Kirkcudbright food festival gets under way

Kirkcudbright Farmers Market

A two-day celebration of local and artisan food is under way in the harbour town of Kirkcudbright.

Organisers said they hoped the weekend event would highlight the “quality produce” of the area.

Chef Nick Nairn will hold three cookery demonstrations alongside a number of other “foodie events and experiences”.

Among them are a guide to cooking a perfect steak, a cheesemaking demonstration and a series of foraging walks.

Image captionA cheesemaking demonstration will be part of the festival

Organiser Niomi Brough said they wanted to “shine a spotlight on the sensational quality of food and drink produced in this part of Scotland”.

“It’s easy for us to take for granted the wonderful quality of the food in Dumfries and Galloway, so our food festival this year is about taking a moment to appreciate the stories and the passion behind this wonderful food and drink,” she said.

She said they had designed a programme with something for everyone.

“Nature’s larder is bursting with quality in Dumfries and Galloway and the Kirkcudbright Food Festival is all about sharing, indulging and enjoying our rich food heritage,” she added.


Food fraud hurts your wallet and makes you sick

From olive oil that has been cut with cheaper oil to honey infused with banned antibiotics and ground coffee contaminated with corn and sawdust, the food you eat is ripe for fraud.

It’s costing consumers $30 billion to $40 billion a year worldwide, according to Michigan State University’s Food Fraud Initiative.

And the problem is only growing. Just this year ice-cream maker Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas, agreed to an $850,000 fine after its product was found to contain harmful bacteria.

“We have worked closely with the State of Texas Department of Health Services to ensure the safety of our products. We are pleased with the steps that have been taken in our facilities and confident that we are producing safe products that our customers can enjoy,” Blue Bell wrote in a statement e-mailed to CNBC.

Food tampering “tends to be high-value items that you cannot easily discern with the naked eye,” said Larry Olmsted, author of “Real Food, Fake Food.”

Not only can food fraud hurt consumers’ wallets, it can also make them sick.

“The best-case scenario with food fraud is that you’re not getting what you paid for. You know, the worst-case scenario is that consumers become ill and sometimes have died from food fraud,” said Karen Everstine, a scientific liaison at U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), based in Rockville, Maryland. USP is a nonprofit that sets standards for foods and medicines.

Westend61 | Getty Images

Food fraud affects dining out in addition to what you buy at the grocery store.

“Very few people realize that the restaurants are sort of the Wild West. They don’t have to adhere to the same kind of labeling rules retailers have,” author Olmsted said.

An investigation by the Boston Globe in 2011 found a Dorchester, Massachusetts, restaurant serving $23 flounder that was actually swai, a species native to Southeast Asia and which costs around $4 a pound.

While restaurants may say you are getting authentic Japanese wagyu beef, which costs around $250 a pound for filet mignon and $167 a pound for strip steak, you are often getting domestic wagyu, which costs around $20 a pound, according to Olmsted.

Who is committing the fraud? “There’s organized crime involved. There’s rings. They’re smuggling,” Olmsted said.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, recently conducted a multicountry seizure, taking in more than 10,000 tons of fake food. Their aim was to identify and disrupt the organized crime networks behind it.

The food industry is starting to pay more attention.

If a manufacturer is known to be duped by a supplier, they can suffer brand damage, according to Everstine.

“Industry has taken upon themselves to help prevent this problem,” she said.

USP recently updated its database, which helps companies prevent fraud.

“If you’re a pizza manufacturer and you’re sourcing 30 ingredients to make your pizza, you can put those ingredients into the database and you can quickly identify which ingredients are prone to fraud,” Everstine said.

Everstine showed CNBC how the database works. Using the example of a frozen pizza topped with meat, the mostly likely suspect ingredients were paprika and beef.

Still, many are calling for more oversight from the government. The Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture are just two of the many agencies that regulate food.

“We have very lax oversight when it comes to our food supply. I wouldn’t say regulation because in a lot of cases the regulations are in place … but they’re not enforced,” Olmsted said.

