Friday, May 05, 2006

The Rockfish Gap Scope and Sequence

I’m not a great fan of Thomas Jefferson but when he did get it right, he said it well.  In considering the form and function of the proposed University of Virginia, Jefferson outlined this view of the educational program which would lead to the college gates.  If you add training in the nurture and admonition of the Lord -- for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding -- the result would be hard to improve on.  I call this the Rockfish Gap Scope and Sequence:

The objects of this primary education determine its character and limits.  These objects would be,

To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business;

To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing;

To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties;

To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either;

To know his rights;

    To exercise with order and justice those he retains;

    To choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates;

      And to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment;

And in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

-- Thomas Jefferson, Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia, Meeting in Rockfish Gap, Virginia, to the State Legislature  (quoted in William Bennett's Our Sacred Honor;  the paragraphing is my own.)

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