Thank you so much for that kind introduction. Before we begin, I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the administration and to all the senior class parents for providing me the opportunity to speak to these graduating seniors before you all tonight. And I would be terribly amiss if I did not congratulate you, seniors, on the many accomplishments that have brought you to this very place on this momentous evening. My purpose this evening is two-fold and somewhat paradoxical in nature. On the one hand, my job is to remind you that all of this evening is about you. On the other hand, my job is to remind you that none of this is about you, at all. Like I said, somewhat paradoxical. But there is a method to this madness, and I hope to demonstrate as much over the course of the next few minutes. There are many things I could say to you this evening; in truth, there are many things that ought to be said to you this evening, but that’s what all these good people are for. Lord knows I’ll need the backup. Yes, there are many paths we could tread, but I thought it best to stick to one rather familiar to you, and to me as well. Our progression this evening will follow a sort of timeline: First, we’ll revisit the past, taking great pains to put a very fine point on just what it is that you have been doing here at Trinitas for the past 6, 8, 10—and for some of you—13 years of your life; next, we’ll pause and ponder the precise precipice upon which you are perched, at present; and finally, we’ll look to the future, daring, even, to prescribe what must be next. So, let’s roll back the clock.
When the world measures the outcomes of a K-12 education, it most frequently does so in terms of grades, test scores, and college scholarships. That is the vernacular. When the conversation turns to what kind of schooling produces the best of those outcomes, the world naturally assumes prestigious college preparatory schools are best. But that simply is not true. To push back even further, it might be said that the world is measuring the outcomes of education all wrong. What if I told you there is now definitive proof schools that measure outcomes in terms of soul formation also produce the best grades, test scores, and college scholarships?
One of the biggest shocks of my parenting life came nearly two decades ago when a wise, gray-haired teacher confessed to me that she did not care about my son’s grade. The conversation was about his grade in some grammar school subject that was just low enough to prevent his earning an academic award if something did not change soon. I swooned at her remark. All I could think of was my child’s future. How would he get into a good college and then on to a good career if he couldn’t get all A’s in second grade?
People come and people go. That is a truth in any community. It is human nature, I suppose to some extent, for people to get interested in a thing, even convinced about a thing, then lose interest or become unconvinced over time. Maybe we just have a short (and shortening) attention span. Because it is enrollment season, though, and families are deciding whether or not their children ought to attend Trinitas next year, I am spending a few weeks focusing on some of the top reasons people give for losing interest in and leaving Trinitas. This is the third of four such installments, and I hope you find it helpful if you are trying to make an enrollment decision.
People come and people go. That is a truth in any community. It is human nature, I suppose to some extent, for people to get interested in a thing, even convinced about a thing, then lose interest or become unconvinced over time. Maybe we just have a short (and shortening) attention span. Because it is enrollment season, though, and families are deciding whether or not their children ought to attend Trinitas next year, I am spending the next few weeks focusing on some of the top reasons people give for losing interest in and leaving Trinitas. This is the second of four such installments, and I hope you find it helpful if you are trying to make an enrollment decision.
Do you ever wonder where all the Trinitas graduates go after graduation night? Most of them eventually trickle back to campus for a visit; in fact, many of them visit often. A few alumni, though, have moved on so fast and so far that they haven’t stopped even once to visit since the day they left. This past summer James Cowart spent a lot of time catching up with as many of the ninety-four Trinitas alumni as possible, and we’ve taken several opportunities to share his findings with you in this space. This week, I want to leave you with some idea about where all the Trinitas alumni have gone.
Last week I revealed that 92% of Trinitas alumni reported they were well prepared for college. Of the few that didn’t feel prepared, four Trinitas alumni stated they started out behind their college classmates in math; two of them were engineering majors, and the other two did not mention their majors in the response. This week, I will explain why they may have started out behind and also talk about where classical students stand in math compared to students in a modern, STEM-focused education model.
For about a decade now in the education world, stem has been the most frequently uttered word by politicians, bureaucrats, curriculum marketers, administrators, and teachers. Not “stem” as in the stem of a flower, but “STEM” as in the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Students are being pushed to pursue those fields for several reasons, not the least of which is that the job market is good in those broad categories. Even though the job outlook is good in those fields, US students are lagging dismally behind students from some other nations in math and science proficiency, a fact that translates directly into economic terms on a global scale, which is another reason educators are emphasizing STEM in recent years and targeting it as an area of focus in K-12 education. The bottom line, though, is that our national deficiency in math and science is more than that: it is a deficiency in education. Math and science are merely symptoms of that much larger problem, and they are front and center these days for the aforementioned reasons.