May 5, 2010
Ron Paul’s home school curriculum is going to be popular. His ideas appeal to home school parents. This curriculum reinforces their outlook.
Most states require a course in civics. There is nothing to match this. It begins in the junior year. There is an elective senior course.
The Law. This is a first-semester course on the law. Textbook: Bastiat’s The Law. This is a series of readings on the theory of limited civil government. It includes primary source documents and articles from The Freeman and Mises.org.
U.S. Constitution. This is a second-semester course. It is taken simultaneously with the American history course. It shows what the Framers’ goals were for the Constitution: limited government. It covers the anti-Federalists, who warned of political centralization and loss of liberty. It shows how the Supreme Court hijacked the Constitution in 1803 with Marbury vs. Madison: the doctrine of judicial review, which the Framers had not foreseen. It also shows how Presidents centralized power, how Congress centralized power, and why voters promoted both. Textbook: The Revolution: A Manifesto.
Local Politics. This is a senior-year course. It is not mandatory. The student is taught the basics of local government. Students are provided with a free template to set up their own WordPress websites. They can monitor local city councils, county commissioners, and local school boards, and report on them. Newspapers do not offer this in depth. This teaches them how to get involved in precint politics. It teaches them about using a website to develop a mailing list for a campaign for local office five years down the road. It teaches them the dogcatcher strategy.
This is a one-year course taken in the junior year. This course begins with Jamestown. It shows how economic and political freedom led to the establishment of the largest free trade zone in the world: the United States. It emphasizes the war between business enterprise and state regulation, and how big business got into control after the Civil War by using the government. It also covers the religious history of the United States, based on the pro-liberty book by Stark and Finke, The Churching of America.
It covers the three attempts to saddle the nation with a central bank, and how the big banks got the Federal Reserve Act passed late in 1913. Textbook: End the Fed.
It covers all of the major wars, from King Philip’s War (1675-76) to the Iraq War, and why we got into them, case by case.
The course is based on careful readings of primary source documents, with commentaries.
AMERICAN LITERATURE AND RHETORIC
This is a junior-year course. It parallels the American history course. It assigns classic political speeches to show how the speakers used rhetoric to persuade their listeners. It assigns literature that describes the transformation of the continent. It also exposes socialist literature as propaganda, and traces the background of these authors.
Students are required to write two major term papers and post them on their oiwn individual websites. The student is given a free template for his home school papers.
This is a senior-year course in English. It teaches students how to write persuasively: classified ads, eBay ads, Craigslist ads, letters to the editor, and speeches. Instead of writing poetry that will not sell, they write advertising jingles that might sell. This is action-oriented rhetoric, as all rhetoric should be.
Each student takes a year of public speaking: senior year. Students are required to give one speech per month and post each one on their own YouTube channels, which are free to set up.
This is two-year course: sophomore and junior years.
First semester: From The Hebrews through Greece and Rome, into the medieval world.
Second semester: Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the rise of the nation-state and modern warfare.
Third semester: The rise of mercantilism, the free market, economic growth, science and technology, and the banking system.
Fourth semester: From World War I to the present. This covers the rise of total war and the parallel developments: socialism, communism, and the welfare-warfare state.
Sophomore and junior years: parallels the Western civilization course chronologically. The readings reveal the culture of the West. Included are plays, poetry, hymns, legends, short stories, and novels.
A one-year introduction to Austrian School economic theory. It is taken either in the sophomore or junior year. Topics: property rights, price theory, profir and loss, monetary theory, capital theory, and taxation.
A junior-year course in the spirit of enterprise and starting a home business. Entrepreneurship and the rise of American business. Textbook: John Chamberlain’s The Enterprising Americans. Also: Ludwig von Mises’s Bureaucracy and Profit and Loss.
First semester: The course directs students to the Junior Achievement program.
Second semester: How to start a Web-based home business from scratch.
First semester: budgeting (time and money), the time value of money (interest), credit cards, debit cards, renting vs. buying, insurance, college costs.
Second semester: investing — stocks, bonds, foreign currencies, mutual funds, ETFs, precious metals, real estate.
Key skill: how to create and use a spreadsheet (OpenOffice).
MATH AND SCIENCE
No need to reinvent the wheel. Salman Khan has done the work: www.KhanAcademy.org.
That’s the main problem. This curriculum does not exist yet. But it could. Two years from now, it could be on-line.
One year from now, the sophomore year could be on-line.
Could it be offered for free? Of course. Websites are free. YouTube and Blip.tv are free. Blip.tv offers unlimited time, but 25 minutes per lesson are enough. It also offers free MP3 files, which can be linked to iTunes.
There could be workbooks and on-line exams with instant feedback.
Can you imagine what kind of response he could get from voters in the 2012 election campaign? What a campaign slogan: Free Education — No Taxation — Now!. Every time some Establishment pundit attacked the curriculum, a hundred parents would go to the site and register their teenagers: www.RonPaulCurriculum.com.
What a mailing list this would be!
A long-term revolution? This is the foundation. He does not have to win the election to launch it. He only has to run . . . if he has this curriculum ready to go.
Does his campaign fund have enough money to create this course? Of course.
What would it cost to create it? I figure half a dozen grad students could do it for $30,000 each for two years. Grad students are hungry. They can’t get decent-paying jobs.
This assumes that he would have to pay. I imagine that there are graduate students out these who would work for free over a summer as interns to have their names on these courses.
Would high school teachers pitch in for free, sharing their ideas? I think so.
All we have to do is convince him to hire a coordinator to get the project rolling. I suggest Dr. Robert Murphy. He is the master of the student workbook.
If Dr. Paul doesn’t do this, I plan to. But I cannot get it on-line in two years in time for 2012. He can.
I have reserved this web domain: www.RonPaulCurriculum.com. I’ll give it to him when the first year of the curriculum is ready for posting.
If you think it’s a good idea, let him know. Subject: Education.