Brandywine curriculum meeting discusses 'American Classical Curriculum'

NILES, Mich.-- Some parents of Brandywine students are saying they didn't get enough notice about a key meeting focused on curriculum. Monday, the Brandywine curriculum committee held a last-minute meeting, discussing something called "American Classical Curriculum" on the agenda.

"The bullet point, called 'American Classical Curriculum' is what really drove me here," one parent said during public comment. "That's not even progress you can take-- it's not progress."

"It was very much teaching a specific perspective on history, on economics, on literature, and it was all old, European, and American," another parent commented. "So, I personally think that's a very limiting approach."

But what is this curriculum? It is synonymous with Hillsdale classical education-- formulated by the conservative Hillsdale College.

It focuses on strong liberal arts and science courses, while also teaching morals and virtues.

Some are alleging the parental rights group in Berrien County, "We the Parents," is pushing for this curriculum as some kind of political or religious agenda. For background, on their Facebook page, "We the Parents" says they stand for the values of "faith, family, and freedom" in short.

But, retired former superintendent John Jarpe says it's also not the board's role to suggest specific curriculum.

"There's this perception that we are trying to bring religion into the public school. I would just state that is not the intention, at least, that's not my intention," said board member, Angela Seastrom.

According to Hillsdale's website, other parts of the K-12 lessons include "moral and political philosophy", American government, logic, and rhetoric, as well as biology, chemistry, and physics.

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