the man.” Both the poet and the priest focused on children. Both realized that early education is the most influential and important element of the adult end product. Following their reasoning, resources are best applied to forming those young minds to think constructively and morally in the service of good government and the happiness of mankind.

Unfortunately, the process of forming young minds is not cheap. In addition to the per pupil annual funding, it costs around $1 million to get a charter school off the ground. Outside of government and big business, $1 million is still a daunting sum. Even after opening day, these costs challenge schools’ resources, as they must remain competitive with fully funded student programs, teacher compensation, and well-maintained facilities.

Some beer math is useful at this point.

That $60 billion currently going to higher education represents the start-up costs for 60,000 charter schools. If each of those schools educated 500 students, one year’s redirected donations would see 30 million students nestled in schools that fit their families’ desired educational method and philosophy. With only 50 million school-aged children in the nation, two years of effort could revolutionize and “forever encourage” education.

Perhaps it is unrealistic to envision this type of sudden shift in financial support to K-12 education. But it is a thought-provoking experiment. Albert Einstein reasoned that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If the sight of collegiate antisemitic demonstrators screaming slogans uninformed by history or logic is disturbing, the answer may be upstream from the problem.

Those protesters are probably unsalvageable, but their younger counterparts are eager and ready for what the Colorado Charter School Act describes as innovative, rigorous, and diverse methods of learning. Get a better return on your education donation dollar — support your local charter school.

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