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Tennessee GOP Gov. Lee Fights Back Against Leftism, Working With Hillsdale To Open Charter Schools
Bill Lee, governor of Tennessee, smiles during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Saturday, July 10, 2021. The three-day conference is titled "America UnCanceled." Photographer: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg
Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tennessee GOP Governor Bill Lee is fighting back against the rampant leftism purveyed in the educational community across the country by inviting famed conservative institution Hillsdale College —which refuses to accept state or federal funding, including student grants or loans — to start 50 charter schools in his state.

The New York Times mocked Hillsdale’s principles, writing “The college has also developed the ‘1776 Curriculum,’ which sets out to portray America as ‘an exceptionally good country.’ During a time when education has become inflamed by divisive cultural debates, Hillsdale has been criticized for its glossy spin on American history as well as its ideological tilt on topics like affirmative action.”

And horror of horrors, the Times notes, “Educators and historians have also raised questions about other instruction at Hillsdale’s charter schools, citing their negative take on the New Deal and the Great Society and cursory presentation of global warming.”

Lee stated recently, “For decades, Hillsdale College has been the standard-bearer in quality curriculum and in the responsibility of preserving American liberty. … I believe their efforts are a good fit for Tennessee.”

“The Hillsdale charter schools are neither owned nor managed by Hillsdale,” The Times noted. “Instead, the schools enter agreements to use the Hillsdale curriculum and the college provides training for faculty and staff, as well as other assistance — all free of charge.”

In March, after speaking to the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Lee stated, “We want charter school operators in this state from all over the country. … Any, high-quality charter school operator that wants to locate in this state we want them to consider that.”

“We have 22 operators, we have 116 charters, that educate 44,000 kids — 91% of those kids are minority students that come from — many of them come from difficult zip codes and neighborhoods in our state. We need to give them and we should make certain that we give the parents who choose that public school options for their kids,” he added.

Hillsdale’s classical education hearkens back to the time when respect for the Western philosophical tradition lay at the heart of collegiate education. Here is a sample of Hillsdale’s kind of thinking:

Receive an introduction to early American political thought and its crowning political achievement, the United States Constitution. Learn basic American political concepts like natural rights, social compact theory, religious liberty, limited government, separation of powers, and the rule of law.

Receive an introduction to representative Great Books in the West from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, meeting works like the Bible and authors such as Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Ovid, Augustine, and Dante.

Continue your study of the Western literary tradition with English authors like Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Swift, Wordsworth, Dickens, Yeats, and Eliot, and American authors like Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Frost, Hemingway, and Faulkner.

Receive a general overview of the history of philosophical development in the West from its inception with the Pre-Socratic philosophers of ancient Greece to the 20th century Anglo-American and Continental traditions. Meet thinkers and innovators like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche.

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