To Start a School
What would you do if your children’s educational options were not good enough? This past month on Eagle Forum Live, Phyllis Schlafly interviewed a guest who took matters into her own hands!
Kelly Lichter is a wife and mother from Naples, Florida who found herself disappointed in area schools. “Our kids end up growing up bored, and they don’t know much about anything,” Lichter lamented, describing the education options she found initially. Together with her husband, and joined by local parents, she founded Mason Classical Academy, a classical charter school serving the public in the Naples area.
The school opened in August 2014 and currently educates more than 400 K-6 students, with a waiting list of more than 700. They will be expanding up to 10th grade next year. While Lichter admits that Mason Classical Academy doesn’t have the ‘extras’ – a gymnasium or a cafeteria, for example – they can offer staples that normal public schools have forgotten, such as instruction in phonics.
While demand for classical learning among local parents was high, there was plenty of resentment, too: Lichter, a former public school teacher, admitted that she lost friends after bringing classical education to her community. She was elected to the local school board in November, after a tight race, and she aims to influence public schools from that platform.
Instruction at Mason Classical Academy includes studies in Greek and Latin roots, ethics, and virtue, alongside history, mathematics, and literature. “Classical education,” Lichter explained, “is based on the way the human brain develops. During what we call the grammar years, that’s when children can learn a lot of vocabulary . . . once they start to develop, they can start thinking critically and analyzing, which we call the logic stage. Then, by the time they’re in high school, they reach what we call the rhetoric stage, where they can actually defend why they believe something.” The school avoids hiring teachers with degrees in education, finding that the best teachers have non-traditional backgrounds.
You can listen to the entire conversation between Phyllis Schlafly and Kelly Lichter here.
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