Classical, Christian Ed: We Say College Prep Is Not Enough

I really dislike the term “prep school,” and I’ve intentionally shunned it for my entire career at New Covenant.  It is true that we serve the college bound student, and we do it very well.  If you like, you can check our college acceptances for 2017 here.  Our track record has been consistent for more than twenty years.

If this was our only goal, however, our efforts would be much too narrow.  After all, the whole American K-12 system is now “college prep.”  If the media and the government are to be believed, everyone should go to college, and there is a growing constituency in our society that is demanding that college be provided for free, just like K-12 education.

With so many students seeking entrance to schools, the pressure is on for parents and schools to jack up their students’ schedules with advanced “this” and advanced “that.”  Did you know, however, that research indicates that merely multiplying content works against students because they forget a significant percentage of what they learn in high school?  Moreover, advanced courses in high school do not correlate with success in college.  Nevertheless, the impulsive response for would-be competitive schools is to cover everything.  The reality is that schools cannot possibly predict with precision what students need to know five years from now.  There is simply no such thing as “preparing students for a 21st century world,” by giving them today’s technology or today’s “facts.”   Any computer science major from 1985 will be the first to confirm this.

So, what do students need?  They need exactly what a classical, Christian education provides. First, students must know what to do when they don’t know what to do.  In short, they need a school that teaches them how to think – not just what to think.  A student who knows how to think, how to find the answer, how to teach himself, is a student who will make it not only in college, but beyond college.

Second, students need adaptability.  Our children are growing up in a world of hyper-change.  My response?  So what.  Of course, the world is moving quickly, but the basics of how the world works is constant.  Human nature is constant.  A classical, Christian education dwells on the themes of human experience that are universal and unchanging.  Armed with this knowledge, a student can adapt to the particulars of any circumstance.

Finally, a classical Christian education is a transformative experience.  We wish to say loudly that we are not merely aiming to get students into the school of their choice.  We are aiming for success beyond college. It is our purpose to teach a student not only how to make a living, but also how to live.  We accomplish that by how we in-form – how we build up – a real child, a real human being.

“Life prep” is a new buzzword in education today, driving new courses in “real life” as if students don’t have real lives now.  This is not a course New Covenant would ever add to its curriculum.  Every course in our curriculum is a life prep course.   Education is not a “product” we offer to you.  It is an experience that changes the life of your child.