By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Mason Classical Academy (MCA) is a public charter school open to all students living in Collier County, Florida. The school was founded in 2014 by parents and Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative. It began as a K-6 school and has grown to K-12 within three years. The school wide class size average is 20 students, with the intention of maintaining a small community that encourages strong relationships between students, parents, and faculty.
As of 2017 MCA is Ranked:
High School : 1st out of 10 schools in Collier County
Middle School: 2nd out of 14 schools in Collier County
Elementary School 2nd out of 31 schools in Collier County
Yet the Naples News has published a series of negative articles about MCA. In November of 2015 The Naples News published a story about an investigation of by The Department of Children and Family Services. The News published a second article later that month about the same subject. Evidently, the investigation was a nothingburger motivated by an irate parent. But then again in June, 2017 The News published a story that a former MCA board member demanded school founder Kelly Lichter resign. The article was a dead end, but appeared to represent a Naples News bias against MCA. But why would the News oppose an outstanding school? MCA uses a classical approach:
“Mason Classical Academy offers a highly rigorous academic curriculum built on two fundamental beliefs: that instruction in both virtue and knowledge is necessary to live the good life; and that a well-functioning, free society requires its members to be self-governing, knowledgeable citizens of virtue. Primary source texts and the Great Books drive humanities instruction. Latin is required beginning in sixth grade, and continues into high school. Classical virtues and cultivation of self- governance are taught explicitly through the curriculum and in the spirit of the Western heritage. The Socratic Method is implemented heavily throughout upper school classrooms and as appropriate in elementary classrooms. A 20-page senior thesis on a topic of fundamental importance in the Western tradition, delivered and defended in front of an audience of faculty and peers, is required to graduate MCA.”
So MCA offers an education that respects Western traditions, values and the contributions of Western civilization. Perhaps that is the issue. MCA apparently holds conservative values respecting the West and American exceptionalism. Respect for the West is out of fashion in certain leftist circles and in much of the educational establishment these days. It must gall the Naples News that such a school is doing so well. Yet the News seems to be searching for any little nit they can find to cause trouble for MCA.
As of today, according to our interview with Kelly Lichter, MCA has a wait list of 500. In addition, MCA has a remarkable record of achievement since it was found a scant 3 years ago:
- 2017 MCA’s pass rate for geometry was 91%, Collier County schools was 66%, and Florida schools were 54%
- 2017 MCA’s pass rate for algebra was 98%, Collier County 68% and Florida 68%
- 2017 MCA’s pass rate for U.S. History was 92%, Collier County 68% and Florida 67%. According to the NAEP survey, only 11% of American High School seniors are proficient in history
- 2017 MCA’s pass rate for biology was 94%, Collier County 68% and Florida 64%
Why isn’t the Naples News reporting that?