In 1762 George Wythe, Virginia's "foremost classical scholar" and signer of the Declaration of Independence, took it upon himself to educate a young Thomas Jefferson. For five years they studied the classics--works of literature, political philosophy, and law--before Jefferson was admitted to the bar.
Wythe would also mentor great American statesmen such as James Monroe, John Marshall, and Henry Clay before his brilliant life ended prematurely as an indirect result of his opposition to slavery.
Jefferson described Wythe as "... my ancient master, my earliest and best friend, and to him I am indebted for first impressions which have [been] the most salutary on the course of my life."
Two-hundred-and-fifty years later, a small university in Utah bears Wythe's name with the mission to churn out statesmen for the 21st century. Students study the classics as Jefferson did, and can earn degrees in fields such as political economy and philosophy.
In Thousand Oaks on Monday night, Dr. Shanon Brooks, the former president of George Wythe University, will address the failures of mainstream education and the role parents play in the tutelage of their children. He said:
The founders, students of Plato, Confucius, the Roman and Greek civilizations, the Christian Bible and many other great ideas, studying and learning great lessons from the past, developed and promoted the ideals that became the foundation of American culture and proper governance, allowing us to become the greatest nation in the world.
Dr. Brooks is currently the president of Face to Face with Greatness Seminars, which advocates a "Thomas Jefferson Education"--learning how to think as opposed to learning what to think.
Today, these very ideals are being systematically attacked, worn down and lost.