The thirteen years of school between kindergarten and senior year should prepare a student well for college. And yet, in the United States, only 37% of high school graduates are prepared to take college-level courses. Fewer than that, only a quarter, are prepared to take college-level mathematics. First-year college students are now required to take seminar courses in expository writing, critical reading, and analysis because many K12 schools are unable to teach these essential skills. (https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/)
There are a number of factors that contribute to the dismal outcomes of K12 education in our country, but one thing is for certain, where your child goes to school makes a big difference. There is plenty of empirical evidence that proves there is a high correlation between educational attainment and employment. The more educated you are, the higher your income and the less likely you are to be unemployed. Much of the conversation and research, however, focuses on access to higher education at the exclusion often of the importance of what happens during the K12 years.
K12 education is the foundation on which everything else rests. If you fail to learn to read between kindergarten and fourth grade, you face a lifetime of challenges. Math skills like knowing your multiplication tables or how to work with fractions are essential building blocks to the math you will learn, or fail to learn, later. High school students who learn how to analyze texts effectively and write with clarity are at a distinct advantage in college.
The working world is rapidly changing and our students need to be prepared. There has been a lot of talk about jobs—we’ve all read about the effects of automation on manufacturing. But in recent months, we have become increasingly focused on the future effects of artificial intelligence. We haven’t come to terms with what happens when we’ve automated ourselves out of work, particularly the kind of work that white-collar professionals used to do. This type of automation has already started to rapidly infiltrate jobs like writing, accounting, and the law—the kinds of jobs that many of us chose and that many of our children will choose as career paths.
Independent K12 schools are focused on developing the essential skills that children will need to navigate a world very different from the one in which we grew up (one in which it will be perfectly normal to have a number of entirely different occupations over a lifetime). We’re particularly interested in making sure that our programs build resiliency and a desire for lifelong learning. These two skills are essential for those who will likely have to reinvent themselves several times during their lifetime.
Many parents have a choice in where they can send their children during the formative K12 years. Making the right choice can set a child up for success in our ever-changing world.