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Announcing a New Fellowship in Conceptual Education

“The educational establishment has to be fought,” said Ayn Rand. ARI’s new Conceptual Education Fellowship will promote fundamental reform.

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“I’m delighted to announce that a new fellowship at the Ayn Rand Institute has been established,” said CEO Tal Tsfany. “The Conceptual Education Fellowship will help train intellectuals who can articulate and advocate a rational approach to primary and secondary education, based on the principles of Objectivism.”

The failure of American education was a recurrent theme in Ayn Rand’s commentary, highlighted by her 1970 exposé “The Comprachicos,” which chronicled the role of Progressive education in creating a generation of drug-addicted rebels against reason and freedom. “It is the educational establishment that has created this national disaster,” Rand wrote. “The educational establishment has to be fought — from bottom to top, from cause to consequences, from nursery schools to universities, from basic philosophy to campus riots, from without and from within.”

The new fellowship was founded with a gift from longtime supporter Ed Thompson. “I am passionate about reforming the educational system because I understand clearly that it is fully responsible for creating our national disaster,” Thompson said. “The Conceptual Education Fellowship is my way of galvanizing support for educational reform.”

“The battle to reform the educational system can and must be won with ideas.”

The first fellowship has been awarded to Sam Weaver, who holds a BA in English from Davidson College and graduated from ARI’s Objectivist Academic Center in 2019. Weaver, who won ARI’s Atlas Shrugged essay contest in 2019, has taught students of elementary, middle and high school age and recently became an OAC teaching assistant. “I became interested in education when I read what Ayn Rand wrote about the importance of following the right methods of acquiring knowledge, especially early in life,” he said. “Education makes a crucial difference in the life of an individual and the trajectory of a culture, and I think Objectivism has unique insights on how to approach it rationally. I’m grateful for the opportunity to study and promote those insights.”

Tsfany encouraged others to support the new fellowship program as a way of carrying out Rand’s recommendation for achieving cultural change. “A nation’s long-term direction is set not by today’s political headlines and debates, but by the ideas and ideals that come to dominate its culture,” he said. “Above all else, such dominance depends on trends in a nation’s educational systems that train young minds and impart fundamental ideas and convictions. The battle to reform the educational system can and must be won with ideas, with effective voices advocating a proper approach to education. This fellowship will support the training of intellectuals in the field of education to engage in this battle.”

More information is available on this web page or by emailing donorservices@aynrand.org. To donate, visit aynrand.org/donate (indicating “Conceptual Education Fellowship” in the comment section).


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Tom Bowden

Tom Bowden, JD and former civil litigator, is a research fellow and publishing manager at the Ayn Rand Institute. He is also a coeditor of Illuminating Ayn Rand (2022) and a contributing editor of New Ideal.

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