The FDA said “combating food fraud is the responsibility of both industry and regulatory authorities. The FDA inspects manufacturers to make sure that they are meeting requirements for good manufacturing practices and also conducts label reviews during these inspections,” in a statement e-mailed to CNBC.

The USDA said, “USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service works every day at establishments ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products entering commerce are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled,” in an e-mail statement.

What you can do

There are steps consumers can take to protect themselves from food fraud.

  • The first is to buy products in their whole form, such as blocks of cheese or an entire fish. “Americans don’t typically buy, cook or eat whole fish. Once you cut up most fish, they all look the same in the fillets,” said Olmsted.
  • Be wary of highly processed foods. “Sourcing ingredients come from all over the world and putting them together into a finished food product increases the opportunities for fraud,” said Everstine.
  • When dining out, ask questions. “If you go in [to a restaurant] and say, you know, ‘Where does your Dover sole come from?’ And they say, ‘I don’t know,’ that’s not an acceptable answer. That means it’s probably not good stuff,” Olmsted said.


Issues of food and gender to take the spotlight at UCLA

Hungry Man

New faculty, curriculum and a lecture series presented by UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women are encouraging students to examine the social meanings and gender assumptions inherent in food, from its production, to the way it is marketed and consumed.

On Wednesday Oct. 26, in conjunction with UCLA’s Food Week and in partnership with the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, the center will highlight new gender studies adjunct assistant professor Rachel Vaughn as she talks about her book-in-progress “Talking Trash: Oral Histories of Food In/Security from the Margins of a Dumpster.”

Vaughn researches food precarity in North America through oral history interviews with dumpster divers and waste pickers — many of whom recover and use food that was thrown away. Her Food Week talk will examine how dumpster divers challenge assumptions about what counts as “real” or “edible” food, and how food salvage can enforce gender, race and class stereotypes.

This fall Vaughn began teaching an undergraduate course titled “Race, Class and Gender in Globalized American Foodways.”

“It encompasses production, consumption, cultural meanings of food and eating, historical and technological shifts, giving students a way to talk about systems and overlapping concepts in gender studies like body politics and identity,” she said. “I think it will complement the interdisciplinary food studies work being implemented here on campus.”

Another new faculty member, Sarah Tracy, a gender studies professor who also has an appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, brings nearly a decade of research into food science and food politics.

This spring Tracy will teach a course titled “Food, Power, Money, Science,” which will look at the field of nutrition and technological advancements in food science through a critical and historical framework.

“Race, class, gender and increasingly, sexuality, have become a key part of reflections on American food culture,” she said.

In her class, students will use popular food products and dietary trends to connect research in nutrition, physiology, microbiology and sensory science with familiar themes of identity and community, but also with the business of pleasure, pain, disgust and guilt.

Tracy’s particular research focus has been on umami, the “savory delicious” taste that recent studies have proclaimed as another basic taste sensation. She will be talking about her forthcoming book, eight years in the making, “Delicious: A History of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Umami, the Fifth Taste Sensation” on Nov. 9.

MSG is an often-vilified food additive with a complex and controversial history and chemical makeup —and it’s one way of experiencing umami taste. Tracy’s research shows that the way we think about this common flavor enhancer reflects attitudes about race, class, gender and the politics of eating. In the United States, MSG became essential to processed and convenience foods — a cornerstone of postwar affluence.

“Food is about more than just sustaining bodies,” Tracy said. “Now with the discovery of mechanisms for sensing umami, MSG straddles feminized and masculinized spaces: the home, where a moral guardian — often female — is on the hook to be vigilant for health risks and wins in eating, and the professional food lab, where umami has been of tremendous interest to heavy-hitting celebrity chefs — who are usually male, and usually straight, and food companies. MSG as an ingredient acts on us, not on our food… So, is it making us feel bad, or good?”

A third event sponsored by UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women will be held in April, when visiting scholar Diana Garvin of Cornell University discusses her research into the ways in which fascist Italy used the reinforcement of gender roles around food to assert control over food sources and women’s bodies.

