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Could There Be Hope for the Ivy Leagues? | Office Hours with Jeremy Tate

March 19, 2024 Classic Learning Test
Could There Be Hope for the Ivy Leagues? | Office Hours with Jeremy Tate
Anchored by the Classic Learning Test
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Anchored by the Classic Learning Test
Could There Be Hope for the Ivy Leagues? | Office Hours with Jeremy Tate
Mar 19, 2024
Classic Learning Test

On Office Hours with Jeremy Tate, Jeremy and Soren dive into the most recent, need-to-know news surrounding the education renewal movement. Tune in to hear about the alarming illiteracy rate in Illinois schools and a “woke kindergarten program” in San Francisco. A Catholic liberal arts college in New York is eliminating several majors and minors, including philosophy and religious studies. However, the surprising news that Dartmouth and Yale are reintroducing mandatory standardized testing for college admissions brings a glimmer of hope for the Ivy Leagues.

Show Notes Transcript

On Office Hours with Jeremy Tate, Jeremy and Soren dive into the most recent, need-to-know news surrounding the education renewal movement. Tune in to hear about the alarming illiteracy rate in Illinois schools and a “woke kindergarten program” in San Francisco. A Catholic liberal arts college in New York is eliminating several majors and minors, including philosophy and religious studies. However, the surprising news that Dartmouth and Yale are reintroducing mandatory standardized testing for college admissions brings a glimmer of hope for the Ivy Leagues.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (00:00.)
In 30 Illinois schools, not a single student can read at grade level. And in San Francisco, a quote, woke kindergarten program is blowing taxpayer money and actually lowering test scores. Manhattan College, a Catholic liberal arts college in New York is eliminating several majors and minors, including you guessed right, philosophy and religious studies. But wait, Dartmouth and Yale are reinstating required standardized testing for college admissions?

Jeremy Tate (00:24.617)
. .

Soren Schwab (CLT) (00:27.72)
Could there be hope for Ivy League schools after all? We're going to discuss this and a lot more today. I am Soren Schwab, and this is Office Hours with Jeremy Tait. Welcome back to the Anchored Podcast, and thank you for joining us for episode three of our new series, Office Hours with Jeremy Tait. I am here at CLT headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland with the one and only founder and CEO of CLT, Jeremy Tait. Jeremy, how are you today?

Jeremy Tate (00:48.553)
Doing well, doing well, Soren. I love that Annapolis is our headquarters. Love that you said that. We're looking at places to move.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (00:57.576)
Thank you.

Jeremy Tate (01:10.825)
What are these beautiful -

Soren Schwab (CLT) (01:15.592)
I know, I'm in a short sleeve polo about to head to Denver. I think it's going to be like 25. So I'm going to savor today for sure. We got three really, really exciting topics. The first one is there was an article about schools in Illinois, but I also know you've tweeted some similar articles about Baltimore, New York City, and it's about the disastrous state of our educational system. This article, not a single student.

can read at grade level. In 30 Illinois schools, one out of 10 kids or less can do math at grade level. In 930 schools, that's more than a quarter of all schools in the state. What's going on, Jeremy?

Jeremy Tate (01:53.417)
Yeah, I mean, I think what's going on is, you know, a lot of mainstream schools soared. It's not just they're not doing well, but it's a full scale disaster. And look, I started teaching in one of these schools, I inner city, New York, 2004 to 2007. I was a progress high school. Absolutely. Did we have students that couldn't read? Absolutely.

And in my experience as a teacher there was that you couldn't fail them. Even back then you couldn't fail them. If you tried to, as a teacher you're gonna get called into administration and you say this really doesn't reflect well on the work we're doing here. Do you really wanna do that Jeremy to all the other teachers and administrators? He was a brand new teacher. And I remember this conversation, I said, kid never came to class. Still, you gotta push him through, you gotta push him through. So.

Yeah, I mean, we are robbing these young people of the most formative years of their life. You know, they're not just not...

Jeremy Tate (03:00.009)
either. And so America has absolutely got to look in the mirror and reckon with what the problem is. But the good news is like we've actually seen so much success with every demographic through micro schools, home schools, classical schools, right? These schools that are being innovative, creative, and that are going back to first principles in education. So there is hope.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (03:24.73)
Thank you.

