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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

November 10, 2016
"A grateful nation remembers..."

What the Founders Thought About the Value of a 'Classical' Education

Supermoon Nov 14th!

Christine: A New Pain Killer - Alpha Brain Waves

Veterans Day Posters
Classical Education
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  "A grateful nation remembers..."

(0 Nov 2016) VeteransDayPoppy5.jpgFriday, November 11 is Veterans Day, a day to honor and thank those who served our nation to preserve freedom or all of us. If you know a veteran who has served and come back injured or with emotional challenges and could use help, start at VeteransHall.org.  Parades are planned in Salinas and Watsonville.  A special dinner honoring veterans will be held in Boulder Creek. More informal is the Food Truck Friday Tribute to Local Veterans to be held at Sky Park in Scotts Valley.  Very interesting is the Holistic Veterans' Community Healing Project (0 Nov 2016) VeteransDay2016.jpgat MAH on Friday evening. "To be a veteran one must know and determine one's price for freedom."

After a grueling election season I think we citizens deserve a vacation from politics! (But just in case you want a refresher so you can explain the the history and reasons for the electoral college to the children go to History.com.)  Let's get ready for a warm, inviting holiday season with family and friends. Get out the calendar, serve some cocoa and ask each member of the family what's most important to him/her. Vow to do only what your family really wants including downtime home relaxing! Here are a few holiday fairs and events. Keep checking back as more postings come in. 

(0 Nov 2016) SUPERMOON_DEER.jpgYou may want to look for the supermoon Monday, November 14.  It promises to be beautiful!

Recently I came across an article that compared contemporary  philosophical educational arguments with discussions from the early years of our country's history --very interesting and proving that history repeats itself! My overall take from reading it: be open to and supportive of differing approaches to education, consider our children's unique talents and proclivities and select wisely on their behalves.

(A Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpgPlease recommend our newsletter to new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always our many fun events! We cannot fit them all into this newsletter.  There are more on the online calendar.

Enjoy your weekend with the family! Parmalee

 

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  What the Founders Thought About the Value of a 'Classical' Education

What the Founders Thought About the Value of a 'Classical' Education

Unlike some other Founders, Benjamin Franklin opposed focusing on the classics. (Photo: John Greim Photography/Newscom)

Commentary By Richard Gamble

Richard M. Gamble is a professor of history at Hillsdale College.

The generation that produced the U.S. Constitution lived at a time when liberal education was being rethought, redefined, stretched, and challenged.

The Founders lined up on different sides of that debate. They argued over whether or not a liberal education worthy of the name had to be a classical education based on instruction in the Greek and Latin languages. They divided into factions we might call, for convenience, "classicists" and "anti-classicists."

Among the things most surprising is how early in the Colonial period objections were raised to the teaching of Greek and Latin; how widespread the resistance was; how many very famous Americans weighed in on the debate; and how modern the arguments brought by the anti-classicists sound.

The past is different and distant from us, and yet, in this case, the similarities are striking, leading one to wonder if there is a timeless element to America's quarrel over the means and ends of good education. We sound like them to a surprising degree, and they sound like us. But not exactly, and the differences do matter.

The anti-classicists appeared in print as early as 1735-40 years before the Revolution. In that year, an anonymous Philadelphian called for a system of private education that would recognize the needs of different students and their families.

Debate Over Dead Languages

Not everyone was destined to be a scholar. Not everyone aspired to the professions of law, theology, or medicine. A thriving society needed farmers and tradesmen, clerks and accountants. Why should these children spend precious years trying to master languages they would soon forget? Why teach them Latin when what they needed in life were skills in English grammar and composition?

This anonymous author cited the English empiricist John Locke, who ridiculed the folly of wasting time teaching Latin to students who would never use it.

Over the ensuing 70 or 80 years, these arguments found renewed expression among some of America's most articulate statesmen and reformers. Future scholars, they allowed, could continue to devote their childhood to mastery of Greek and Latin, but a young, ambitious, expansive republic on the rise needed to train its citizens in plain and vigorous English and in modern foreign languages for the sake of commerce in goods and ideas.

