Earlier this week, King’s students had their first Fall Break since we moved our campus to New York City ten years ago. The break was welcomed by all—a chance to enjoy Central Park on a crisp fall day usually beats out a lecture or time in the library in students’ minds.
But the break was even more deserved given all of the exciting things that have happened since the beginning of the school year. This issue of the "Parent's Press" will recap some of this excitement and remind you why The King’s College is a great choice for your son or daughter.
One item we’d especially like to point out is the Matching Gift you’ll read about below. This is truly an exciting opportunity—a gift of any amount will instantly be doubled. We ask that you consider joining us and The King's College as we raise $1 million to provide scholarships for students who might not otherwise be able to attend King’s.
All our best,
Jim and Jennifer Groth
Co-chairs, Parent's Leadership Council
The King's College is pleased to announce that a very generous donor has offered a $500,000 matching gift in honor of the new college president, Dinesh D'Souza. This gift will help us raise up to $1 million for our Presidential Scholarship Fund. Just think--your gift of $25, $50, or even $100 can quickly become $50, $100, or even $200. Every dollar is doubled between now and November 30th.
President D'Souza Published in the Washington Post, Models the Vision of The King's College
The President of The King’s College, Dinesh D’Souza, published an op-ed in the Washington Post. The article continues the national dialogue that D’Souza has sparked with the controversial topic that has been the subject of multiple radio and television interviews, a #1 best-selling book, and articles in several prominent publications.
D’Souza theorizes that the key to explaining President Barack Obama’s policy decisions rests not in anything like Marxism or European-style socialism. Rather, D’Souza maintains that President Obama works from an anti-colonial mindset.
Anti-colonialism, D’Souza explains, “is the idea that the rich countries got rich by looting the poor countries, and that within the rich countries, plutocratic and corporate elites continue to exploit ordinary citizens.” He develops the argument—which can be read here—by looking at Obama’s policies in such areas as finance and oil.
The King’s College seeks to prepare students for principled leadership in the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, education, business, the arts, and the church. Part of this education is understanding the importance of ideas, and how ideas are built on assumptions.
President D’Souza is providing a model for our students by examining the assumptions of a public figure and creating an argument to explain why these assumptions form the basis of ideas. His thesis—exploring the causal factors of Obama’s policies—looks to the very core of what might drive the president’s agenda.
Likewise, all of our faculty are encouraged to engage the public sphere and to generate discourse on ideas that matter. The emphases of a Kingsian education—politics, philosophy, economics, business, and culture—are all fair game for civic engagement. Our students not only learn ideas in the classroom, they also see faculty and staff engaging in civil discourse about these ideas outside of the classroom.
While the College itself does not necessarily endorse what our faculty and staff argue, we applaud President D’Souza and our faculty for boldly venturing into the public square and showing students how they might act similarly in the future.
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Recent Grad Receives Prestigious Fellowship with Teach for America
Few job offers would cause recent college graduates to pass up such prestigious opportunities as a job on Capitol Hill or an offer to Harvard Law School. Yet, as a recent New York Times article shows, Teach for America is creating quite a stir among those looking for the nation’s top jobs.
The King’s College is pleased to announce that one of its 2010 graduates has joined this elite cadre of America’s future leaders. Daniel Hay is currently teaching math to middle school students in Wilmington, Del.
Daniel decided to apply for the Teach for America program because he has always been fascinated by education policy. Whether the topic at hand is crime or family structure or economic stability, Hay said, “just about every issue policymakers feel the need to ‘fix’ could be largely averted with better schools and better teachers.”
“Unfortunately, we have failed to ensure a quality education for every student in this country and have fallen behind just about every industrialized nation in educational outcomes,” he said.
Daniel said that so many of the opportunities in his life have been the “direct result of a handful of teachers who believed in me and challenged me to discover my own potential. Millions of children across this country go through their entire schooling career without ever encountering such a teacher.”
To ensure that America remains competitive in education, Daniel believes that more teachers must be “willing to commit to teaching with the same energy that stock brokers and lawyers and doctors devote to their profession.” Thus, at Teach for America, all the new teachers undergo a five-week intensive training and development—or, as he put it, “Teacher Boot Camp.”
Already, Daniel feels confident as a classroom instructor. He shared one story of a girl in his summer science class who other teachers had cast off as unmotivated and difficult to manage. He, however, saw that she was simply bored. During summer sessions, he said, “I recognized that she, like me, craved a challenge, and would respond better to more difficult work, so my co-teacher and I began putting AP Bio Exam questions on her daily quizzes. By the end of the summer, she improved her score to a 96 on the end of course exam.”
At The King’s College, Daniel studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. He said that the “demanding degree was a perfect preparation for the teaching profession.”
