The Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI) is a project of Hillsdale College devoted to the education of young Americans. Through this initiative, the College supports the launch of K-12 charter schools. These schools will train the minds and improve the hearts of young people through a content-rich classical education in the liberal arts and sciences, with instruction in the principles of moral character and civic virtue.
Reform of American public education, to be successful and good, must be built on a foundation of classical liberal arts learning-the kind of learning best suited to a free society and most needed for it preservation. BCSI is an important step in that direction.
To advance the founding of classical charter schools, Hillsdale College works with select school-founding groups of local citizens who care deeply about education, who plan to apply for a charter, and who prove themselves capable of starting and governing a school. When a founding group’s interests and abilities are a good match, BCSI will assist in creating and implementing the schools’s academic program, providing the curriculum design and teacher training. This support, along with guidance on the shaping of a vibrant and ennobling school culture, will provide the foundation for these new schools to promote a liberal and civic education in America’s public schools.
This initiative is made possible by a major grant from the Barney Family Foundation and gifts from other friends of Hillsdale College.
Hillsdale College is an independent institution of higher learning founded in 1844 by men and women “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings” resulting from civil and religious liberty and “believing that the diffusion of learning is essential to the perpetuity of these blessings.” It pursues the stated object of the founders: “to furnish all persons who wish, irrespective of nation, color, or sex, a literary, scientific, [and] theological education” outstanding among American colleges “and to combine with this such moral and social instruction as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of its pupils.” As a nonsectarian Christian institution, Hillsdale College maintains “by precept and example” the immemorial teachings and practices of the Christian faith.
The College also considers itself a trustee of our Western philosophical and theological inheritance tracing to Athens and Jerusalem, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.
By training the young in the liberal arts, Hillsdale College prepares students to become leaders worthy of that legacy. By encouraging the scholarship of its faculty, it contributes to the preservation of that legacy for future generations. By publicly defending that legacy, it enlists the aid of other friends of free civilization and thus secures the conditions of its own survival and independence.
Hillsdale is a selective, coeducational college of liberal arts for approximately 1,400 students. Fully accredited, it graduates students with the degree of bachelor of arts or bachelor of science and prepares them for graduate study, for professional schools, for teaching, and for many vocational and cultural pursuits.
Hillsdale’s founders opened the doors to all, regardless of race or religion, in 1844. It was the first college in Michigan, and the second in the United States, to admit women on par with men. Its cosmopolitan student body is assembled from homes in forty-seven states and eight foreign countries.
Hillsdale College maintains its defense of the traditional liberal arts curriculum, convinced that it is the best preparation for meeting the challenges of modern life and that it offers to all people of all backgrounds not only an important body of knowledge, but also timeless truths about the human condition. The liberal arts are dedicated to stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity, to encouraging the critical, well-disciplined mind, and to fostering personal growth through academic challenge. They are a window on the past and a gateway to the future.
The College values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so-called “social justice” and “multicultural diversity,” which judges individuals not as individuals, but as members of a group and which pits one group against other competing groups in divisive power struggles.