Mason Classical Academy, a Hillsdale College charter school in Naples, FL, launched in 2014 with an emphasis on classical education instead of utilizing Common Core like the other schools in Collier County where they are located.
Classical education is language-based which they describe:
A classical education is more than just a pattern of learning. First, it is language-focused where learning is accomplished through written and spoken words versus images such as videos and television. In a language-focused learning, the mind needs to work harder and ‘decode’ symbols (words) into concepts. Images, on the other hand, allow the mind to be passive and enjoy the translation from words into concepts already completed.
They took the Florida Standard Assessments this year and looking at the overall results with schools throughout Collier County the Academy’s approach has been successful. They lead the county in English Language Arts Achievement. They are in the upper tier overall in Mathematics Achievement and considering they are not taught Common Core math their score is remarkable since the assessment is aligned to Common Core math.
Drilling down further with the county’s third graders 90 percent of the Academy’s third graders were considered proficient in English Language Arts. This is incredible compared to the county average of 57 percent and the state average of 58 percent. The Academy’s third graders are among the top two percent in the state.
Their 5th graders were even more dominant. 92 percent of the Academy’s 5th graders were considered proficient compared to the county average of 56 percent and state average of 53 percent. They are among the top one percent of 5th graders in the state.
So, it begs the question comparing Classical Education with Common Core which is better for literacy? In Florida, the answer is pretty clear.