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.
The Trinitas seniors recently finished their senior thesis project. It was as if the weight of the world fell off them on that day. They have been living with their topics and all the research and writing and re-writing for a year now. It felt good for them to turn in those papers and defend them before a panel of board members and faculty. It felt good for them to look back on their work well done and know they had accomplished that massive and daunting project they set out to accomplish a year ago.
When Janice and I visited Trinitas Christian School at the invitation of Justice Ken Bell (father of three Trinitas alums) fourteen years ago, it wasn’t because we were looking for classical education. We were looking for Christian education to be sure, but we didn’t even know enough about classical education to ask a good question about it. Seeing was believing for us that day though, and one tour of the school during a normal day of classes convinced us that this classical education was worth a try.