Latin is not dead in Kentucky. Milena Minkova and others are keeping it alive at UK. Bryn Mawr reviews notes two textbooks on Latin Prose Composition, one co-authored by Minkover, and another her own work. (here and here)
I remember speaking with two older farmers in Kansas about studying Latin in school back in the day. One told me, “I never had any trouble with English after I took Latin.” The other one said, “It was tough at first, but the fourth year it all came together when we read Caesar.”
Sonja and I were in Kentucky recently and we picked up an old Latin grammar along with an elementary English reader at a flee market. We talked about the high standards that once were the rule in public schools.
For two or three decades now Marion Polsky has been teaching Latin to inner city kids. She finds it is an equalizer–no one has an advantage because their parents speak it at home. She uses creative methods, including having the kids dress up in togas.
In the 1970s and ’80s, the U.S. government funded Latin classes in underperforming urban school districts. The results were dramatic. Children who were given a full year of Latin performed five months to a year ahead of control groups in reading comprehension and vocabulary. The Latin students also showed outsize gains in math, history and geography. But Congress cut the funding, and nearly all the districts discontinued Latin.
Vivat sermo Ciceronis!