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The Common Core or a Renewed Mind: Horace Mann vs. Noah Webster

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Tuesday, September 01, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, March 04, 2015


The recent media coverage of the Common Core curriculum has caused debate among educators, politicians and parents. The stated goal of the Common Core is to have every school district in the nation follow the same national standards, the idea being that a standardized curriculum will raise students’ scores and performance across the board and make them more competitive in an international field. Proponents believe that a centralized approach to education in the U.S., with little parental control, no occasion for teacher innovation and a hefty taxpayer bill will be the solution to our failing schools, demoralized teachers and despondent students.

We must consider, is the Common Core really the answer to our educational woes or is there an alternative?

While the Common Core is based on social “science” and a one-size-fits-all approach, the Principle Approach® is based on a time-tested, age-old method of education that places Biblical reasoning and individual learning at its core. It is a method of teaching and learning that is reflective, inspiring and satisfying for students and teachers alike. It produced the quality of thought and character that enabled our Founding Fathers to design a system of government that would assure personal and civil liberty for the first time in the history of mankind.

The foundational principles and values of the Principle Approach have been progressively abandoned by modern education, beginning with Horace Mann in the early 19th century. The retreat from a truly Biblical way of thinking is the reason we are faced today with the encroachment of the federal government into our homes and schools that the Common Core represents, an encroachment on the sacred duty of parents to educate their children, while ignoring their God-given individuality and purpose.

We are the guardians of the next generation, and we must seek to restore the spirit of godliness in our nation. That restoration will begin with our children and their education. Rather than the legacy of Horace Mann, we need to look to the example of Noah Webster, who left a legacy of Biblical scholarship and individual learning in his 1828 Dictionary and Blue-Backed Speller, who more than any other American taught his fellow countrymen to read. Like Webster, let us begin by renewing our minds in a way that causes us to view all of life and learning through a Biblical lens. A mind that is intent upon developing a thorough and inclusive Biblical worldview, having a learner’s heart will be one that is full of grace and truth, and for the restoration of the individual and the nation.

Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (II Corinthians 3:17)

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