The nation needed to equip them for a vocation; to provide them with a utilitarian education for the sake of tangible "advantages" in life; to lay the groundwork for progress in science and the discovery of new knowledge; to offer a "universal" education (one open to common people, not just the elite); and to promote a distinctly American, even nationalist, education free from the dead hand of Europe's antiquated ways of teaching and learning.

(These calls for reform sound like we've stepped into a modern debate over STEM education in our schools today.)

To understand the Founders and liberal education, we need to... Read the entire article>>>>>

 

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  Supermoon Nov 14th!

(0 Nov 2016) supermoon-Israel.jpgWe're about to see a record-breaking supermoon - the biggest in nearly 70 years

If you only see one astronomical event this year, make it the November supermoon, when the Moon will be the closest to Earth it's been since January 1948.

During the event, which will happen on the eve of November 14, the Moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon. This is the closest the Moon will get to Earth until 25 November 2034, so you really don't want to miss this one.

So how do you get a supermoon? 

As NASA explains, because the Moon has an elliptical orbit, one side - called the perigee - is about 48,280 km (30,000 miles) closer to Earth than the other side (the apogee). 

When the Sun, the Moon, and Earth line up as the Moon orbits Earth, that's known as syzygy (definitely something you want to keep in your back pocket for your next Scrabble match).

(0 Nov 2016) SupermoonSpain.jpgWhen this Earth-Moon-Sun system occurs with the perigee side of the Moon facing us, and the Moon happens to be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, we get what's called a perigee-syzygy.

That causes the Moon to appear much bigger and brighter in our sky than usual, and it's referred to as a supermoon - or more technically, a perigee moon.

Supermoons aren't all that uncommon - we just had one on October 16, and after the November 14 super-supermoon, we'll have another one on December 14.

But because the November 14 Moon becomes full within about 2 hours of perigee, it's going to look the biggest it has in nearly seven decades.

"The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016, but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century," says NASA. "The full moon won't come this close to Earth again until 25 November 2034."

Depending on where you're viewing it from, the difference between a supermoon and a regular full moon can be stark, or difficult to tell. If the Moon is hanging high overhead, and you have no buildings or landmarks to compare it to, it can be tricky to tell that it's larger than usual.

But if you're viewing from a spot where the Moon is sitting closer to the horizon, it can create what's known as 'moon illusion'.

"When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects," says NASA. "The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn't take away from the experience."

If you're planning on viewing the November 14 supermoon, be sure to get somewhere nice and dark, away from the lights of the city, if you can.

You'll have some awesome opportunities to take pictures with your phone overnight, but if you want to see it at its absolute biggest, it's expected to reach the peak of its full phase on the morning of November 14 at 8:52am EST (1352 GMT).

 

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  Christine: A New Pain Killer - Alpha Brain Waves

(0 Nov 2016) Twelfth_century_headache_-_geographorg.jpgA New Painkiller - Alpha Brain Waves

Humans have been searching out painkillers for thousands of years. Originally we chewed various plants. Then healers found ways to compound various natural substances into pain-killing mixtures. Now our pain killers come out of labs, although researchers are going back to nature to search for new substances.

A new study seems to indicate that we can train our brain to work directly on the brain's pain centers and ignore pain. Read more>>>

Christine Cockey is a local mom and scientist who researches what's happening in the world of science and makes science easier to understand.  Keep up with her latest articles at http://mistralmtn.blogspot.com/

 

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  Veterans Day Posters

Historical Posters from US. Department of Veterans Affairs

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Physics & Chemistry Fun with Irvin Santa Cruz Nov 2-Dec 21

 

Mount Madonna School PreK-12, Open House 11/19

 

Gateway School K-8, Middle School Info Night 11/30


Mount Madonna School PreK-12, Art & Play in Pre & K!

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A lively introduction to Latin for children aged 7 and over. Join in the fun with Minimus - a mix of myths, stories, grammar support and historical background!

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This pupil's book is a lively, colourful introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain. A fun way to teach English grammar, it is ideal for cross-curricular activities.