Exploring the complexities of gender and food is a new investment for UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women and gender studies. Faculty think it is especially important as campus academic units seek to unite interdisciplinary focus around the ethics and science of food; and campus wellness programs seek to encourage students to prioritize their personal health as well as that of the planet.

Monday, Oct. 24 is National Food Day and kicks off a week of food-related programming from the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, including the following events and activities.

Panel discussion and flexitarian lunch
Monday, Oct. 24
12 to 1:30 p.m.
Hershey Hall 158
Space is limited RSVP.

A conversation with experts in nutrition, environmental sustainability and alternative protein with Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and assistant adjunct professor in the Fielding School of Public Health; Elliot “Big Dog” Mermel, CEO and cofounder of Coalo Valley Farms; Jennifer Jay, professor of civil and environmental engineering and a member of the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability. Wendy Slusser, associate vice provost of the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative will moderate. A “flexitarian” lunch will provided, including samples of chocolate-covered crickets from Coalo Valley Farms.

Lecture and Mediterranean lunch

Tuesday, Oct. 25
12 to 1 p.m.
Los Angeles Tennis Center Straus Clubhouse
Space is limited, RSVP [email protected]

Mayer, a professor of gastroenterology at UCLA, will discuss his recent book, “The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health.” This event also includes a screening of seven food-focused student films and a Mediterranean-inspired lunch.

Hidden in Plain Bite: The Surprising Impact of Our Food Choices

Tuesday, Oct. 25
2 p.m. Kaufman Hall 208

Nora Kramer of the Factory Farm Awareness Coalition will lead a talk. Hosted by UCLA Food and Social Justice Working Group.

Talk and Fighting Hunger Fair
Wednesday, Oct. 26
12:30 to 2 p.m.
Ackerman Grand Ballroom

Rachel Vaughn will discuss the issues from her forthcoming book about dumpster diving.  The Fighting Hunger Fair features campus and community groups who do activist and research work around food insecurity. Hosted by the Center for the Study of Women.

Campus farmer’s market and cooking demonstration
Wednesday, Oct. 26
2:30 to 5 p.m.
Bruin Plaza

There will be food for purchase at the farmer’s market plus a cooking demo from the public health nutrition club. They’ll be sharing recipes made with seasonal produce and Dannon Greek yogurt.

Cooking demonstration
Sunday, Oct. 30
1 to 3 p.m.
University Village Apartments

A cooking demo and knife skills workshop from the public health nutrition club, followed by a weekly distribution of seasonal produce for all University Village residents.


Mary Grant unveils her latest fashion collection

 Mary Grant set up her fashion business over 20 years ago in Kildare after studying in the Barbara Burke College of Fashion. She has weathered the many challenges that has entailed while also rearing three children, now 21, 18 and 16. This hardworking and determined mother who designs from a studio in her back garden attributes her longevity and success in this testing industry to “never giving up and giving people what they wanted”. Her easygoing style with its mix of knit, fluid tunics, dungarees and trousers has always been based on comfort and satisfying market demands. They are, for the most part, the kind of clothes she wears herself and have attracted an appreciative and loyal fan base allowing her a certain safety in her design approach.

Last year she opened her first Dublin shop in the Powerscourt Centre. This season she has thrown caution somewhat to the wind by creating a capsule collection which, she says, “is what I want to do instead of everybody else telling me what to do. Up to now I have been afraid to make the kind of clothes with the same quality as our customers have come to expect but considering nobody else’s wants but my own.” She adds that Shelly Corkery of Brown Thomas has been a great encouragement. The pressure to repeat what people like can often stifle creativity.

