Hillsdale College is one of the leaders in Christian Nationalist education, and have been pushing charter school programs for years. We've looked at them before. Their current president is Larry Arnn, a guy who is a lot heavier on the conservative than the Christian. And it turns out he has some spectacularkly insulting thoughts about teachers and education.
Arnn's conservative credentials are impeccable. He's one of the founders of the Claremont Institute, a conservative thinky tank (mission-- "to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life") founded by students of Harry Jaffa (Jaffa was the Goldwater speechwriter who penned the "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice..." line); Hillsdale has a library in named after him. The Institute was quiet for years, but has emerged as a big time Trump booster funded by folks like the DeVos tribe and the Bradleys, and pumping out ideas for selling the Big Lie and the Insurrection. Arnn is also a trustee at the Heritage Foundation, which at one point offered him its presidency.
Arnn has been a Trump supporter, and the college has fallen right into MAGAland as well. Or as Politico Magazine put it in 2018
Trump University never died. It’s located in the middle of bucolic southern Michigan, halfway between Lansing and Fort Wayne, 100 miles and a world away from Detroit.
The college uses Trump mailing lists to raise money. They used to sponsor Rush Limbaugh's show. They get grads placed on the staff of legislators such as Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy. In 2017, for some reason, Senator Pat Toomey created a little piece of tax reform that would have carved out atax treat for Hillsdale alone. Arnn was on the shortlist for Secretary of Education for Trump; when Trump whipped his super-duper 1776 Commission to create some nationalistic education stuff for the country, he put Arnn in charge (and Hillsdale still offers a version of that terrible "patriotic" curriculum. They don't have a great history with LGBTQ students. Erik Prince (Betsy DeVos's brother) is a Hillsdale graduate.
“They are taught that they are going to go and do something to those kids.... Do they ever talk about anything except what they are going to do to these kids?"
"In colleges, what you hire now is administrators…. Now, because they are appointing all these diversity officers, what are their degrees in? Education. It's easy. You don't have to know anything."
“The philosophic understanding at the heart of modern education is enslavement…. They're messing with people's children, and they feel entitled to do anything to them.”
“You will see how education destroys generations of people. It's devastating. It's like the plague.”
“Here's a key thing that we're going to try to do. We are going to try to demonstrate that you don't have to be an expert to educate a child because basically anybody can do it.”
Lee Believes that Hillsdale has a "number of initiatives that align with our priorities in Tennessee," according to Lee spokesperson Casey Black. Lee has talked about the importance of teaching "true American history, unbiased and nonpolitical," but Hillsdale promises neither, with a Libertarian, nationalist approach that hews to one narrow interpretation of history. Lee also claims that "Hillsdale's charter schools in our state will be public secular classical education schools," and while Hillsdale has learned to keep its Christian bent less obvious in its charter schools, there's no question that religion is part of its brand. Per its website:
In the words of its modern mission statement, the College “considers itself a trustee of our Western philosophical and theological inheritance tracing to Athens and Jerusalem, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.”