Rethinking Academic Success: Beyond Standardized Tests and GPAs

In a recent article dated January 8, 2024, David Leonhardt of The New York Times delved into an intriguing correlation: students who excel in standardized tests like the SAT/ACT often also have higher college GPAs. This finding prompts a vital question in the realm of education: What do these metrics truly measure? The responses posted to the article (so overwhelming that the NYT closed the comments within 24 hours of publication) show that people lifted up by SATs really appreciated the opportunity and did well in college. For me, this belies the problem. Do you really get a better education at Harvard than Nebraska? I got an excellent education, even though I had to drop out of NYU because of funding problems. My grades were terrible - I had a 2.0 - but I wrestled on the college team, wrote for the school newspaper, worked on film crews for students in the film department, organized music events, and made some lifelong friends.  Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycl

My Gepetto - Kent Morse

Maybe you've stood at a party struggling to make conversation... In an elevator... At work... Often feeling like the words are just filling air. Awkward. Looking for something that you might have in common so that it can be a real connection with another person.  Not everyone feels like this among others, but I often do. Especially when I was younger.  But not with Kent. For whatever reason every conversation with Kent was real; important, relevant, smart. I needed that. I was an outsider, and I'd found another outsider, and when I was with him I was an insider. When you're young, you take these things for granted a little. As I get older I realize i don't make new friends as easily. Suddenly, there I was in middle age, counting my friends on my hands. There was Kent, accidentally close by in Florida.  There's that moment when I start to reach out to someone with whom the tides of time have created distance where I ask myself "Should I?" because maybe they

3 - Character Defects of the ADD - Unreliable, Late, Inconsistent

Anyone who lives or works with an ADD has found them, from time to time, to be unreliable, inconsistent performers, and late. For non-ADD sufferers, the ADD appears inconsiderate, irresponsible, and immature. However, these are not character defects but rather reflect a mind which is focused on NOW. You want an ADD with you in a foxhole, on a help desk, on the playing field, in the woods, navigating a strange land, or leading a clamoring group of people - we are finely attuned to our changing environment, sensitive to what others are feeling or thinking, and always dreaming about how we can make our present situation better.  The problem is, most of modern life isn't like that. Modern life is sitting, writing, and admin work. There is physical labor, but that doesn't challenge the brilliant, speedy mind of the ADD. So, despite their weaknesses, because of their intelligence and leadership skills, they get inserted into the modern educational system and workforce in roles that a

1- My ADD Journey - Mr. 90%

I've always humorously addressed my ADD. I'm the "forgetful" one. I'm the guy who blurts something out impulsively for effect in a conversation, looking for a laugh. My wife jokes that I have Tourette's syndrome. Teachers and others called me "Accident-prone." My buddies shout "squirrel!!" to mock how I change subjects while conversing.  Realizing I'm Different I received a clinical diagnosis early in my life, given the rarity of the diagnoses in the 60s and 70s. During a visit back to the US when I was 10, I was prescribed Ritalin. I don't remember if it did any good. I have sought other psychiatric treatment, but no one directly addressed the issue of ADD as the source of my dysphoria.  What I do remember is my frustration, even in 3rd and 4th grade, with my poor grades. I couldn't complete homework assignments, and I lived in fear of a confrontation with the teacher over the assignment not turned in. I LIKED school. I did wel

Why Math? How we Kill our Dreams

     As a fifth grader, I realized I had become fascinated by pictures of houses and buildings. A photo book of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings enchanted me. I was in Europe then, so American literature was hard to come by, but I scavenged "Popular Mechanics" and saw floor plans. You could design buildings by drawing their guts! Wow!! I could sit and draw floor plans at my little desk for hours on end. My obsession was so evident to my parents that my 13th birthday gift was a drafting table.      Back in the US, I made my way downtown Washington DC riding a series of busses to find drafting paper, a day-long adventure that resulted in purchasing a long scroll of paper instead of sheets. It was translucent and had a bit of a slick surface, which made my pencil drawings smear. I didn't realize that I needed to use a pen. I also didn't understand that the purpose of translucence was to allow the layering of floor plans to retain the same building shell but change the

On Being a Hockey Dad - Scott Smith

             It’s 3:30 on Saturday morning in January. I’m creeping down the stairs to warm up the car. In the basement, I’m dressing in my mind and stuffing a bag; pants, socks, shirt, headwear, footwear, tape, stick. At the last moment, I coax my sleeping son out of bed and quietly half carry him, still partly asleep, out of the house. I put it in reverse and, under cover of darkness, slip out of the neighborhood. I’m not a spy or a kidnapper… I’m a hockey dad, and we have a 45-minute drive to our 5:30 a.m. ice time.              Everyone reading this knows what I am talking about. When I walk into the rink, it’s just one meeting of eyes and we each acknowledge the sacrifices we make of sleep and weekends and holidays for our players.             I coached mites, midgets, and peewees until I turned my players and families over to their high school or club coaches; Taylor (‘10) came to Prep in ‘06. I needed to find another way to share my enthusiasm for the game and hockey commu

Henry Milton - Lessons in Humility

In 1977 I looked at myself in the mirror, and I saw a scrawny, insecure, and confused teenager who could list, as a singular accomplishment, 4 months of dishwashing at the Holiday Inn.  Yet my ego told me I possessed superior talents and skills that simply went unrecognized.  In fact, I had a severe, and probably incurable, case of “anal-cranium.” I am grateful that Henry (Mr. Milton, to me) often reminded me of this because without breaking through my ego I would never learn anything as a student either at that school or, as it turns out, for the rest of my life.   At Hyde School, Mr. Milton occupied the office of the Dean of Students. If you are unfamiliar with prep school hierarchy, the Principal may be the head of the school, but the Dean of Students is God, dispensing punishment and favor.  Towards the end of my time at Hyde (I found out later – no badges), I became one of “Henry’s boys” - minions privileged to carry out any instructions he dispensed.  He made the mundane seem glo