Italian knitwear

Called Urban, the collection (photographed by Grant herself) is strong on knitwear made by a small family company in Italy and includes her familiar pinafores and dungarees, but with the addition of lightweight faux fur coats and skirts with flirtatious shots of tulle underneath worn with Doc Martens and over-the-knee socks. “I want to have fun with clothes and hate when people leave things for ‘good’ wear. I always look at what people are wearing on the street and that’s the kind of style I would be drawn to,” she says. One of the items featured here is a hand-crochet top that she made herself worn with a dramatic ballerina-length tulle skirt, “pure indulgence”, she says.

Elsewhere the mix of boyfriend-black jumper, cropped trousers and bovver boots is a familiar street combo bound to appeal to her fans. While she has kept to a neutral palette of grey, white, cream and black, later in the season she will be adding some green and red prints to liven up the collection. It is sold in her Powerscourt shop in Dublin, at 7 Cutlery Road, Newbridge, Co Kildare and online at


Richard Nicoll: London fashion figures pay tribute to designer after death at 39

Leading figures from the world of fashion today paid tribute to designer Richard Nicoll after he died aged just 39.

The chief executive of the British Fashion Council said they were deeply saddened and paid tribute to the “wonderful, kind-hearted and talented” London-born designer.

Mr Nicoll grew up in Australia but returned to London to study at Central Saint Martin’s.

He worked for the likes of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs as well as designing a bridal range for top high street retailer Topshop.

Tributes: The fashion world have called him a “kind-hearted and talented” man. (Getty Images)

Caroline Rush, head of the BFC, which runs London Fashion Weekwhere Mr Nicoll’s collections were shown, said he will be “truly missed”.

‘We are all deeply saddened by the news that the wonderful, kind hearted and talented Richard Nicoll passed away,” she said.

“He had been part of NEWGEN, Fashion Forward, shortlisted for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund and BFC/GQ Menswear Fund and showed both at London Fashion Week and the first few editions of London Collections Men.

“He had many friends here and in the British fashion community and he will be truly missed.”

A spokeswoman for Topshop said the news was “shocking and sad”.

Central Saint Martins, where Mr Nicoll graduated with a BA in menswear in 2000 and MA in womenswear in 2002, said they were “shocked and saddened to hear of the death of our friend, the wonderful Richard Nicoll”.

Willie Walters, director of the fashion programme at Central Saint Martins, said: “Richard Nicoll was a perceptive and extremely sensitive designer.

“He was versatile AND had the most acutely honed sensibility for colour of all the designers of his generation.”

She added: “As an individual he was reserved and wore his talent lightly, he was thoughtful and had a great sense of humour.

“I am very saddened and shocked by his sudden death. It is difficult to believe he is gone.”

Fabio Piras, the director of MA Fashion at Central Saint Martins, said: “It is with immense sadness that I heard the news this morning of Richard’s passing.

“My thoughts are with him and with his family and many friends.

“Richard will be remembered as both a very talented designer and a charming and elegant human being.

“I knew him first as a kind hearted, sensitive, and gifted student, and he took these qualities with him throughout his successful design career.

“Richard was one of these special alumni who touched and inspired his fellow students.

“He showed them that to find an original and audible voice you do not necessarily have to shout.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou said on Twitter Mr Nicoll was his “first real love”.

He wrote: “Devastated to hear that Richard Nicoll has died. He was my first real love; a beautiful man both inside and out. I’ll miss him terribly.”

Nicoll was reportedly due to leave Sydney in January to begin a creative director role with Adidas in Germany.

Paramedics was called to his apartment in the Australian city of Sydney in the early hours and he was taken to hospital where he later died.


Richard Nicoll, Australian fashion designer, dies aged 38

Richard Nicoll in 2015.

Richard Nicoll, the London Fashion Week designer, has died at the age of 38. The news broke on Friday morning that Nicoll, who grew up in Australia, had passed away suddenly in Sydney. According to local news outlets, it is believed an ambulance was called to his apartment, and he was taken to St Vincent’s hospital. Some reports suggest a suspected heart attack.

