Bill Gates, in a recent interview on education, had this to say about how schools are marketed and just what, exactly, are they measuring to determine success?
If you try and compare two universities [or private high schools], you’ll find out a lot more about the inputs—this [school] has high SAT scores compared to this one. And it’s sort of the opposite of what you’d think. You’d think people would say, “We take people with low SATs and make them really good lawyers.” Instead they say, “We take people with very high SATs and we don’t really know what we create, but at least they’re smart when they show up here so maybe they still are when we’re done with them.”
It’s a question I’ve long battled as a private school teacher, and now director:
Does my school exist to create a conglomerate of smart people?
Or does my school exist to take people as they are and make them better thinkers?
Throw in the fact that, as a Christian, I think I’m supposed to be intentionally serving those most in need, and there’s a pretty healthy tension there.
I think that’s a really important tension, and one that I’ll have to spend the next year or so sorting out.