Jeremy Tate (03:27.177)
But we've got to get away from the unionized, bureaucratized mainstream establishment. That's where all the failures come.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (03:33.256)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And what's so interesting, I mean, oftentimes the argument, oh, schools are failing. Well, it must be about the money, right? But the ones you just listed, the micro schools, the home schools, some of the private, they're working with a much smaller budget. And actually data from the Illinois State Board of Education shows that for most of these schools, spending was at around $20 ,000 per students before the pandemic. Today,

Jeremy Tate (03:51.433)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (04:01.064)
It spends about $35 ,600 on students who then can't read at grade level. I mean, that's, that's, yeah.

Jeremy Tate (04:07.049)
Yeah. Per student per year. I mean, think about that. Per student per year, 25 to $35 ,000. I mean, the average private school tuition is half of that, right? But look, this is the reality. We know this. If you're a bad private school, you're done. You close your doors and you're done. If you're a failing public school, they're just gonna pump more money into it. And look, all of the jobs, they're kind of fake jobs. I mean, every board of...

hundreds of bureaucrats who basically just work to make life more difficult for teachers, right? And so thank God that there is an exodus, and we've seen a big decline in enrollment in Los Angeles public schools, in New York public schools, and they're going into Catholic schools, they're going into micro schools, they're going into home schools. And I personally know people who have had their lives changed by making this exodus. My...

My daughter's track coach, Coach Whit up in Mountain of Sails, grew up in Brooklyn. He had a grandma who pulled him out and put him into Catholic school. Then he went to Georgetown, right? We have got to give schools and parents a way out of these failing schools.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (05:19.226)
Yeah, yeah, and you mentioned LA the other article that I'm referencing is a Bay Area school district spent a quarter million dollars on the quote woke kindergarten group That it's federal money that was used to spend on that organization to train teachers to confront white supremacy to disrupt racism and oppression and remove those barriers to learning

while apparently forgetting to actually teach kids how to read and write. And so yeah, definitely an issue. But it seems like between classical education, some of the school's choice options, at least families will have choices there to send their kids to the right school. For topic two, a Catholic college faculty vote no confidence in president after program cuts and layoffs. The college is Manhattan College, a Catholic liberal arts school in New York.

Jeremy Tate (05:47.785)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (06:17.256)
that has been eliminating several majors and minors, including philosophy and religious studies. 62 faculty positions will have been eliminated by this summer, and most of them in the liberal arts, in the liberal arts programs. Unfortunately, not the first of such cases, Jeremy. What say you?

Jeremy Tate (06:38.825)
Sure, I think there's two sub stories here, Soren, and I think the article kind of left out both of them. It's a school like Manhattan College, what has become of the humanities? What has become of the liberal arts at colleges like this, right? For many students, what they experience, I mean, who wants to major in understanding why America is awful, right? Who wants to study philosophy to basically be taught that you can't really know anything about anything, right?

And so what is going under the guise of the humanities or the liberal arts has really been hijacked, in many ways politically hijacked, by folks who are not teaching it well in the first place. And at the same time, we've seen a proof of concept, right? Look at the new Honors College at the University of Tulsa, where Jen Frey, who's on our academic board, she heads up this Honors College. Applications through the roof, right? There is a real hunger right now for the genuine article.

Students want to study the very best of what has been thought and said, but to have the kind of professors that have often been the case at some of these schools, Manhattan College being one, they're not getting substance. So students don't want to take them. I think the second part of this is connected to this whole idea of jobs, right? And we talk about this a lot at CLT and I share this story sort of, you know, working in a public school and even asking students, why are we here? What's the point of school? And students...

Soren Schwab (CLT) (07:43.304)

Jeremy Tate (08:05.417)
always, always, always saying something about to get a better job. And I think there's still this very erroneous story out there right now, our concept, especially with parents and schools, that it's not a worthy major if it doesn't translate into jobs. But look, look at voices like Mark Cuban. Look at people who are at the very heart and center of a rapidly changing marketplace.

It's people who have really learned how to think well. It's actually philosophy majors. That's what Mark Cuban says, who are going to be understanding how to navigate rapidly moving markets and to anticipate what's coming and what's needed at the time. So yeah, it's ironic that a place like Manhattan College, a Catholic college, right, would be eliminating the colleges that have defined the Catholic intellectual tradition. But I think we're unfortunately going to see more of this.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (08:50.17)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (08:59.24)
Yeah, yeah, but at the same time good for our friends at Christendom and Thomas Aquinas and Benedictine, right? And Avi Maria and Belmont Abbey because their applications have been skyrocketing right because if families are looking for authentic Catholic liberal arts education Manhattan College was probably not the best fit for them to begin with On topic three, we're a standardized testing company. We've got to talk about standardized testing but this one just a complete

Jeremy Tate (09:07.305)

Jeremy Tate (09:18.441)
That's right, yeah.

