Ken Starr to universities: Regain your soul

October 8, 2013

Colleges and universities must return to a “classical view” of higher education built on religion, morality, wisdom, and knowledge. That was the argument proffered by Baylor University President Ken Starr during a speech Oct. 3 in Cary, North Carolina. Sponsored by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, the talk covered a range of topics. But Starr, an attorney and former federal judge best known for leading investigations surrounding President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, focused on three main steps to revitalize higher education: educating with a rigorous curriculum, educating for wisdom, and educating for freedom. “Higher education needs to be a transformational experience aimed toward the good life, the virtuous life, the wise life,” Starr said. To underscore the need for a more rigorous academic environment, Starr cited statistics showing that today's college students spend an average of 27-hours per week studying outside the classroom, compared to an average...

Celebrating Constitution Day, Tar Heel style

September 17, 2013

Categories: Education

Today — Sept. 17 — is Constitution Day. In commemoration, the North Carolina History Project (and its Director, Troy Kickler) offer this fascinating look at the Tar Heel State's presence in a famous painting: A few weeks ago with some friends, I was viewing an online photo of Howard Chandler Christy’s famous painting,Signing of the Constitution of the United States, and we were pointing out this founder and that founder in the painting. (Yes, that actually did happen, and yes, we thought it was somewhat fun.) After five years of research, Christy took seven months to portray the assembly at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on an 20 x 30-foot canvas. Washington is the commanding figure, standing on the platform, behind the desk. Benjamin Franklin is a prominent figure, too, although sitting down. Alexander Hamilton is depicted, leaning forward as Franklin lends an ear to the junior statesman’s opinion--something Hamilton was willing to share to whomever may listen. The...

Using retirement years to educate kids

August 20, 2013

Categories: Education

Our new Liberty Leader focuses on Baker Mitchell, a retired businessman who now devotes his life to helping kids in coastal North Carolina get an excellent education: A tale of two schools. That’s what prompted Baker Mitchell to embark on a journey to bring more education options to families in coastal North Carolina. The story began in the early 1990s, when Baker lived in Houston, Texas, with his family. He had recently sold his computer company and was looking for a new pursuit to spice up retirement. Baker decided to use his affinity for science to volunteer as a teacher in elementary schools. “At the time, Barbara Bush Elementary School in the suburbs of Houston was the big deal,” Baker said. “It was a brand new school with all the gadgets, using all the new education fads, with all the wealthy students. But their scores were terrible. I began to ask why.” Soon, Baker got an answer. A friend suggested that he volunteer at Wesley Elementary in north Houston....

Pope Center: Budget presents a modest increase in freedom and accountability

August 8, 2013

Categories: Education

How did North Carolina's public universities fare in the latest budget? The Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has the details in this report: Few state-level legislative sessions have garnered as much attention as North Carolina’s did his year, as evidenced by the “Moral Monday” protestsand a condescending New York Times editorial. For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans controlled all branches of government, and, understandably, Republicans tried to get a lot done. On the higher education front, there have been mostly positive (if modest) changes. Among other changes, the new policies include: A small increase in funding Tougher teacher licensure requirements Out-of-state tuition increases Firearms allowed in cars on campus ...

2013 NCGA session: Landmark gains for conservatives

August 7, 2013

The Civitas Institute has compiled a list of conservative accomplishments from the 2013 N.C. legislative session: As the dust settles on the landmark 2013 North Carolina legislative session, conservatives can look upon the accomplishments of the state legislature and find much to celebrate. A catalog of policies that conservatives have for years been advocating for finally became reality. The number of reforms and improvements implemented in just one session may be unprecedented for any state government in the modern era. Even consistently “red” states typically take years to accomplish what North Carolina did in the span of six months. With Republican majorities in both legislative chambers combined with a Republican Governor for the first time in roughly 150 years, the time was right to begin unraveling generations of big-government, liberal policies that had become the norm in the Tar Heel State. Conservative policies spanning taxation, education, health care, elections...

Tales of a ‘you-can’t-scare-me’ education reformer

August 6, 2013

Our new Achiever Spotlight tells the story of Terry Stoops, Director of Research and Education Policy Analyst at the John Locke Foundation: The odds have always been against Terry Stoops. As an advocate for expanding parental choice in education, Terry has been a minority in a world dominated by education bureaucrats. He has faced formidable foes in North Carolina — the education establishment, including the powerful N.C. Association of Educators — that stand against parental empowerment and choice and fight to maintain the status quo. But Terry has never backed down from the fight, and recently his commitment has produced results. Since a Republican majority took control of the North Carolina legislature in 2011, Terry has played an even more important role contributing to the policy dialog on schools — and he’s been a leader in reaching common sense reforms. As Director of Research at the John Locke Foundation, a free-market think tank in Raleigh, North...

Educating future — and current — economists about their past

July 23, 2013

Categories: Education

Our new Grantee Profile focuses on the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University, an academic center designed to teach the origins of one of the most essential disciplines of all time — economics: Human beings are fascinated by stories of origins: How life began, how nations were founded, how civilizations rise and fall, and how concepts were developed. Jumping off that natural interest in beginnings, Dr. Bruce Caldwell has established a world-class academic center at Duke University —the Center for the History of Political Economy — designed to teach the origins of one of the most essential disciplines of all time: economics. That’s an important mission, because the history of economic thought is all-too-often overlooked in economics curriculum. Many recently graduated economists understand current theories and practice, but lack a firm grasp of their profession’s history — where theories originated, and who originated them. Caldwell is...