Gibbs on How to Save Classical Christian Ed

First, get tougher admissions standards. Start asking prospective parents: How do you discipline your children? Do your daughters have smartphones and social media accounts? Do your sons play video games? Do you go to church every Sunday? Do you eat dinner as a family most nights of the week? Do you want your children to change the world? Are your children special? Do a survey of your best teachers and ask them what common cultural attributes are shared by the worst students they have. Use a little common sense. Don’t let more families into your school which have a lot in common with the most vexing, worldly families already there.

Second, work on your faculty culture. If you can’t offer teachers a compelling salary, you have to offer them a compelling faculty culture. Hire substitutes, give your language department a couple bottles of good scotch, and tell them to just spend the day chatting. Culture revolves around food and drink and singing and dancing. If your faculty doesn’t do these things together regularly, you don’t actually have a faculty culture.

Third, make a concerted effort to not let board member’s kids, teacher’s kids, or rich kids get away with murder. You know which students ought to have been kicked out years ago. Kick them out. A classical Christian school is a bit of a ministry and a bit of a business, but bad administrators have a tendency of dicing up the ministry and business aspects of a school so that teachers always get the short end of the stick. Faculty salaries? It’s a ministry. Badly behaved board member’s kids? It’s a ministry. Massive sports program? It’s a business. No matter which way they turn, the business/ministry dichotomy leaves teachers with less: less money, less time, less freedom, less peace, less respect. If you don’t want a Great Tradition school to open in town and soak up all your best teachers, start asking yourself how’d you treat faculty differently if there was a Great Tradition school in town that could beat your salary offering by 5%.

Fourth, take a survey of where your families go to church, then take a survey of where your faculty go to church. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means Sponge.TV Faith Café and 10 means St. Prude’s Catholic, if your average family is a 3 and your average teacher is a 7, mission drift is a huge problem at your school and the only way to fix it is to completely overhaul your admission’s process.

Finally, every teacher needs a hero, but every school needs a hero, as well. Every school ought to have a school in mind that it is striving to be like. At the moment, classical Christian schools too often compare themselves with the non-classical Christian schools in town and generally come away feeling quite pleased at their accomplishments. Quit comparing your school with schools that aren’t even trying to do the same thing. Find classical Christian schools (and colleges) that are better than yours and start making the painful changes necessary to become like them.

Source

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s