As our community welcomes a new superintendent of schools, I have had the pleasure of meeting with him and hearing him speak multiple times. The message that I hear and is being told is very relative to the state of our community today.
Hamblen County is growing and our schools must adapt to keep pace. Our industries demand more from today’s students, and they should. Years ago, we had a bad habit of telling 100% of children that they must have a 4 year degree to be successful. I think us as leaders missed the mark in how true success is measured. If it is measured in the amount of student loan debt we have burdened our children with, then we have proven that we were wrong.
To me, success is measured not by what degree you obtain, but by seeing how much potential you can squeeze out of each individual. That will mean pushing some kids to Ivy League schools but it will also mean as a higher percentage, pushing kids to 2 year and non-traditional training programs. To send 100% of our students to 4 year colleges and have less than 30% complete is not success in my book. To me, that
means 30% should have gone to 4 year schools and the other 70% should have taken a path more applicable
to their potential.
We have to remember as leaders, teachers and parents, it is our responsibility to lead, guide and direct
children into successful situations. In the end, they will change our community and our world for the better,
but for the moment, they are still eating tide pods. I’m so encouraged to see the direction our community is
taking with Walters State and our TCAT and it is time everyone supports this effort!