by Neil Anderson, Head of School
Each month, interested families attend Informational Meetings that we hold at TCS. At these meetings, we try to fit everything anyone would ever need to know about TCS into a one-hour presentation so that families can make an informed decision about applying.
At the end of these meetings we have an open forum for questions. Many of the same questions are asked each month. There is one question in particular that gets asked often, but usually is reserved for private discussion after the meeting.
This happened again recently. A parent approached me at the close of the meeting, fumbling for the most inoffensive way to ask the question. “How do you know… I mean… what proof is there… have you seen compared to other schools… um?” What this parent wanted to know is… how do we know this Christ-centered, classical, University-Model education is going to produce excellent students according to state standards?
It’s a fair question, and it is a question I would expect parents to ask. It’s not offensive. For parents who are being exposed to the model for the first time, it might feel like the door-to-door salesman technique used often these days. The salesman throws you the line that neighbors Smith, Jones, and Wilson down the street just purchased Miracle Grout Cleaner, as if the fact that your neighbors got suckered will compel you to purchase something that you have zero confidence will benefit you in any way.
There are many ways to answer the question head-on. Both classical and University-Model schools are constantly outtesting public and private progressive model schools on standardized tests and the SAT. When you combine the two (classical and University-Model), the results tend to become even more potent.
The proof is also in the pudding right here at TCS. We will administer standardized tests in late spring, but even before this, it is easy to see the fruit of the model in the capabilities of our current students. I usually encourage parents who ask this question to participate in a Class Tour.
I have to admit, though, that this question and these answers make me wonder if the heart of the conversation is off base. When the chief concern in education is “what is your school capable of producing,” and the product we are evaluating is purely academic as associated with state standards, it seems we have drifted from the point.
There is only one ultimate product we are hoping for from the education we offer. We want to produce worshippers, students who come out on the other end understanding that the true end of education is a more informed worship. The invitation to enroll at TCS is not primarily about superior academics as the gateway to superior job as the gateway to superior income as the gateway to superior person.
The invitation to enroll at TCS is extended to families who view education in the context of the Kingdom of God. By this I mean families who are seeking a Christ-centered school because Christ must be exalted in the center of education as the One from whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). They are seeking a classical school because they want their children to be immersed in what is good, true, and beautiful, not just efficient. And they want a University-Model school because they want it to be themselves, the PARENTS, owning this process and seeing it through.
The degree to which we gain a reputation for having superior academics, must be simply as a “product” of being committed wholeheartedly to these things, not out of a desire for academic prestige or to beat the progressives at the education game.
I would be lying if I said I do not think about how we measure up to other schools. I would also be lying if I said I am not concerned with being excellent academically. But Christ-centered education means we are committed to being centered in Him and re-centered in Him over and over through the years. I’m interested in TCS families challenging each other to strive for an eduction for our children that is fueled by Christ, filled with Christ, and sustained by Christ. I have faith that our commitment to this will result in a product that is eternal.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)