By Henry Dibrell
My hope is that we all learn to appreciate the great community that Katy, Texas is, that we come to appreciate our roots, look forward to our future, and work together to make Katy ISD that light that shines on the hill – an example of educational excellence that all look to emulate. As we conclude an election cycle and look forward to summer, the Katy ISD Trustees look forward to one of our favorite times of year, graduation. Over a four day period, we will take part in seven graduations and shake over four thousand hands. Each of these young people represents so much hope for the future.
I would like to call your attention to forty very special Katy ISD students whom I feel exemplify what we have come to expect in Katy ISD: excellence. This past winter, 62,578 students from around the state auditioned for the state band. Out of 320 kids that made the band, 40 are from Katy. Great right? Well, that’s not the whole story.
What is incredible are their SAT scores. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400, the national average is 1500, and the Texas average is 1462. The average score for an All-State musician is 1825; the average for an All-State musician from Katy is 1897. Wow! These kids work hours perfecting their music and can still score these numbers. This is a testament to them, their parents, and Katy ISD. We should all take pride in this great accomplishment; this is Katy, and this is us.
In a speech to the Texas Association of School Administrators and a joint session of the House and Senate Education Committees hosted by Senator Shapiro, Daniel H. Pink said, “Education is not about teaching people to regurgitate facts, but teaching people to participate in a democratic society and reach their potential as human beings. What society needs in the 21st century are system thinkers.” According to Pink, the brain is a metaphor – left-brain and right-brain thinking. The left-brain processes information in a linear and logical method. The right-brain processes information all at once. This is Bloom’s level of synthesis; the highest level of learning. The right-brain is where artistry, empathy, and inventiveness happen, and this is what matters most in the 21st century economy. A great example is Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.
We’re moving from a left-brain world that values linear, logical thinking and action to a world that values the ability to recognize the big picture, empathize and to come up with multiple solutions to complex problems, a right-brain skill. Now, think about this. Companies don’t cut their way to success; they innovate their way to success.
How does this relate to jobs for KISD graduates? Consider these questions about jobs today: Can someone overseas do it cheaper? Can a computer do it faster? Is what I am offering “in demand” in an age of abundance? If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, that job will become obsolete or outsourced in the 21st century. We need to prepare kids for jobs that don’t even exist yet. We don’t know the names of the jobs, but we know the skills that are required to be successful: high touch, high concept skills that involve inventiveness, artistry and empathy. These are the skills that are developed in Arts Education. I think Pink is right. Though logic and linear reasoning will always be necessary for many jobs, the ability to adjust is also necessary. We know we have great sports programs in Katy, but our arts programs are equally as great preparing the leaders and inventors of tomorrow.
Have a great and safe summer.
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