Phi Beta Cons

Higher Education’s Spontaneous Order

In today’s Pope Center piece, Troy Camplin argues that it’s impossible to reform education. That’s because education (at all levels) is a spontaneous order and no one can reform that kind of order– from the top down, anyway. Much as many people want an education system that teaches students how to write well, for example, it’s not possible to demand that the system suddenly do that. Most students write poorly because, Camplin explains, the notions about teaching writing that dominate throughout the education system today have been spreading since 1972 and are, sadly, part of the order. Change can only come from the bottom up by persuading people to change their beliefs and that is easier said than done.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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