A design from Richard Nicoll’s spring/summer 2015 show, his last at London Fashion Week.
A design from Richard Nicoll’s spring/summer 2015 show, his last at London Fashion Week. Photograph: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Nicoll was based in London for much of his career and was a much-liked member of the capital’s fashion community. His eponymous label showed men’s and womenswear at London Fashion Week for nearly 10 years from 2006. His womenswear became known for a clean modern take on femininity, with celebrities including Emma Stone, Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller wearing his clothes. Nicoll put the label on hold in 2014 but continued to design, working with high street brand Jack Wills until earlier this year, and collaborating with various Australian brands. He was due to take up a role at Adidas as creative director in January 2017.

Richard Nicoll, autumn/winter 2013.
Richard Nicoll, autumn/winter 2013. Photograph: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage

The fashion industry has been quick to respond to the news. Emily Sheffield, deputy editor of British Vogue, tweeted that she was “shocked and saddened by the news of Richard Nicoll’s death; literally one of the nicest men in fashion”. Avril Mair, the fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar, tweeted: “Remembering Richard Nicoll, a lovely and talented man.” Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, told Women’s Wear Daily: “He had many friends here and in the British fashion community and he will be truly missed.”

Richard Nicoll menswear, for autumn/winter 2014.
Richard Nicoll menswear, for autumn/winter 2014. Photograph: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Nicoll was part of a generation of designers, along with Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane, who combined creativity and commercialism to put London Fashion Week back on the radar of the international fashion industry. Studying under esteemed professor Louise Wilson on the Central Saint Martins MA, his entire graduate collection was bought by Dolce & Gabbana in 2002. He won several awards over his career, including the prestigious Andam Prize in 2008. He also worked on several ranges for high street brands, including Fred Perry and Topshop, and was creative director at Italian brand Cerruti from 2009 to 2011.

[Source:-The Guardian]

Fashion Designer Richard Nicoll Dies at 39

Richard Nicoll, the British fashion designer who took a distinctively Modernist approach with candy-colored palettes and sculptured creations that attracted a celebrity clientele, died on Friday in Sydney, Australia. He was 39.

The cause was a heart attack, his family said. The New South Wales Police said they were preparing a report for the coroner.

The London-born Mr. Nicoll’s designs have been worn by Kylie Minogue, Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Julianne Moore, among other celebrities.

He designed capsule collections for Topshop and Fred Perry, freelanced for Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, and was the creative director at Cerruti, from 2009 to 2011, and at Jack Wills, from February 2014 to October 2015.

He had been preparing to start a new job as creative director at Adidas in January.

Mr. Nicoll was best known for his own label, which he began in 2005.

It had its debut at London Fashion Week in 2006 and closed in 2014 after showing both men’s and women’s collections during the fashion week.

One of his creations, which he designed with the British media company Vodafone in 2012, exemplified his practical but fun-loving approach. It was a sleek handbag with an unobtrusive cellphone charger tucked inside.

Mr. Nicoll was born in London in 1977 and moved to Perth, Australia, with his family when he was 3.

In 2002 he received a master’s degree in women’s fashion from the Central Saint Martins, the art and design college at the University of Arts London.

He won several awards, including the Elle Style Award for best young designer in 2009. He was twice a finalist for the British Fashion Council Vogue Fashion Fund prize.

Mr. Nicoll had spent much of the last year in Australia consulting for Australian brands and judging the Australasian leg of the International Woolmark Prize in July.

His survivors include his parents and a sister, Women’s Wear Dailyreported.

Willie Walters, Central Saint Martins BA fashion course director, called Mr. Nicoll “a perceptive and extremely sensitive designer,” adding, “He was versatile and had the most acutely honed sensibility for color of all the designers of his generation.’’

Condolences were also posted on social media.

[Source:-Fashion & Style]

Why Donald Trump’s Education Policies Are Bad For Our Students

I’m tired, I have a headache and I’m really glad the debates are over. Like most Americans, I have post-presidential debate hangover syndrome. Watching the debates and then arguing about them with friends (and a few strangers) into the wee hours of the morning can do that to you. Now that I’ve had a little time to reflect, what I find striking about the debates is that we heard the candidates’ views on a range of issues, but we didn’t hear much regarding their thoughts on education, especially from Donald Trump. Given the well-documented issues our schools are facing across the country, I found this disturbing. So what does the Donald have in store for education if he becomes president?

