The Common Sense Society Teacher Seminar comprised two consecutive three-day-long programs (July 17 – 19 and 20 – 22) that explored the foundational principles of Western civilization and culture, and introduced educators to high-quality supplemental resources for use in their classrooms.
Intended especially for middle school, high school, and home school educators seeking to cultivate higher levels of civic literacy as a means of creating a patriotic and engaged American citizenry, the program’s purpose was to explain how free market democracies work, why they are the most effective way ever devised to promote the common good, and why only free market democracy is consistent with advancing and preserving the freedom of all individuals, as well as the lessons learned from the experience of collectivist and totalitarian systems.
Participants in each three-day seminar became familiar with Common Sense Society’s curricular resources. Each module contains engaging, factual curricular tools—including a selection of primary resources, student assignments, and classroom activities—on subjects of enduring importance. Modules examine the nature and preconditions of liberty, prosperity, beauty, and the pursuit of happiness; how and to what extent these principles have been implemented in the course of history; and compare and contrast this history of implementation with that of putative alternatives past, present, and future and their respective performance in securing happiness, human flourishing, and the common good.
Ms. Katharine Birbalsingh CBE is the founder and headmistress of Michaela Community School, a charter school established in Wembley Park, London. She has been identified as among the twenty most influential figures in British education and was awarded the Contrarian Prize. She is the author of several books; her most recent, The Power of Culture, was published in 2020. Her work and pedagogy is analyzed in the 2022 Michaela documentary, The Strictest Headmistress in Britain. She is also chair of the Social Mobility Commission and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours.
Dr. Guy Burnett is the director of education and research at the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation and a Common Sense Society Carolina Fellowship alumnus. He is author of The Safeguard of Liberty and Property: The Supreme Court, Kelo v. New London, and the Takings Clause. His articles have appeared in Society, Political Behavior, The Claremont Review of Books, and City Journal. He earned a B.S. from Utah State University, an M.A. from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University.
Dr. Wilfred M. McClay holds the Victor Davis Hanson Chair in Classical History and Western Civilization at Hillsdale College. He served for eleven years on the National Council on the Humanities and is currently a member of the U.S. Commission on the Semiquincentennial, which has been charged with planning the celebration of the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026. His most recent book, Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, is a U.S. history textbook that seeks, through a unifying narrative, to confront America’s sins without selling short America’s greatness. He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis and received his Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University.
The Hon. Jon Parrish Peede is a senior fellow at Common Sense Society, the visiting writer in residence at Mississippi Valley State University, a public HBCU institution, and the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. As chairman, he awarded more than $500 million to universities, museums, libraries, scholars, and cultural nonprofits nationwide. He is the co-editor of Inside the Church of Flannery O’Connor: Sacrament, Sacramental, and the Sacred in Her Fiction. He has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The New York Times, Stars & Stripes, Inside Higher Education, NPR, Bloomberg Radio, BBC, CSPAN, PBS, and other media outlets. He completed his B.S. at Vanderbilt University and M.A. at the University of Mississippi.
Dr. David Rose is a senior fellow at Common Sense Society and professor of economics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His primary areas of research interest are behavioral economics, political economy, and organization theory. In 2008, he received the St. Louis Business Journal’s Economic Educator of the year award. His book, The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior was selected as one of CHOICE’s outstanding titles of 2012 and was nominated for the Hayek Book Prize. He frequently contributes to policy debates through radio and television interviews as well as in op-eds in outlets such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Word on Business, The School Choice Advocate, Forbes, The Washington Times, and The Christian Science Monitor. He received his Ph.D. in economics in 1987 from the University of Virginia and his B.S. from Southwest Missouri State University.
Mr. Justin Shubow is president of the National Civic Art Society and former Chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. He is the author of a variety of architectural commentaries, has taught courses on the topics of public art and architecture, and has overseen restoration projects. He is a member of the board of advisors of the Roger Scruton Legacy Foundation and the board of academic advisors of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.