Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Case for the Classics

This year in North Carolina, most of our History courses will receive a final exam made by the state ... versus a teacher-made final we've been able to create ourselves in years past in many courses (such as World History, which I teach).

We are all trying to figure out what's on this test, and the gut feeling and analysis at this point - by people a few levels above me - is that the test will be heavily focused on modern events.

If we get this test for the first time and find out that yes, there's a huge emphasis on World War I and beyond, we'll have to go back as a collective group and revamp our lessons to reduce the time we spend on the classical periods.

It's my hope we don't drift too far from our classical roots: To me that's the beauty of the ancient periods where law, philosophy, democracy and the beauty of the individual were cultivated. Americans appear so divided these days, and many of us seek out to define ourselves by our differences ... versus focusing on the ideas and traditions that bind us together.

In a sense, we are all ancient Greeks; we are all Romans; and all Americans share in the rich legacy of Africa - and the cradle of civilization Alexandria held so carefully for all of posterity.

Like Alexandria's famed Pharos Lighthouse, I fear that if the guiding light of our collective classical heritage goes out, we'll forever lose our way.