Summary: Among the top concerns of citizens throughout the country—and certainly the most important local and state issue—is the quality of public schools. We know that schools in the cities are horrible. We sense—but are not willing to admit to ourselves—that schools in the suburbs are not much better. Few even wish to address the quality of schools in small towns and rural areas. The fact is that the public school establishment in America has failed the country. Students regularly graduate from our schools with straight A’s yet without knowing anything. Schools undermine the moral fabric of the family while they strive to indoctrinate students politically. Today’s public schools are based on wrong principles, have abandoned traditional curriculum and methods of instruction, and hire teachers who are not competent in the subjects they are supposed to teach.
The question is what can be done to take back the nation’s public schools. Even those on the political Right who favor “choice” settle for half measures or have confused ideas about what constitutes a truly sound education. In this address, Terrence Moore, who has run one of the most successful charter schools in the nation, will detail the fundamentals of a truly good school and outline the political measures a state must adopt to make such a school possible in the first place. There is much at stake in this effort. Re-founding the schools—based on the principles of human nature, politics, and education understood by the Founding Fathers—may very well be the sine qua non of restoring the nation.
Terrence O. Moore teaches history at Hillsdale College. He earned an A.B. in history from the University of Chicago in 1990 and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Edinburgh in 1999. He taught at Ashland University in Ohio for two years. Dr. Moore also served as a lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1990-1993. For seven years he was the principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools, a K-12 charter school in Fort Collins, Colorado. Ridgeview’s high school was twice ranked the number-one public high school in the state. Dr. Moore writes and speaks frequently on the issues of liberal education, limited government, and traditional manhood. His article “Wimps and Barbarians: the Sons of Murphy Brown” (Claremont Review of Books, Winter, 2003) was blogged by over 100 websites and discussed by Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh. He has written articles for The Washington Times, Human Events, Big Government, Touchstone, The Family in America, Big Peace, Big Hollywood, and ricochet.com. He is also a consultant to the Hillsdale Barney Charter School Initiative and the Ridgeview Classical Institute, both organizations designed to bring more school choice to America and improve the quality of existing charter schools. At Hillsdale Dr. Moore teaches the core Western and American Heritage courses, upper-level courses in intellectual history, including a course on the Enlightenment, as well as a course on the nature and history of manhood. Dr. Moore is the author of The Perfect Game, a novel about real boys growing up in Texas during the Reagan years, available on Amazon. He is married and has four children.