“PPE emphasizes that government alone is not enough to fix man's problems,” he said. “Philosophy shows us that man is fallen; politics shows us that man is self-interested; and economics shows us that man has imperfect knowledge. In the field of education, governments cannot create good schools. The government can create a field defined by professionalism, academic freedom, and standards-based accountability, but only teachers, administrators, parents, and students can actually improve educational outcomes.”
The challenge of the Teach for America program has inspired Daniel to become a better teacher and to search for solutions to the education problem in this country. His education at The King’s College—which prepares students to help shape and to lead in such areas of society as education—and his record of success have prepared him for Teach for America and beyond.
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Does "Spontaneous Creation" Explain the Cause of the Universe?Professor Bruce Gordon Argues that it does not
Dr. Bruce Gordon, associate professor of mathematics and science, recently published an op-ed in the "Washington Times." Titled “Hawking Irrational Arguments,” the article contends that physicist Stephen Hawking may have come to erroneous conclusions in his recent book.
Gordon looks specifically at Hawking’s claims that spontaneous creation accounts for the origins of the universe, and that the explanation of a creator is no longer necessary. As Gordon writes, however, “’spontaneous creation’ minus any cause illustrates the lack of an explanation rather than scientific comprehension.”
Indeed, the mathematical explanations on which arguments such as Hawking’s rely often neglect genuine explanations. When this occurs, the laws of physics forsake “genuine explanations for amazingly accurate mathematical descriptions in which efficient material causality is nowhere to be found.”
Because quantum physics cannot explain the material cause of the world, he writes, “we find that material reality itself lacks a principle of sufficient causation: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining.“
To read the rest of Gordon’s argument, please see the "Washington Times’" website.
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Announcement - Interregnum VII: Villainy
Each year The King’s College selects a theme that the College as a whole will explore. Along the way, students read some books in common. The exploration of this theme culminates in a two-day event put on by the students in which they hold public debates, compete in speech contests, exhibit art work, and stage other activities. The College also takes this occasion to invite a prominent outside speaker to lecture on the topic. Recent Interregnums have focused on the themes of difficulty, civilization, and avarice. What follows is the announcement of Interregnum VII to students:
"What if man in fact is not a scoundrel-in general, that is, the whole human race-then the rest is mere prejudice, instilled fear, and there are no barriers, and that's just how it should be!" -Raskolnikov from Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"
Last New Year's we exited a decade that began with the September 11th attack and continued with the escalation of the Second Intifada, the Darfur genocide, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, two financial meltdowns, the nuclearization of hostile powers and almost innumerable assassinations, coups, piracies, drug wars, murders, tortures, rapes, scandals, swindles, heists, and other assorted acts of deviance. Behind every corner, it seems, lurks some shadowy villain. Our social conscience is packed with the names of evil-doers: bin Laden, Madoff, Katrina, Castro, and Hussein—just to name a few.
With all the bombers, terrorists, arsonists and white-collar criminals out to murder or defraud us it's a wonder we ever leave the house.
On the other hand, this summer’s box office was a fine example of the modern counter-take on villainy. "Robin Hood," "Inception," "Despicable Me", and "Salt" all cast a villain, or at least a criminal, as the protagonist. Even "Twilight"—we're sorry to report to you—turns the traditional scary-monster archetype on its ear. Why is there a movement to play the villain sympathetically? Why do we tend to glorify the revolutionary over the loyalist, the rebel above the law, and the sinner before the saint? Perhaps because in this post-everything world they seem more real, more human, and almost definitely more exciting.
The theme that The King's College will contemplate for Interregnum VII is "Villainy."
Villainy is the manner of behaving wickedly, but more often it is a projection, a term of opprobrious address for one's opponent. Nations at war will constantly vilify each other; politicians will always run smear campaigns; Kazem Sedighi will forever blame earthquakes on scantily clad women.
Underpinning all of this is the classic question: of what evil is man really capable? Where do we separate the villain from the vilified? The reality from the perception? Is a truly objective villain possible outside of fiction?
Moreover, at what point is dissent confused with villainy, and at what point is it rightly called such? We'll ask if villains are essential to life as well as fiction; can you even have a worthwhile story without an antagonist? How should a just society punish its law-breakers? How should it wage wars? And what about Christian pacifism?
Lastly, we'll get the chance to take a deeper look at our favorite villains, and then we'll ponder the state of our souls for having such things as "favorite villains."
In keeping with previous Interregnums, this year the student body will read a text pertinent not only to the theme but to our intellectual lives as well. "Crime and Punishment," the first of Fyodor Dostoevsky's five great novels from the latter period of his writing, is his "psychological account of a crime." The novel successfully chronicles the full spectrum of villainy from the protagonist-villain's point of view: an impoverished student's descent into mental and moral anguish when he's forced to murder a pawnbroker for her money.
We look forward to a year of studious introspection and academic competition as we come together to explore this theme.
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