The central most important question used be called the $64 question – it was the last question in the 1950s show Take It or Leave It. It was the largest prize. Of course the term has inflated due to the ignorance of folk top its origin and now the most important question is typically said to be the $64,000 question.
Today we might well be asking one question and it really is attached to the number 64,000.
This year 64,000 students will start school and the question is “Where will they be in 13 years time – in 2028?” It is the finishing point rather than the starting point that is important.
We know that unless there are changes to the system, 13,440 of these starters will have dropped out of the race before they are sixteen years old, forget reaching Year 13. Perhaps 10-15% of those left are unlikely to have a platform from which they can head securely towards a great future. That’s another 5k – 7.5k. And so the story continues.
If the little ones joining the system today face an unchanged system that keeps on delivering the same then they will simply get the same results.
And they are not the only ones starting – many are starting secondary school for the first time – that is a challenge. Many others are looking at NCEA results and wondering about whether they are going well, doing the right subjects, heading on a career path that they understand and want?
Where each single student ends up ought to be a consideration from the beginning of each and every year. Doing well at each end point is simply a sound basis for doing better at the next.
What better inspiration at the start of the year than to recall T S Eliot’s lines:
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
A good school education is the largest prize!