Jeremy Tate (09:24.489)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (09:28.744)
you know, 180 from not long ago. Dartmouth and Yale reinstate standardized testing requirements. Dartmouth reinstates SAT as the first Ivy League school in Yale, followed not shortly after. You know, I think the pendulum is slowly swinging. MIT, I think Purdue, UT Austin. So more and more of these schools that went test optional with COVID, but are now saying that the data is actually not supporting continuing

with their test optional policies, and that test scores more so than student essays or teacher recommendations or GPA are a better predictor. And so surprising to us, maybe not so much. Or what do you see there as a trend?

Jeremy Tate (10:18.121)
Yeah, you know, the test optional phenomenon, and we talk about this a lot, is it's not new. You know, test optional goes all the way back to about in college in Maine in the 1960s. And then you had the folks at FairTest for years and years campaigning, especially in the 2000s, that testing is oppressive and it's racist and it's wrong and it's just bad. I do think we have to say this, right, that there can be an overemphasis on testing. I graduated high school, sworn in 2000.

I think back then you really kind of felt like your identification as a human was connected to your SAT score, that you were just going to be a 980 forever or a 1050 or whatever it may be. That's not good either, right? But to get rid of it completely, so I think CLT were trying to reintroduce this healthy balance of like, it's not nothing, it's important, it's not everything, it doesn't define who you are, but it's a really helpful snapshot that colleges have relied on.

for almost a century now. The SAT rolled out in 1926. And they do away with this. And what was so interesting about so many of these, let's start with MIT. What was the rationale at MIT? Well, part of the rationale was that you actually give marginalized students, poor students, students without the opportunities.

You put them at a greater disadvantage when you remove the test. Well, why is that? Well, because it's gonna be the affluent kids who are gonna get their patent or whatever medical thing, or they're gonna be able to get published, or they're gonna be able to go do some crazy service project in Africa or something else. Well, what can everybody do? Pick up a test book or go online and practice and get better. Almost every student can read.

good books, which is the best way of course to prep for the CLT, the test really can be an equalizer and that was part of MIT's rationale. The other thing with this is look, no matter what folks may say about the IVs, right, I know I just finished Out of the Ashes for the second time, Anthony Eslon, and he's referring to them as the poison IVs, you know, in his book.

Jeremy Tate (12:26.121)
Whatever people may say about the Ivies, they still do in many ways control where higher ed goes. If Brown went back, Yale, Dartmouth already went back, I think other colleges are going to be following suit. But the Ivies are also in this unique position in that they're 4%, 5 % acceptance rate. A lot of colleges right now, they're just looking for students. And in some colleges, any students will do. I don't think those colleges are going to hurry to go back.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (12:57.576)
Yeah, I mean, you mentioned the schools that have gone back. The majority of them are what you would consider elite, however you wanted to find that higher performing school. So do you maybe see a trend where some of the more academically rigorous schools are going to go back to requiring a test and maybe kind of the, you know, the wishy washy, you know, maybe universities that just one students might not.

Jeremy Tate (13:19.529)
Yeah, totally. I think so. And what happened, before COVID, we were about 35 % -ish or so of colleges were already test optional. But the majority were not before COVID. And that flipped until we ended. At the end of COVID, we were actually about 90 % of colleges were test optional. So what changed was this, is that most kids were still testing because most colleges still required a test score. And the test optional colleges,

They kind of rode on the coattails of the colleges that were requiring a test. But then we introduced a new norm of not testing. And in some colleges, 10, 20 % of students were submitting test scores. And they found out that for things like retention, something colleges care deeply about, they weren't able to discern from high school GPA. We could have a whole other podcast sworn about high school GPA. And I'd love to pick your brain about when is the crazy inflation

going to slow down, right? It's like every, and even private schools now compete on how easy it can be to get a 4 .0, right? At some of these schools, you know, and families are going to choose the easier place to get that 4 .0. You can't, when that's a market incentive, you cannot trust the GPA for admission purposes in that case. The test score is equalizer, I think.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (14:21.)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (14:41.736)
Yeah, I mean, I feel like everyone I'm following, people I'm seeing on Twitter, they're like, no, no, it's all GPA, it's all GPA. I haven't talked to a single admissions counselor, you know, enrollment officer that has said the same thing to me privately, right? So maybe it's still this, we kind of have to say it, like, let's all believe it. But you're right, I mean, I was at a rigorous, kind of high performing charter school and we...