Trump wants to drastically cut or eliminate the Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education funds more than 250 programs that support education research, arts in public school, funding for low-income students, early education and so much more. Eliminating the Department of Education would not only cut fundingfor low-income students and students with special needs, but it would also mean that thousands of low-income college students would lose their Pell Grants and a shot at the American dream. Trump also believes that the government should not be in the business of providing student loans and that it should be left to private banks. While I think that private banks should certainly be among the options available to students, they often don’t serve all students due to their stringent credit criteria. The Department of Education, on the other hand, ensures that ALL students have the opportunity to invest in themselves and earn a college degree, regardless of race, class, or income.

Trump is against the Common Core. On this, we couldn’t disagree more. Trump’s claim that with the Common Core the “bureaucrats in Washington [are] telling you how to manage your children’s education,” is false. The Common Core is not mandated by the federal government. States decide whether or not to adopt the Common Core. In fact, the federal government is prohibited from “incentivizing, coercing, mandating, or promoting Common Core or any other set of standards” by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which became law in December 2015. Moreover, the Common Core was devised by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, not the federal government. The purpose of the Common Core, which provides math and reading standards, is to a) give educators concrete guidance on what skills students should have, so that they are fully prepared to attend college or become a productive member of the workforce and b) provide a necessary layer of accountability so that parents can determine if their kids are getting the education they deserve. To me, that is simply common sense.

Trump wants to subsidize private schools. Trump believes that there should be greater school choice. For once, school choice is something that Trump and I can agree on. All parents, not just wealthy parents, should have the right to choose where their child attends school. And if the schools available to a parent are subpar, that parent should have the right to move their child to a better school. Trumprefers to our existing public school system as a “government-run education monopoly.” He believes that competition will solve everything. So his solution is to take federal dollars and give them to families as vouchers, allowing them to find a school of their choice, public or private. Competition is good and is sorely needed in education. However, there are better ways to support school choice than with vouchers. For example, public charter schools are an excellent way to support school choice, and this is where I think we should concentrate our efforts.

Trump wants to arm teachers. Trump has said that armed teachers would improve safety. He later clarified his position and said, “I don’t want to have guns in classrooms, although in some cases teachers should have guns in classrooms, frankly.” While I support the Second Amendment, I think there are places that should be gun-free, and schools are one of those places. Arming teachers is opening the door to more accidents and more violence. And teachers wielding handguns will not stop people armed with the kind of assault weapons that have been used in the most devastating school massacres.Taken together, these policies will fail America’s students. I support education reform but these changes will not make public schools ‘great again’ for all students. We need to expand computer science programs and make sure students have the skills to get good jobs even if they don’t go to college. We also need to improve teacher development and training and we definitely need to dismantle the school to prison pipeline. And this is how we make America’s schools ‘great again’.


RSS and its affiliates should not influence the education policy

Getting the education system to conform to its ideology has been a goal of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for much of its existence. So it comes as no surprise that with the ministry of human resource development all set to formulate the new education policy, the RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas is trying to influence its content. It wants the medium of instruction from elementary to higher levels in schools to be in the mother tongue and not English, in fact it says English should not be mandatory at any level. All research work, according to it, should be linked to national requirements and those which are not should not get UGC scholarships. And of course, there is the usual demand that references that insult Indian culture, traditions, sects, thoughts, eminent persons and offer wrong explanations should be removed from textbooks. The ministry should firmly resist this.

