I’m a 74-year-old former teacher who now works part-time as a drivers’ education instructor for a private sector driving school located in the western suburbs of Chicago. Generally speaking, this driving school attracts 15 and 16-year-old, academically inclined students who prefer learning to drive outside of the school day. This private-sector option allows these students to load their respective class schedules up with honors classes (not driver’s ed) that, upon high school graduation, increases their odds of being accepted into the college of their choice.
In short, I drive with lots of really bright kids from 6 different public high schools and 4 different private high schools, a large percentage of whom are straight A students. And every one of these kids, in their own unique way, is acutely interested in exploring the various issues involved with living a life that’s worth living. But ironically, only one of these nine highly regarded high schools offers a class in the field that’s specifically designed to explore what it means to live a life that’s worth living – namely the field of Philosophy.
And in this one high school, philosophy is offered strictly as an elective. This means only a very small percentage of that school’s students ever go eyeball to eyeball and wrestle with history’s most profound and influential thinkers ranging from Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle through Aquinas, Descartes, Rousseau, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche, just to name a few. While kids at the other eight schools have zero chance of learning anything about these intellectual giants other than their names in an historical context.