Though the Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI), Hillsdale College partners with charter schools across the country and provides recruiting help, teacher training, a comprehensive liberal arts scope and sequence for grades K-12, and curriculum advice to us free of charge. Schools working with Hillsdale College adhere to ten principles that are essential to classical education and a healthy school culture. Member schools can call on Hillsdale College and any of the other schools for help whenever they need it.
Looking at the 10 points is a good way of thinking about what classical education really is. Here they are:
Charter schools assisted by Hillsdale College commit to embrace and uphold the following key characteristics:
- The centrality of the Western Tradition in the study of history, literature, philosophy, and fine arts;
- A rich and recurring examination of the American literary, moral, philosophical, political, and historical traditions;
- The use of explicit phonics instruction leading to reading fluency, and the use of explicit grammar instruction leading to English language mastery;
- The teaching of Latin;
- The acknowledgement of objective standards of correctness, logic, beauty, weightiness, and truth intrinsic to the liberal arts;
- A school culture demanding moral virtue, decorum, respect, discipline, and studiousness among the students and faculty;
- A curriculum that is content-rich, balanced and strong across the four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history;
- A faculty where well-educated and articulate teachers convey real knowledge using traditional teaching methods rather than student-centered learning methods;
- A school that uses technology effectively but without diminishing the faculty leadership that is crucial to academic achievement; and
- A school with a plan to serve grades K through 12, although the grades at school opening may be scaled back if reasonable.