Knowledge of English is India’s strength especially vis-à-vis countries like China. Indian students and workers across the world have benefited from their ability to speak, read and write English. The mother tongue should be taught in schools but this does not have to be at the cost of English. The demand for English in schools can be seen from the number of English-medium schools that has been set up. But not just the RSS, even successive governments have not been responsive enough to the people’s aspirations when it comes to English education. India’s outsourcing business, its thriving IT sector have all been made possible because of the English advantage. This should not be frittered away because an RSS affiliate feels differently. The call to link research to national requirements is another ill-thought-out demand. Research if anything should be linked to industry. The definition of national requirement is vague and any proposal to withhold scholarships unless this criterion is met would be counterproductive. As for removing insults to culture and tradition from textbooks, the RSS has no business dictating what this constitutes. The reference to “wrong” explanations again suggests that the RSS yardstick is the one which the ministry should follow. The only parameter a textbook should follow should be to stick to the facts and not try and promote some misplaced nationalism. If research was aimed only at national requirements, we would not have had the sort of cutting edge discoveries which have benefited all of mankind.

The education policy must be aimed at getting children the best education that can enable them to compete in a globalising world. Our netas certainly understand the benefits of English, their children study in English medium schools and invariably attend college abroad. The education policy is too important for it to be tinkered with by those with little knowledge of the subject. The RSS should leave well alone.

[Source:-Hindustan Times]

What the Founders Thought About the Value of a ‘Classical’ Education

The generation that produced the U.S. Constitution lived at a time when liberal education was being rethought, redefined, stretched, and challenged.

The Founders lined up on different sides of that debate. They argued over whether or not a liberal education worthy of the name had to be a classical education based on instruction in the Greek and Latin languages. They divided into factions we might call, for convenience, “classicists” and “anti-classicists.”

Among the things most surprising is how early in the Colonial period objections were raised to the teaching of Greek and Latin; how widespread the resistance was; how many very famous Americans weighed in on the debate; and how modern the arguments brought by the anti-classicists sound.

The past is different and distant from us, and yet, in this case, the similarities are striking, leading one to wonder if there is a timeless element to America’s quarrel over the means and ends of good education. We sound like them to a surprising degree, and they sound like us. But not exactly, and the differences do matter.

The anti-classicists appeared in print as early as 1735—40 years before the Revolution. In that year, an anonymous Philadelphian called for a system of private education that would recognize the needs of different students and their families.

Debate Over Dead Languages

Not everyone was destined to be a scholar. Not everyone aspired to the professions of law, theology, or medicine. A thriving society needed farmers and tradesmen, clerks and accountants. Why should these children spend precious years trying to master languages they would soon forget? Why teach them Latin when what they needed in life were skills in English grammar and composition?

This anonymous author cited the English empiricist John Locke, who ridiculed the folly of wasting time teaching Latin to students who would never use it.

Over the ensuing 70 or 80 years, these arguments found renewed expression among some of America’s most articulate statesmen and reformers. Future scholars, they allowed, could continue to devote their childhood to mastery of Greek and Latin, but a young, ambitious, expansive republic on the rise needed to train its citizens in plain and vigorous English and in modern foreign languages for the sake of commerce in goods and ideas.

The nation needed to equip them for a vocation; to provide them with a utilitarian education for the sake of tangible “advantages” in life; to lay the groundwork for progress in science and the discovery of new knowledge; to offer a “universal” education (one open to common people, not just the elite); and to promote a distinctly American, even nationalist, education free from the dead hand of Europe’s antiquated ways of teaching and learning.

(These calls for reform sound like we’ve stepped into a modern debate over STEM education in our schools today.)

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To understand the Founders and liberal education, we need to know first that among the Founders, there were champions of the classics who had every intention that Greek and Latin remain central to liberal education in the American republic; second, that there were dissenters who objected strenuously to the classics’ powerful grip on American education; and third, that even the champions of the classics tossed onto the rubbish heap some of the most venerable of the ancients.

All three parts of this argument matter if we want to arrive at a balanced judgment of the Founders and liberal education.

The takeaway from this is that the Founders’ legacy for classical and liberal education is a mixed one: It depends on which ones we quote.

