|| A WORD FROM MIKE SMITH
Wisdom: The most important goal
One of my privileges as president of Home School Legal Defense Association is holding the position of non-voting member of the Patrick Henry College Board of Trustees. From that vantage point, I get a unique glimpse of what makes the college so special.
|J. Michael Smith, President of Home School Legal Defense Association|
By way of review, the HSLDA board voted on August 14, 1997, to establish a college on property owned by the Home School Foundation. We named the college after Patrick Henry, a great American Founding Father and Virginian who was also homeschooled.
The initial thrust of the college was to train young men and women to participate in public policy on the federal and state level. Emphasizing the apprenticeship model, the training would balance hands-on work on Capitol Hill with on-campus courses. The college would seek accreditation, offer distance learning via the internet, and provide summer programs for families as well.
At a recent PHC Board of Trustees meeting, President Mike Farris announced that most of the college's initial objectives have now been achieved.
Because HSLDA was instrumental in founding the college and most of the students are homeschool graduates, PHC is known as a homeschool college. This is not a bad thing.
The motto of the college is "For Christ and for liberty," and the goal is to see PHC's students become national leaders and direct the culture toward godly values.
In its fourth year of existence, PHC has developed a reputation for excellence and effectiveness. Members of the two graduating classes are already being hired for impressive jobs and admitted to prestigious law schools. Even students who haven't graduated yet are impacting the culture. For instance, one student was instrumental in closing the "back room" of a video store near the school.
An exciting aspect of the 2003 graduation ceremony was hearing all seven graduates give articulate, visionary, and godly speeches. There are probably other colleges that can find seven graduate speakers of that caliber, but the difference is that they would have picked seven out of several hundred. At PHC, every graduate addressed the assembly.
Perhaps even more astounding, in just four years the academic preparedness of the average PHC student exceeds all but a few of America's elite colleges and universities. PHC's average entering freshman SAT scores fall above those of the University of Virginia, University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Texas, among many others.
The reason I point out the academic preparedness of the average PHC student is not to gloat. It is to demonstrate how well you moms and dads have educated your children. We know that on average, homeschool students score about 30 percentile points above average on standardized achievement tests. They score above average on the SAT and ACT as well.
Parents, because of your commitment to excellence in education and training in godly character, God has overwhelmingly blessed the homeschool community, demonstrating that not only is home education a viable option, but one of the best.
Congratulations! You are the reason that home education has gained credibility worldwide, and your commitment is earning even more acclaim through Patrick Henry College, the "homeschool" college.