 

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Lady Washington

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Santa Cruz Polar Express
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  Santa Cruz Polar Express
Santa Cruz Polar Express
Date: Every day (Nov 18-Dec 23)
Details: Ride to the North Pole and back, have cookies and cocoa, meet singing elves and Santa --in your pajamas!
Special Instructions: 1 pm, 3 pm, 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm NOTE: not all departures occur on each day.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Lady Washington Comes to Moss Landing
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  Lady Washington Comes to Moss Landing
Lady Washington
Date: Every day (Nov 10-Nov 28)
Details: Now's your chance to sail on the tall ship Lady Washington!
City: Moss Landing Phone: 800-200-5239 view all details >>
     
Mission Strategy Game
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  Mission Strategy Game
State Park Mission
Date: 12/26/2016 at 2:30pm
Details: Gather round the table and play a board game set in the 18th century
Special Instructions: at the end of School Street off the Santa Cruz Mission Plaza
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 429-1840. view all details >>
     
Telluride Mountainfilm
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  Telluride Mountainfilm
Rio Theater
Date: 11/12/2016 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Details: Explore the themes connected to Telluride Mountainfilm's mission to use the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Free Community Fall Fun Fest
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  Free Community Fall Fun Fest
Santa Cruz County 4-H
Date: 11/13/2016 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Ages: 5-15
Details: Free Community Fall Fun Fest! Come join us!
City: Aptos Phone: (831) 688-3974 view all details >>
     
Connection & Communication for Young Children with Special Needs
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  Connection & Communication for Young Children with Special Needs
Positive Discipline Community Resources
Date: 11/12/2016 from 8:30am to 12:30pm
Details: Teaching Parenting The Positive Discipline Way
Special Instructions: $15 for 2-hour volunteers; $45 after October 15
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (916) 453-8801 view all details >>
     
144th Anniversary of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse
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  144th Anniversary of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse
State Park Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Date: 11/12/2016 from 1:00pm to 7:00pm
Details: Live music, tours on the half hour, native plant sale, kids activities (scavenger hunt and crafts), and informational booths
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2120 view all details >>
     
Contra Dancing
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  Contra Dancing
Santa Cruz Dance
Date: The 2nd Fri of every month from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Ages: 7+
Details: Contra couples dancing for beginners and experienced dancers - Make dance magic happen on the dance floor!
Special Instructions: Beginner's lesson at 5:40. Dancing 7:00-10:00
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Art & Craft Fair
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  Art & Craft Fair
Boulder Creek Parks & Rec
Date: Every day (Nov 12-Nov 13) from 11:00am to 4:00pm
Details: Great local art!
City: Boulder Creek Phone: 831-338-2727 view all details >>
     
Goat Hill Fair
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  Goat Hill Fair
Goat Hill Fair
Date: Every day (May 20-May 21) from 10:00am to 3:00pm
Details: Goat Hill is a unique antiques and artisan fair with over 100 vendors!
City: Watsonville Phone: (408) 221-5054 view all details >>
     
Adopt a Family for the Holidays
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  Adopt a Family for the Holidays
Jacobs Heart
Date: Every day (Nov 1-Dec 15) at 3:00pm
Details: We have 120 local families of children with cancer and other life-limiting disease in great need of adoption for the holidays.
City: Santa Cruz County Phone: 831-724-9100 view all details >>
     
Younger Lagoon Reserve Tour
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  Younger Lagoon Reserve Tour
Seymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Date: The 2nd Su of every month from 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Ages: 10 years of age and older.
Details: Experience the wildlife and natural beauty of Younger Lagoon.
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 459-3800 view all details >>
     
Let the holidays begin!
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  Let the holidays begin!
Date:
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New Mommy Musical Meet-UP
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  New Mommy Musical Meet-UP
MusicalMe, Inc
Date: The 3rd Tues of every month from 12:30pm to 2:00am
Ages: birth - 12months
Details: Join us every 3rd Tuesday for our "New Mommy Musical Meet-Up"!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 438-3514 view all details >>
     
     
  Classical Education

To understand the Founders and liberal education, we need to know first that among the Founders, there were champions of the classics who had every intention that Greek and Latin remain central to liberal education in the American republic; second, that there were dissenters who objected strenuously to the classics' powerful grip on American education; and third, that even the champions of the classics tossed onto the rubbish heap some of the most venerable of the ancients.

All three parts of this argument matter if we want to arrive at a balanced judgment of the Founders and liberal education.

