A worldview is a framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual, group or culture interprets the world and interacts with it. James W. Sire, former U.S. Army officer, then professor of English literature and philosophy, now author and speaker, defines a worldview as “a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”
Every school, every institution, has a worldview because every institution is promulgated by individuals who have a common understanding of the world—a paradigm that resides in the back of our conscious minds, that guides our daily decisions. But, why does this matter in a school? It is vitally important because this is the foundation from which all decisions are made, decisions about the nature of a student, what makes a good teacher, the curriculum, the teaching methodologies, even the goal of education itself.
Millennium Charter Academy’s worldview is grounded in the classical tradition of the Western world, a tradition that has developed over thousands of years and has produced great thinkers, artists, architects, scientists, and humanitarians, among others. And, they, in turn, developed great literature, legal systems, governments founded in liberty, concepts of war, medical and technological advances, and more. MCA’s worldview is grounded in truth—knowable, transcendent, and universal truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth is simply language that lines up with reality. We hold to the law of non-contradiction, that “A” cannot be “not A” in the same way and at the same time; therefore, we do not ascribe to multiple truths. Truth is non-contradictory, singular, exclusive, absolute, objective, propositional, rational, exact, immutable, universal, and always applicable. Goodness is a life lived embracing truth and loving beauty. Goodness, like truth, is discovered or unveiled rather than created in the mind. And, beauty is truth and goodness made manifest to the senses. In this sense, beauty is objective, whereas “pretty” depends upon the viewer’s perception.
MCA’s worldview is grounded in a high view of humanity, a person—body, soul, and mind—endowed with worth and value. Our high view of human nature recognizes that humans possess the capability to transcend the here and now, to hold memories, and to anticipate and plan for the future. This high view of human nature sets humans apart as beings who are self-aware and who can aspire to that which is noble. To be fully human is to engage both the intellect and the affections in the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty. To be fully human is to focus on that which is greater than the self and to apprehend the wonder of the world, visible and invisible. MCA’s worldview is grounded in a grand narrative, a single story that encompasses all of history and all of life. In other words, neither life nor the universe is fragmented; the cosmos is a well-ordered whole. Since the world is orderly and operates on consistent, unifying principles, it has a unique story that makes sense of the world, and thus allows us to make sense of our own lives.
Because of this worldview, MCA teachers conscientiously develop meaningful relationships with their students while recognizing that they are coming alongside their students’ parents, who have the great fortune and responsibility to rear and educate their own children. Because of this worldview, we have a cohesive K-12 curriculum, and we teach the arts all thirteen grade levels. We discipline our students in love with an eye toward a virtuous life, that is, a good life lived out of personal integrity= rather than one coerced by external controls. Our students examine the wisdom of the ages, as well as the thinking of today. They learn experientially (through their five senses) and rationally (through their minds reasoning). They study the natural world, as well as the transcendent ideas.
While we are a college preparatory school, our ultimate goal is far beyond “college and career ready.” We aim toward that noble, happy human being who understands his or her place in the world and who is all he or she can be.