"Kingdom Education"--Christian Schools

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Jack Matthews, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews
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    Glen Schultz of Lifeway has an excellent book called Kingdom Education: God's Plan For Educating Future Generations. The Christian school where my family is involved gave us a copy of it a couple of years ago, and I find agreement with most of what Dr. Schultz has to say.

    However, I think Christian schools, especially the evangelical ones, are headed for a train wreck if some other, creative means of financing them, other than charging tuition, are not found and soon. My wife and I are raising my two younger brothers and her younger brother in addition to our 10 year old son and are fortunate enough to have the means to send them to a Christian school, though we have had to make some adjustments and accomodations to do it. With three boys in high school and one heading for middle school, all involved in at least two sports and two in band, two in drama and speech, we will pay over $10,000 apiece in tuition and fees next year. When we started there six years ago, it was around $5,500 apiece.

    I've noticed that there are some changes at the school as a result. The enrolment drops whenever there is an increase in tuition and fees. Financial aid is provided, but only about 5% of the families receive it, and it is $1,000 per child per year. 90% of the budget comes from tuition, with contributions and additional fundraising only accounting for 10%. The number of families who are active in their church has declined, and they are replaced by more affluent people who are looking at the academic side of the school and not the Christian emphasis, and there has been an increase in disruptive behavior and negative behavior. The school administration seems to be more likely to respond to things based on what I call the "money factor" over the "moral factor." I'm wondering if it can be called "Kingdom Education" if 80% of the people in the "Kingdom", the churches, can't afford to send their kids there?

    We've looked around at alternatives, and found that Catholic schools are about half the cost for non-Catholics, and even less than that for Catholic students. In addition, Episcopal and Lutheran schools run quite a bit less. The other evangelical schools we looked at, at an Assembly of God church and a non-denominational school, were higher than ours, and the Church of Christ school, even higher than that. It would seem that Baptists and other evangelicals might need to get together and see what they could come up with to work together to make this a more efficient operation. Within a couple of years, I'll have three boys in college, and I'd rather not spend their college money on high school. Anyone else feel the same way?
     
  2. J. Jump

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    It seems as though this issue was brought up and the convention and was shot down. Really the only way you are going to be able to do anything is get convention money involved or have the school attached to a church and have the church support the school via tithes and offerings.

    There really don't seem to be a lot of options.

    I cover Christian high school sporting events as my full-time profession, and most of the schools that I cover are either tied to their national organization (Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian) or they are tied directly to a church. There are a few in this area that are on their own.
     
  3. gb93433

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    Many students in college are spending their parent’s money on things other than education and their parents don’t have a clue. Students today study less than any other generation and their parents complain more than their parents did. The universities hear a regular diet from parents expressing the idea that too much is required while foreigners can’t believe what they are hearing.
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    My son is two years old. We are following the advice of Al Mohler that was shot down by the unwise decision of the Convention and we are making plans now for our son to go to private school once he is in Middle School. We have had a college fund set up since before he was born as a gift from his great grandmother. I think we, as a society, do need to start taking some responsibility for meeting the needs of our own children and our Churches need to start encouraging this as well whether the Convention wants to encourage that kind of thing or not. I also think that Christian Schools should become ministries of the Church, and not just private businesses, which is more funded by the Church as a ministry that reaches out to those who cannot afford it. We DO NOT need to look to the government for funding, because that would be the death of Christian schools.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. TaterTot

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    At the Christian school I teach at, we hear Kingdom Education almost everyday. What you have brought out certainly are valid points. I am very thankful we are able to be a part of this particular school, but honestly, if I were not teaching there, there is no way we could even consider sending our girls there. The school is young (8 years) but I like the concept of how it was born. It is owned and operated by the local Baptist Association (SBC) and is the only one like it in the nation, from what I am told. I know some of the funding comes from there and other local churches in addition to the tuition.
    Many of our students are there to escape the influence of other schooling options, but there are a good number who come form parents who really believe in the Kingdom Education approach.
    What frustrates me, though, is that we have a large number of non-SBC Baptists who disagree with some SBC practices, and they are vocal about them. (i.e. women praying in public, KJVO, hair/dresses, etc) so the administration will often pacify them instead of trying to acclimate them to our way of doing things. I have wondered if this is b/c we need their money to keep going or if its just to try and get along.
    I do love the fact that my children are learning in a safe, Christian environment, and that I am able to not only be with them during the day, but also invest in the lives of young people.
     
  6. Jack Matthews

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    Well, after doing a little research, these are some things I found.

    The largest single expense of the RCC in the US is Christian Education, and the lion's share of that budget goes to its K-12 schools, 80% of it. Comparatively, for every dollar the Catholic church spends on Christian Education, the SBC spends a dime, with the lion's share of that going to the various state convention supported colleges and universities, and the seminaries. Only a handful of K-12 day schools are related to state conventions and most of those are old-fashioned, out of date military style academies. According to the SBACS (Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools) only about 4% of SBC churches have a Christian school as a ministry of the church. It would seem that if secular, public education is a philosophical danger, the best place to invest in Christian education would be at the younger end of the spectrum.