The takeaway from this is that the Founders' legacy for classical and liberal education is a mixed one: It depends on which ones we quote.

Founders Against Founders

Classical and liberal education have proven to be resilient. So has the opposition. Classicist and anti-classicists alike would be partly pleased, partly disappointed, and partly alarmed if they could visit 21st-century America and the jumble of public schools, private schools, home schools, online schools, classical schools, and vocational schools that make up our educational "system."

Among the "classicists" we find the ornery New England statesman John Adams, our second president. As an adult, Adams maintained his skill in Latin and Greek along with proficiency in a number of modern languages. Adams read widely in ancient and modern history, philosophy, constitutionalism, and political theory. His indebtedness to liberal learning could not have been greater.

Adams argued that the stability and durability of the young United States rested on the twin pillars of knowledge and virtue, a common refrain among the Founders.

Though a voracious reader of the classics himself, Thomas Jefferson, Adams' bitter rival during the early years of the republic, was somewhat ambivalent and spoke rather disparagingly of the classicists: "They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backward, not forward, for improvement."

One of the earliest critics of the prevalence of the classical languages was Benjamin Franklin.

His opposition to a certain kind of instruction in Greek and Latin came not from any anti-elitism, but from a conviction that time spent in this way had become an impediment to education, even an impediment to liberal education, depending on how we define liberal learning.

If "liberal" meant a broad, generous education for a man of the world able to navigate through polite society, then Latin and Greek seemed cramped and pedantic.

Franklin himself was a multilingual, learned man of cosmopolitan tastes and interests, yet he still opposed the classics. Why?

Flexibility

Franklin aimed at a utilitarian education that would equip ordinary citizens for their professions, including competence in their own language.

Education must be useful. The curriculum must include, he wrote in 1749, penmanship, drawing, English grammar and style, public speaking, history (with an emphasis on politics), geography, chronology, morality, natural history, and what his generation called "good breeding."

The ultimate aim of this useful education was public service to the community. Franklin wasn't opposed to the training of classical scholars, but not everyone was destined to be a scholar, and a practical education suited to the needs of a dynamic and prosperous society could not pretend everyone was going to be an academic.

Another Founder named Benjamin-Benjamin Rush-in 1789 argued for "liberal education" (his words) without instruction in Greek and Latin at all. Note the flexibility of the phrase "liberal education." It could be divorced from classical education. Rush regretted the prominence of the "dead languages" as an obstacle to the promotion of "useful knowledge."

By being so specialized, he thought, classical education could never meet the demands of "universal knowledge." That is to say, it obstructed not only the progress of practical knowledge, but also the spread of knowledge through all levels of society that would make participatory government possible. The times demanded a new system of education to meet the needs of a new kind of government and society.

The criticism articulated by Franklin, Rush, and others formed part of a much larger story. We see by the end of the 18th century the opening of a distinct divide in educational theory and practice that runs right down to the present.

The emerging industrial, mass democratic, utilitarian, market-driven age turned out to have very different expectations for the kind of people schools ought to produce.

Importance of the Ancients

It should be noted, however, that opponents of classical education did not wage a war of extermination against the classics themselves: 1) They still wanted scholars to master Greek and Latin; 2) they still wanted the ancients read in good English translations; and 3) they wrestled with the inescapable question of whether an education for everyone could be built on instruction in the Greek and Latin languages.

At the same time, the defenders of the classical languages were not necessarily supporters of the whole of the Greek and Roman tradition. They were selective in their judgments. They even rejected parts of the ancient heritage that today many advocates of classical education in particular consider to be foundational to the whole tradition.

Indeed, for the generation of 1787, for the culture that gave the United States its Constitution, the ancient world and its authors and their ideas mattered very much. The Greeks and Romans provided examples of success and failure, models to follow and models to avoid.

If any of the Founders rejected the study of Greek and Latin, that did not mean they rejected reading the ancients in good modern translations. It did not mean removing grammar, logic, and rhetoric from the curriculum-the trinity of subjects at the very heart of liberal education.

That even the generation of 1787 argued about education reminds us that the problem of education in American society and politics has never been a settled question. Not even close.

This column was adapted from a speech given Sept. 15 at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga's Center for Reflective Citizenship.

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