Sunday, November 21, 2010
rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Plan focuses on regional Lutheran elementary schoo...":
This ill-fated potential construction project is a variation of masonry evangelism. This also could be stated as the Field of Dreams model - if you build it, they will come. In a simpler time, I was on the General Board of an ALHS. One time at a meeting, the principal was asked how they obtained their prediction for future class sizes. His reply was to simply look at the combined total number at each grade level for all of the schools in the HS federation. Then, calculate 80% of that. This calculation was fairly accurate, based upon its historical success. That was in a simpler time, when congregations and schools were there to serve the members, first and foremost.
Since then, the WELS has become missional. They are reaching out to the community. Like any growth model that does not rely upon past efforts, the results can be varied and unpredictable.
"take a look at the kids they have to work with" This comment is spot on. When the above mentioned ALHS brought on a development director, their aim was to purposely reach out to non-federation families. When I found out about the starry-eyed outreach methods, I said to my beloved wife, "there goes the quality control program". I guess that it would be unloving to say that children from blended families do not deserve better than government school education.
I thought that I would never say this. But, I wonder if the congregation sponsored school, in its present form, is an idea whose day has come and gone.
Please take note where this proposed amalgamation is to take place. It is in the armpit of the WELS, the Fox Valley region. Pardon my crassness, but this armpit could use a little deodorant. It sure has been stinkin' lately.
GJ - Labels can be description or deceptive. The "missional" or outreach label can be a smokescreen for local employment agency. Since the school has such noble aims--dabbing my eyes for effect--the congregations have to donate extra money for doing the Lord's work.
In another region, a congregation's alleged parochial school is limited to pre-school and kindergarten, with 90% of the toddlers from non-members. Therefore it is not a school and not parochial, even though the congregation heavily subsidizes it. The outfit is a Day-Care Employment Agency for the Right People. Money is transferred from the parents and congregation to those who get to work for the Day-Care.
Since the news story involves Fox Valley, one can expect the Changers to get involved in raising money for huge fees, crowing about their success, and getting even more involved in the congregation's finances.
Now that a Confessional Lutheran is SP of WELS, a Gordon Conwell DMin can run a WELS seminary with founding Church and Change on his resume. Who is that? Witte, another fox from Fox Valley.
Who is the enabler? SP Mark Schroeder.
rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Fox Valley Mega-School":
Criticizing institutional day care is akin to stepping on the third rail in today's culture. When I first heard that some WELS congregations had full time day care, I got that queasy feeling associated with such risky endeavors. As expected, the first argument that I heard for it was its potential as a mission arm for the congregation. Do not forget, MLC is going to be offering a pre-school/day-care track, besides the the pastor and teacher tracks.
The employment aspect of this exemplifies the in-grouping that is so rampant in the WELS. At my previous WELS congregation, a pastor's wife was called to a full time position as the day care director, when it was opened.
There are many legal and logistical concerns with operating a day care facility. In a typical K-8 LES, the school mostly has to comply with local ordinances which are limited to the physical property. They may also be some loose state guidelines for the teachers and the curriculum.
This is not the case with day care. We found this out many years ago when my wife was investigating what was involved to do licensed, in-home day care. Here is a dirty little secret. There is an underground economy centered around unlicensed, in-home day care. It involves providers who are willing to accept cash, "off the books", and parents who will not deduct the expense from their income taxes. It is all quasi-legal, as the laws about this are somewhat nebulous.
Now, bring the institutional day care center into the scene. Their hours and fee structure are very rigid. They appeal to families with two full time incomes, who get to deduct part of the cost from their income taxes. Here is an ethical question. Like the Latte Lutheran churches which operate coffee shops, is it proper for a congregation to run a heavily subsidized day care center that competes with others like it?
In a consumer oriented society, dual income parents shop for day care, like anything else that they purchase. Can we expect "mission creep" (pun intended) that users of a church operated day care will somehow become members after merely purchasing what they deem to be the best value in surrogate care for their child? I surmise that the best argument offered would be that with God, all things are possible.