A new documentary helps spread the word about classical Christian education
by Ty Fischer
Recently, I got a chance to preview the Fox Nation documentary “The Miseducation of America” (see A New Documentary: The Miseducation of America). I loved it, but as I was watching I thought to myself, “People like me might need a primer on how to enjoy watching and enjoying this documentary.” This article is that primer.
FOX became interested in our work almost two years ago because people there were asking “what’s going on in our schools?” during the upheavals of 2020. I have been on the periphery of the project, but they have been wonderful to work with. We are blessed to have a gift Fox! We are thankful for their interactions and their openness—the documentaries are theirs but they listened to and were influenced by our feedback.
In the process, I have had a few people ask me about working with FOX, and if it is really good for us to work with an organization that some consider divisive. There is an old proverb about a guy who received a horse as a gift—free and clear. He then started checking the horse out by looking at his teeth, thereby giving offense to the gift giver. The question misunderstands the reality of the situation. There were not many organizations beating down our doors to tell this story.
The question is indicative of a trend. The last couple of years have been as politically divisive as any in my memory. Historically, in my lifetime this is the most divided America has been as a nation since the Civil War. As classical schools, we should be aiming our students toward making good, coherent, logical, and persuasive arguments. Too often, the political rantings of the left and the right simply fail to be coherent, valid, or persuasive. “Wait,” you might say. “Everyone I know who watches FOX News is convinced by their arguments, and everyone I know who watches CNN or MSNBC is convinced by their arguments. How can you say that these arguments are unpersuasive?” I am saying this because the reason these arguments are affecting viewers is that each group is preaching to their own choir. No one is being convinced or persuaded. Both the right and the left have their share of people holding up the images that make shadows in Plato’s caves.
But, there are people trapped in those metaphorical caves and we want to help them understand that there is a way out. The way out of the collapsing educational caves of our current culture is called classical Christian education. It is based on the Western Christian Paideia. Remember, that powerful word paideia means the formation of all parts of a person through everything in a particular culture. The Western Christian Paideia of our forefathers is the way out of today’s incoherent morass that is winnowing children and destroying families. I am thankful that FOX said “Western Christian Paideia” over and over during the five episodes. The impact of this repetition will function as a trail of bread crumbs for families searching for an answer. Guess what schools they will find if they start looking for the Western Christian Paideia? (Seriously, you might want to start thinking with your administration and admissions teams about how to sort through and to sort out the families that will be following those bread crumbs to your front door.)
The first step to leaving the matrix is knowing that the real world is outside of the matrix. God is doing amazing things through the current cultural insanity. He is causing allies and co-belligerents to pop up in all sorts of places. We are thankful that God opened this door. We hope that He uses these documentaries to help many despairing families leave the cave and follow the bread crumbs to your school. ✤
TY FISCHER Headmaster at Veritas Academy in Leola, PA, and ACCS Board Director of Strategic Growth