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Intentional Outliers

I recently came across a quote where a public high school teacher, James Arata, asks us to “compare our public school systems with a monopolistic industry that has doubled its workforce while its consumer base was shrinking, an industry where total expenditures have tripled and unit-production costs have quadrupled over the last three decades. However, one-third of its products are seriously defective, another third noticeably deficient, and the best 5 percent are only average when compared to items produced in Japan.”

This characterization by Arata is from 1988, and since then the educational reforms intended to fix the problem have been an incredible expenditure of resources that have utterly failed to keep things from getting even worse. This is because they treat the symptoms— poor test scores, specifically— rather than the roots that lead to poor performance.

I quote this because I think it is helpful to remind ourselves that as a school we are intentionally aiming to be outliers— outliers to a system that has broken down so drastically that we are all willing to invest great amounts of our own time and money to ensure that our children can have a more worthwhile alternative.

Another way to look at it: public schools spend over $12,000 a year to educate one student, and with results far inferior to those that we see here at Aletheia. Meanwhile, we are consistently producing 1st graders reading at 4th grade levels, 3rd graders with a better grasp of grammar than most adults, 7th graders reading the Odyssey and the Aeneid, and 8th graders doing college level symbolic logic. And on top of all that, every grade is doing math a full year more advanced than their counterparts! Most amazing of all, we are doing this at a cost of a little over $3000 a year.

Here is my point— we (and I unequivocally include myself in this) have been so blessed to have a school like this. I am so thankful for those who had the vision for it, who made the sacrifices to make it possible, and for those today who continue to set the standard for moral and academic excellence— those who continue to lead the way in pushing us forward, to grow into the school that by God’s grace He intends us to be.

Michael Eckhardt
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