Founders Against Founders

Classical and liberal education have proven to be resilient. So has the opposition. Classicist and anti-classicists alike would be partly pleased, partly disappointed, and partly alarmed if they could visit 21st-century America and the jumble of public schools, private schools, home schools, online schools, classical schools, and vocational schools that make up our educational “system.”

Among the “classicists” we find the ornery New England statesman John Adams, our second president. As an adult, Adams maintained his skill in Latin and Greek along with proficiency in a number of modern languages. Adams read widely in ancient and modern history, philosophy, constitutionalism, and political theory. His indebtedness to liberal learning could not have been greater.

Adams argued that the stability and durability of the young United States rested on the twin pillars of knowledge and virtue, a common refrain among the Founders.

Though a voracious reader of the classics himself, Thomas Jefferson, Adams’ bitter rival during the early years of the republic, was somewhat ambivalent and spoke rather disparagingly of the classicists: “They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backward, not forward, for improvement.”

One of the earliest critics of the prevalence of the classical languages was Benjamin Franklin.

His opposition to a certain kind of instruction in Greek and Latin came not from any anti-elitism, but from a conviction that time spent in this way had become an impediment to education, even an impediment to liberal education, depending on how we define liberal learning.

If “liberal” meant a broad, generous education for a man of the world able to navigate through polite society, then Latin and Greek seemed cramped and pedantic.

Franklin himself was a multilingual, learned man of cosmopolitan tastes and interests, yet he still opposed the classics. Why?


Franklin aimed at a utilitarian education that would equip ordinary citizens for their professions, including competence in their own language.

Education must be useful. The curriculum must include, he wrote in 1749, penmanship, drawing, English grammar and style, public speaking, history (with an emphasis on politics), geography, chronology, morality, natural history, and what his generation called “good breeding.”

The ultimate aim of this useful education was public service to the community. Franklin wasn’t opposed to the training of classical scholars, but not everyone was destined to be a scholar, and a practical education suited to the needs of a dynamic and prosperous society could not pretend everyone was going to be an academic.

Another Founder named Benjamin—Benjamin Rush—in 1789 argued for “liberal education” (his words) without instruction in Greek and Latin at all. Note the flexibility of the phrase “liberal education.” It could be divorced from classical education. Rush regretted the prominence of the “dead languages” as an obstacle to the promotion of “useful knowledge.”

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By being so specialized, he thought, classical education could never meet the demands of “universal knowledge.” That is to say, it obstructed not only the progress of practical knowledge, but also the spread of knowledge through all levels of society that would make participatory government possible. The times demanded a new system of education to meet the needs of a new kind of government and society.

The criticism articulated by Franklin, Rush, and others formed part of a much larger story. We see by the end of the 18th century the opening of a distinct divide in educational theory and practice that runs right down to the present.

The emerging industrial, mass democratic, utilitarian, market-driven age turned out to have very different expectations for the kind of people schools ought to produce.

Importance of the Ancients

It should be noted, however, that opponents of classical education did not wage a war of extermination against the classics themselves: 1) They still wanted scholars to master Greek and Latin; 2) they still wanted the ancients read in good English translations; and 3) they wrestled with the inescapable question of whether an education for everyone could be built on instruction in the Greek and Latin languages.

At the same time, the defenders of the classical languages were not necessarily supporters of the whole of the Greek and Roman tradition. They were selective in their judgments. They even rejected parts of the ancient heritage that today many advocates of classical education in particular consider to be foundational to the whole tradition.

Indeed, for the generation of 1787, for the culture that gave the United States its Constitution, the ancient world and its authors and their ideas mattered very much. The Greeks and Romans provided examples of success and failure, models to follow and models to avoid.

If any of the Founders rejected the study of Greek and Latin, that did not mean they rejected reading the ancients in good modern translations. It did not mean removing grammar, logic, and rhetoric from the curriculum—the trinity of subjects at the very heart of liberal education.

That even the generation of 1787 argued about education reminds us that the problem of education in American society and politics has never been a settled question. Not even close.

[Source:-The Daily Signal]