Jeremy Tate (14:56.233)
Yeah. Yeah.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (15:07.144)
We had so much pressure to move our GPA scale to a 4 .5 and 5 .0 for honors and then AP respectively, because our families were saying, hey, our kids have homework at your school. They have to do all these difficult things and they can only get a 4 .0. Well, if they go to the public school down the road, they're not going to learn a whole lot, but their GPA is going to be, you know, 4 .7. If we're at that point, then we're incentivizing.

Jeremy Tate (15:29.417)
Totally. Yep.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (15:33.352)
really a bad education, right, or education for the wrong reasons. But I think that's the reality we're in. You mentioned testing as like the equalizer, right? One important piece, right, it's not the end all be all. It's not gonna define you for the rest of your life. One thing I wanna read to you just this morning got tweeted at by Emily Altman, and she said the following, I took the CLT my senior year of high school, the scholarship program I applied to.

for college included a section for me to report my CLT score. It's actually a Lyceum program at Clemson University. And she said, the CLT is on a completely different level than the SAT or ACT. I remember spending hours with an ACT tutor who essentially taught me how to beat the test. But there is no such thing when it comes to prepping for CLT. Frankly, if public institutions were required to accept the CLT for admission, it would raise the bar for every applicant, including public schoolers, especially since many colleges

decided to drop test score requirements for admission altogether during the pandemic. This would be a huge win. She's referencing a potential Tennessee higher ed bill to include CLT. So obviously we are the CLT Anchored podcast. So Jeremy, where does CLT fit into all of this? Because so far at least, all the schools that have announced that they're going to go back did not also add CLT to the mix.

Jeremy Tate (16:52.777)
Yeah, and so I love when we see high schoolers, I think Emily's older now, maybe graduated from Clemson already, the great Lyceum program there, but how cool to see students who tested with us six years ago giving this kind of feedback. Look, before starting CLT Soarin', I was running an SAT, ACT prep company, met a lot of folks who were doing that prep work, and they all know that you could give a student an improved score on the SAT and ACT, and they can show students.

how to game the test where you don't even have to read the passages, right? If you don't have time to get to this passage, here's how you can at least eliminate half of the answers just by, you know, if there's a, this is what a generalization is. The generalization is gonna be one of your false answers. So eliminate that right there, right? It's how predictable the SAT and ACT have become. And this is, you know, Emily's feedback is feedback that we've had for years. Is the CLT harder? Yeah, it is a little bit harder, but.

We're evaluating a student's ability to read and understand the same intellectual tradition that gave birth to America, that has made the West an incredible culture and a beacon of freedom for the entire world. And we don't want it to be gamed by students, but how cool to see students themselves appreciating that.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (18:12.168)
Absolutely. Well, before I let you go, anything you're reading right now, you've recently read, anything that our listeners have to read, what's on your mind right now?

Jeremy Tate (18:21.225)
Well, you know, so when I went to Budapest a week, a couple of weeks ago, and I did again out of the ashes, front to back, cover to cover. It is absolutely Anthony Esseland kind of unplugged. I think on every page of that of the ashes, you have this experience of like, I don't think you can say that, Mr. Esseland, you know, Dr. Esseland, it is very unplugged. He's a great cultural commentator. His parts in the book on education and what we've lost are really profound. So we definitely.

recommend reading that and also at the very end of Four Seasons in Rome for the second time. I'm in a phase of life of rereading books for some reason right now. So I did that four months ago. Anthony Dewar who wrote, you know, All the Light We Cannot See, which is a great little Netflix special as well. I feel like I heard you talking about this book the other day, Soren. Did I hear you mention that?

Soren Schwab (CLT) (19:06.632)
Yeah, I did. Because you recommended it. So I always take those recommendations seriously. I did the audio version, but it was fantastic.

Jeremy Tate (19:14.633)
If you're going to Rome anytime soon, it is such a great read. It's a really, really wonderful way. I mean, classical education at its center is the cultivation of wonder. And that is a big emphasis of Four Seasons in Rome, so I'd certainly recommend it.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (19:32.744)
Well, as always, Jeremy, an absolute pleasure. I already look forward to our next office hour. Have a great rest of your day.

Jeremy Tate (19:38.409)
Thank you, Sauram.