The Quintilian Society: A new initiative encouraging academics to teach Latin in public high schools

The Paideia Institute, a non-profit educational organization “dedicated to promoting the study and appreciation of the classical humanities, with a focus on Latin and Ancient Greek languages and literature,” has announced a new program to make “it easier for underemployed and unemployed PhDs in Classics (as well as related fields where mastery of Latin is a required component) to enter the [American] public secondary education system” as Latin teachers.

The Quintilian Society, as they are calling it, plans a number of initiatives including: “making teacher training easily accessible and culturally acceptable in PhD programs; connecting PhD holders with school districts striving to maintain or begin a Latin program; and building a professional and personal network of public school Classicists.”

This builds on the Paideia Institute’s Legion Project, which looked at the career outcomes of thousands of Classics PhDs. Jason Pedicone’s study, Ne Plus Ultra: Classics Beyond the Tenure Track,” found that “Of those Classics PhDs who gained employment in higher education between 1980–85, 68% secured tenure-track employment. Between 2011–2015, this number had dropped to 30%.” According to Francis R. Hittinger, recent Society for Classical Studies (SCS) data “confirms this trend. In 2015–16 there were 38 tenure-track jobs for 546 job seekers and in 2016–17, 41 tenure-track jobs for 639 applicants.” At the same time, certified Latin teachers are in demand at the secondary level. In fact, “Latin was named specifically as a language with a teacher shortage by the United States Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education.”
Last year, according to the SCS, the ratio of job-seekers to available tenure track jobs was more than 15:1. While the ratio may not be quite that bad for Philosophy PhDs (I will be posting in the future on the state of the job market in ancient philosophy specifically), there are definitely many more job-seekers than tenure track jobs. In this context, it’s important for graduate programs, professors, and graduate students to be aware of alternative options and to be supported in pursuing them. As Hittinger notes, “a career of teaching Latin in public schools allows Classics [or Philosophy] PhDs to adhere to their vocation…while simultaneously providing a much-needed public service.”

The Quintilian Society “consists of members (PhD holders who are currently teaching in [American, I assume] public high schools) and fellows (recent PhDs, contingent faculty members, or graduate students currently pursuing a PhD in Classics or related fields, and interested in a public high school teaching career).”

Fellows “receive guidance and mentorship from experienced members to help them navigate the state certification process, as well as a stipend from the Paideia Institute to help cover the costs of their professional development.” They are currently accepting applications for their first class of fellows.

Members “have the opportunity to participate in annual meetings organized by the Paideia Institute and exchange ideas and teaching practices with other members and fellows. The Paideia Institute also provides members of the Quintilian Society with financial support to help them attend national teachers’ conferences and other professional events.” They are currently accepting applications for membership from high school teachers with PhDs in Classics (or other humanities disciplines).

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