Broad Core Curriculum at Patrick Henry College
The Loss of Traditional Values
We live in a time in which traditional Christian values are derided because they are traditional, especially in academia. News stories abound with professors denouncing Christianity as the main cause of America’s social woes while the less militant choose to quietly suppress traditional Christianity as “intolerant.” Tradition prevents us from repeating the mistakes of the past along with helping us maintain important values. In the past, it also was effective in influencing the lives of those who were not even Christians in the regular sense. Many traditional biblical values were accepted as societal norms, even among non-Christians. As history has demonstrated, traditional Christianity cannot be thrown away without a distressing change in society, therefore, Broad Core Curriculum at Patrick Henry College is necessary.
Patrick Henry College understands the power and importance of traditional values. Accordingly, it seeks to teach these values through its intensive core curriculum, covering a broad array of topics such as history, music, mathematics, rhetoric, science, law, theology, and even economics. All of these are taught from a traditional biblical perspective and all students take the core, regardless of their major. These classes are all difficult as well and require actual effort to be completed, unlike many core classes at other schools. What these various and seemingly unrelated subjects do in the core is give the Patrick Henry College student a vast understanding of how biblical values apply to every field of life.
The Decline of Education
Along with preserving Christian values, there is another major gap that Patrick Henry College’s core seeks to fill. It is the marked decline in American educational standards and success, even though college enrollment and graduation are higher than ever. While it is not easy to pinpoint a central cause for this decline, one main reason is the loss of focus on the students’ development. Public education has turned into a battlefield in which conservatives and liberals are fighting over what the students should be taught along with skirmishes between teacher’s unions, parents, and many other groups. This ideological battle has spread into the colleges as well, leading to politics becoming generally more important than education. Hence, it seems that the main goal is not to have brilliant students anymore but is, in fact, something different for every group. Observing the precedent of success that traditional classical education has had, Patrick Henry College chose to develop its core curriculum accordingly to combat the decay of American education. There are many reasons why a core curriculum is effective and important to Patrick Henry College.
Preparation for a Career
There is a fundamental problem in assuming, as many colleges do that a core curriculum is outdated and not useful for a student’s future career. Granted, Patrick Henry College alum is not going to use his expertise in classical music history to become a sports journalist. imagine the advantage the journalist has when he is experienced in researching things unfamiliar to him such as classical music. There are many other areas in which skills from the Patrick Henry College core curriculum cross over to completely separate subjects. Modern academia has become pragmatic by focusing all of its attention on narrow areas of interest. This practice creates students who can do their job but know little else and do not have a broad base of knowledge or experience to rely on should they need it. Patrick Henry College solves this problem by having the extensive core curriculum along with a strong emphasis on internships.
How to Think
Another reason to use a Broad Core Curriculum at Patrick Henry College is that it teaches one to think. Because of the previously mentioned crossover that the subjects give, a student acquires the ability to reason in many different ways. This skill is tremendously useful even outside of the workplace since one can use his skills to make life choices effectively. The brain is much like an athlete in that it benefits more from varied types of training rather than endless hours of one, known as cross-training sports. Football players get better at football by doing jump rope, swimming, lifting weights, and even ballet, not by solely playing football. The brain also gets better at one task by being challenged by other dissimilar tasks. It has been estimated that there are nine main kinds of intelligence humans can have including spatial intelligence, mathematical intelligence, and factual intelligence that involves remembering historical events. All of these types of intelligence are completely separate from each other and can be trained independently. Thus, Patrick Henry College’s core helps train students to be more powerful thinkers overall.
Leaders and Culture-Changers
The most important reason for the employment of a Broad Core Curriculum at Patrick Henry College is to bring glory to God by cultivating leaders and culture-changers who will transform society. The best adversaries to combat well-educated enemies of Christianity are Christians who know worldly matters, as well as their opponents, do, if not better. Many Christian colleges do correctly in seeking to build leadership qualities in their students yet fall short in giving their students excellent education for the real world. And, though not every Patrick Henry College student will end up being one, the college’s robust education gives them the broadness in perspective great leaders need.
Filling in the Gaps
Patrick Henry College is a very small school, and new as well. However, its goals are anything but immature. Its founders observed the lack in America of schools that taught firm biblical values along with producing brilliant students. So, they committed to create an intense core curriculum that would reaffirm God’s undying word while simultaneously giving students a deep aspect on the world. While it is imperfect as all man’s creations are, it has been tremendously successful in the short time Patrick Henry College has been in existence.
Jackson Katanic is currently studying Economics and Business Analytics at Patrick Henry College; a classical Christian liberal arts college in Purcellville, VA. He plans to attend law school and work in corporate management. Katanic has lived in seven different states and enjoys songwriting and boxing.