Hillsdale College is providing K-12 resources free of charge to schools across the country to combat the wokeification of education.
“We have a K-12 education office, which I run,” O’Toole said. “And the mission of that office is to teach public schools, private schools, charter schools about the principles of liberal arts education, a well-rounded education.”
Rather than using a specific agenda, she said students read documents and study the facts for themselves in a “scholarly” and “reputable” way that Hillsdale has been using since its founding.
“I love how you framed this because at Hillsdale you guys consider yourself a trustee of western philosophical and theological inheritance and that is something that goes back generations through world history,” host Todd Starnes said.
O’Toole said the students are taught a “classical” education.
“It’s a tried and true way of educating students that, you know, used to be the way that things were done in this country, and we think that the standards used to be higher. We think that teachers used to be happier in their work. Students used to come out of their K through eight or K-12 years knowing more than they do today. And there’s no reason why we can’t get back to that for every American student,” she said.
Hillsdale Academy, a private classical Christian school owned and operated by Hillsdale College, has more than 200 students in K-12.
“Together we provide guidance and resources and everything that classical educators need in order to bring quality curriculum and great teaching into their schools,” O’Toole said.
Every resource is free.
“We don’t charge schools for anything that we do, and we do it out of a desire to see quality, you know, come back into all schooling options,” she added.
If any community forms a school, “we take on all of the teacher training, we provide curriculum, and we connect that school with a network of others across the country that are devoted to the same mission.”
Below is a rushed transcript from the Todd Starnes Show:
STARNES: [01:37:04] Hillsdale is doing some incredible work, Hillsdale College. And it’s not just on the collegiate level. I want to go to the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line. We’re just delighted to have with us Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, the assistant provost for K-through-12 education at Hillsdale. Dr. O’Toole, happy to have you on the show today. [01:37:25][21.2]
O’TOOLE: [01:37:27] Hey, happy to be here. Thanks for having me. [01:37:29][1.8]
STARNES: [01:37:29] You know, before we jump into this, I want to get your reaction to what happened last night in Florida, where you had school board after school board where the conservatives defeated woke candidates at the ballot box. And now Miami-Dade is actually the largest school system in America now controlled by conservatives on the school board. [01:37:50][20.9]
O’TOOLE: [01:37:52] Yeah, well, I think we’re seeing things like that across the country. I think it’s a sign of the fact that the nation is paying more attention than ever to what our children are learning in school. And parents are rightly saying we have a right to know what you’re going to teach our children, and we want to consent to that, rather than have them have the students participate in kind of a new experiment. [01:38:18][25.6]
STARNES: [01:38:20] Let’s talk about the Hillsdale Mission, because I think this is so vitally important, what you guys are doing. And specifically, let’s talk about the importance of having a non-woke education. [01:38:31][11.0]
O’TOOLE: [01:38:34] Well, here at Hillsdale College, we are where the college was founded in 1844 for the purpose of teaching all who wish to learn. And if you look at early photographs of graduates from the college, you will see women there, you will see African-Americans there. In short, we were committed to the education of all Americans from our earliest days. Today we have a K through 12 education office, which I run. And the mission of that office is to teach public schools, private schools, charter schools about the principles of liberal arts education, a well-rounded education. What that means for the study of history is that rather than approach the study of history with a specific agenda, we’re going to read the documents, study the facts, learn the story, and then draw conclusions about what it means after we’ve learned the information. This is an approach to education that’s scholarly, it’s reputable, it’s reliable, and it’s the kind of work that we’ve been doing here at the college since our founding. [01:39:43][69.3]
STARNES: [01:39:44] I love how you framed this because at Hillsdale you guys consider yourself a trustee of western philosophical and theological inheritance and that is something that goes back generations through world history. [01:39:59][15.6]
O’TOOLE: [01:40:01] Yeah, exactly right. This method of educating students, classical education, we call it, is not new. We didn’t invent it here. In fact, it wasn’t even invented in America. It’s a tried and true way of educating students that, you know, used to be the way that things were done in this country. And we think that the standards used to be higher. We think that teachers used to be happier in their work. Students used to come out of their K through eight or K through 12 years knowing more than they do today. And there’s no reason why we can’t get back to that for every American student. [01:40:43][42.6]
STARNES: [01:40:44] Take us through what you guys are doing there at Hillsdale to specifically reach grades K through 12. [01:40:51][6.2]
O’TOOLE: [01:40:53] Sure. Well, we’re part of this K-12 education office. We have a private school here on campus called Hillsdale Academy, which is 30 years old. And together we provide guidance and resources and everything that classical educators need in order to bring quality curriculum and great teaching into their schools. All of the resources that we provide are free. We don’t charge schools for anything that we do, and we do it out of a desire to see quality, you know, come back into all schooling options. A lot of times we will work with a group of local people who want to see this type of schooling, classical education in their community. And they approach us and they say, you know what, we want to volunteer our time. We want to bring a school into being in our area, and we will work with those local groups and advise them and provide them with resources and help. And if they’re successful in founding a school, then we take on all of the teacher training, we provide curriculum, and we connect that school with a network of others across the country that are devoted to the same mission. [01:42:13][80.2]
STARNES: [01:42:14] You see, I think this is such a brilliant strategy and again, I love Michigan. It’s a lovely state, but I’m a Southerner. I don’t want to move all the way up there. But you’re saying, you know what, you don’t have to. You can actually start that form of education, that form of schooling in your town and your community and your state. [01:42:33][19.5]
O’TOOLE: [01:42:35] Exactly. Yeah. And it’s you know, it’s not a new thing. It relies on, you know, looking back to to a couple of generations ago in this country, this is the way my grandparents, who are from Arkansas, you know, were educated and they were not fancy people, but they did learn to diagram sentences and write in cursive and read primary source documents and memorize beautiful things that are worth knowing in school. And they came out of it, you know, well-educated people, even though they weren’t academics and were never going to be academics. So we, you know, we think that this is something that transcends boundaries. It’s something that should be available to every American child. And it’s something that it’s a high quality choice with which parents should be presented. [01:43:30][55.7]
STARNES: [01:43:31] Well said. And folks can go to hills. Hillsdale.edu. That’s Hillsdale.edu for more information. Is that right? Dr. O’Toole. [01:43:41][9.1]
O’TOOLE: [01:43:42] Yeah. And if you want to look at our K-12 work specifically, it’s K 12. Hillsdale.edu. [01:43:47][5.3]
STARNES: [01:43:49] All right. And we’ve got a direct link to that on our live show blog. All right, Dr. O’Toole, thank you so much. We’re going to have you back on the show. I think what you guys are doing is so vitally important to not just the health of the country, but really the future of the country. [01:44:03][13.7]
O’TOOLE: [01:44:04] Well, thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to talk with you. [01:44:06][2.2]
STARNES: [01:44:07] All right. Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, she is the assistant provost for K-through-12 education at Hillsdale. Hillsdale College, a fine, fine institution. [01:44:19][12.5]