Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2009 CC Educational Summit

In late May, I arranged an Educational Summit so leaders from a variety of organizations interested in advancing home-centered education could meet to learn more about one another. About a dozen people joined the Classical Conversations’ staff for two-and-a-half days of introductions and conversation. 

The attendees are listed below, and as you’ll see, they represent diverse interests. Not only were noted home schooling leaders invited, but also leaders from schools, curriculum developers, and secular policy groups. As we got to know one another, it turned out all were committed to Christianity and were active church members, even if the organizations they represented were not.

It discourages me when folks with like missions don’t even know one another, and I am even more discouraged when they do know one another and won’t get together unless everyone has the same qualifications for worship. I wanted to use this event not only to tell potential new friends about Classical Conversations, but also to reassure them that I can work with them even if we don’t have the same vision for completing the mission. 

We were all interested in promoting ‘Free Families’ (Alan Schaeffer’s term) or ‘Freedomship’ (Andrew Pudewa’s term). The Heritage Foundation promotes Constitutional studies from a secular perspective, and the CiRCE Institute equips classical school educators. 

Even though neither of those activities falls under the vision of Classical Conversations, we share the same mission – empowering parents and reducing government influence – and I wanted to know more about them and how we can help one another.

Our association that weekend was more beneficial than I even knew to ask for in prayer. Besides sharing their organizations’ strengths, the presenters all demonstrated through their intellectual and ethical integrity why they are leaders. One of my staff quipped that hanging out with them was like being allowed to play basketball with the pros. We all left knowing more of the richness and mystery of God’s Word and eager to think closely about how families work.

I can’t describe the delight I felt in being able to discuss family, church, and government roles and responsibilities with so many people who spend the greater part of their day thinking about effecting change in education. We by no means agreed on everything, but we were all challenged to broaden and deepen our search for Truth.

We ended the Summit committed to work with one another, and we are beginning to explore ways to do that. Most of the organizations have materials that Classical Conversations will promote, and they in turn will let their constituencies know about Classical Conversations. Also, I have been invited to policy events and to speak to much broader audiences than home schooling parents.

My goal since I began Classical Conversations has been to broaden beyond committed Christians the excellent education the classical model promotes. Those committed to parent-driven education are looking for more options. I believe that the classical model can be recovered in private schools and that parents can be integrated into and respected by institutions if both are given a vision for academic excellence.

Classical Conversations will remain strong in its sole mission: to enable students to know God and to make Him known in all their endeavors. On the other hand, I am a bridge builder and am very comfortable working with anyone who will challenge the status quo. Those pursuing truth easily engage in conversations about Truth. Pray for me that I will represent Him well, and thank Him for the folks that attended. We are already planning next year’s Summit.


Attendees of the 2009 Classical Conversations Educational Summit

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