    At the Catholic school we looked at, the tuition was $5800 for non-Catholics, with a 10% discount for each additional student you enroll. Catholics start with the same tuition but are eligible for a payment from the diocese based on their income, covering up to 100% of tuition and fees, if necessary. The philosophy of the principle, who was a Jesuit priest, was that the education needed to be there to any Catholic family who wanted to take advantage of it. The idea that those in the church community who were able to pay their own way in order to make funds available for those who couldn't didn't seem to bother him. If daily mass attendance and religion class had been optional instead of required, I might have considered it.

    Wonder what it will take to get Baptists moving in the same direction?
     
  7. mcdirector

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    I teach at our church's school. The church is SBC. I don't know enough about how catholics distribute their monies. Does the catholic church pay for the individual catholic buildings? Are catholic school teachers paid by the catholic church or the school at which they are employed?

    The reason I ask these questions (and they are just a start) is because of our individualness as Baptists, we do pay for our own building and when schools are in churches, the teachers are hired by the church. We make every effort at our school to keep costs down, but we do want to pay teachers what the state pays them (we don't but we are getting close). What the state pays isn't comparible to what the county pays btw.
     
  8. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I would much prefer the Christian schools be funded as a ministry of the local church with local control instead of recieving funds from the convention. JMO.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  9. J. Jump

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    That would probably be the best, but even at that these schools can be rather expensive. I know there one here in Houston that is tied to a Baptist church is still very expensive.
     
  10. Jack Matthews

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    The school my guys go to has a $5.5 million dollar per year operating budget. I don't know of very many churches that could come close to that kind of money. However, this school has its own facilities. If you had a group of churches in a particular community who worked together to underwrite a school at a church that had a large enough facility to accomodate it, that might work. Or, if several SBC churches got together and supported an elementary school in one location that fed into a nearby middle school in another, and then to a high school in a third church building, that would save on indebtedness, which is a major expense where we are now. They owe $12 million on buildings and property, and have to come up with better than half a million a year in payment.

    Teacher salary is another concern of mine. God does provide good teachers, though they make less than their colleagues in public schools, and even some other private schools. Of course, if you increase salaries, costs go up.
     
  11. christianyouth

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    If local churchs began to function as Christian Schools, it seems like the result would be second rate education. Most Christian schools around here are pushing 10,000 a year in tuition, so that immediatly eliminated the opportunity of me getting a Christian education, or so I thought.

    We found a school in the ghetto of Detroit , that was supposibly 'christian', with 1k tuition a year, it was ran by a local church. I went there for three years and I cant believe this place was actually deemed a school. Most of the 'teachers' there were did not actually goto college for teaching, they were members of the local church. Since they charged low tuition, their budget was very low so we had inferior facilities and school books. Also, kids who were not Christians decided to go to this school, because it was far safer than the public schools. It was in turn, a terrible situation and threw out three years of my education.

    What would you do, send your child to a public school where they have better text books( thoroughly sprinkled with humanistic doctrines ), facilities, sports, ect? Or would you send your children to a first rate Christian school and do like most, spend 10k-20k a year?

    God Bless,
    Andy
     
  12. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I would save my money and send my child to the best private school I can. I am starting early. My son is currently 2 years old. I am sorta treating his future Middle and High School education like I would his future in college and saving for it now. I would have no problem if several Churches of like faith were to go together and fund it themselves, but when you get into conventions and governments funding it, I think you are destroying the purpose of locally controlled private schools. There is just too much temptation for buracracy and corruption the further away from local control you get.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  13. Jack Matthews

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    Well, as far as I am concerned, the government funding a Christian school is OUT. And that includes a voucher system, because, no matter where the money came from, tax money is government money and will involve government control, because not all of the contributors are Christians.

    The school we are involved with now is an independent school, with no church or denominational affiliation. It is governed by a parent board. All the parents on the board must be active members of a local "evangelical, Bible-believing" church which, in practice, is interpreted by the school as "no Catholics." According to the school profile, the student body of nearly 1,000 is broken down into 602 families representing 127 different churches, including 21 different denominational groups as well as non-denominational congregations. They do have some corporate funding, and do "outside" fundraising events, though the participants in both of those categories are members of the school community.

    The school is well equipped, the teachers all have degrees in the field in which they teach, and about half of them have a masters degree. The facilities are excellent. If you divided up the operating cost by the number of churches that have families in the school, it comes out to about $44,000 per church. Some churches wouldn't be able to come up with that much per year, but others could do twice or three times that amount. Families who could afford to do so should pay their own way to help out. It depends on how serious churches are about true Kingdom education.
     

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