Author Topic: Lutheran school approach to diversity  (Read 354 times)

peter_speckhard

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Lutheran school approach to diversity
« on: November 30, 2021, 04:20:17 PM »
We have a pretty diverse student body and have had very few problems related to race. Our approach, though, closely mirror that of this charter school, though we donít focus so much on America being a melting pot was we do God being the Creator and Redeemer of the single, unified human race. Either it way it runs afoul of educational orthodoxy today.

https://www.joannejacobs.com/2021/11/melting-pot-charter-under-attack/


Dave Benke

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Re: Lutheran school approach to diversity
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2021, 07:12:53 PM »
We have a pretty diverse student body and have had very few problems related to race. Our approach, though, closely mirror that of this charter school, though we donít focus so much on America being a melting pot was we do God being the Creator and Redeemer of the single, unified human race. Either it way it runs afoul of educational orthodoxy today.

https://www.joannejacobs.com/2021/11/melting-pot-charter-under-attack/

Sounds like the right plan to me on the spiritual level. 

The issue is, of course, also sociological.  There is a thing called a "tipping point," and it's somewhere around a third of the student populace.  Of course that's inexact, but it's just a benchmark.  The parent group that held sway (in our setting, usually Anglo) looks at who's enrolled, who their kid is with, and if they begin to feel outnumbered by the other group(s), there's a really strong desire to boogie.  It's not unnatural.  And if it's more than fifty-fifty, and if some of the incoming kids are academically disadvantaged, let's say, there can be an exodus, especially if there are presenting events ( fights, name-calling, drugs in the bathroom, etc., etc.).

Solutions include oceans of time bringing the parents together informally, food, sports events, etc., so there's commonality.  And of course, sympatico top leadership who are all on the same page.  And first and foremost, teaching unity in the bond of the Spirit.  And that the school and church are/should represent the community in which they are located.

When my wife began our pre-school 500 years ago or so (she knew Luther personally), it was all white kids and mostly from the church (!).  And so it went for the first three or four years.  It was all tuition-based.  And the first non-white parents were really dedicated people who made it easy for integration, with lots of those events.  Then at a certain point, there were hardly any white kids left in the neighborhood, and the school looked and looks like where it's located now, 100% non-white with a 100% non-white faculty.

 But from a supervisory perspective, we lost schools on Long Island that hit that tipping point and were pretty much evacuated by the kids and grandkids of the old guard.

Blessings on your school and church!

Dave Benke

peter_speckhard

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Re: Lutheran school approach to diversity
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2021, 08:32:24 PM »
We have a pretty diverse student body and have had very few problems related to race. Our approach, though, closely mirror that of this charter school, though we donít focus so much on America being a melting pot was we do God being the Creator and Redeemer of the single, unified human race. Either it way it runs afoul of educational orthodoxy today.

https://www.joannejacobs.com/2021/11/melting-pot-charter-under-attack/

Sounds like the right plan to me on the spiritual level. 

The issue is, of course, also sociological.  There is a thing called a "tipping point," and it's somewhere around a third of the student populace.  Of course that's inexact, but it's just a benchmark.  The parent group that held sway (in our setting, usually Anglo) looks at who's enrolled, who their kid is with, and if they begin to feel outnumbered by the other group(s), there's a really strong desire to boogie.  It's not unnatural.  And if it's more than fifty-fifty, and if some of the incoming kids are academically disadvantaged, let's say, there can be an exodus, especially if there are presenting events ( fights, name-calling, drugs in the bathroom, etc., etc.).

Solutions include oceans of time bringing the parents together informally, food, sports events, etc., so there's commonality.  And of course, sympatico top leadership who are all on the same page.  And first and foremost, teaching unity in the bond of the Spirit.  And that the school and church are/should represent the community in which they are located.

When my wife began our pre-school 500 years ago or so (she knew Luther personally), it was all white kids and mostly from the church (!).  And so it went for the first three or four years.  It was all tuition-based.  And the first non-white parents were really dedicated people who made it easy for integration, with lots of those events.  Then at a certain point, there were hardly any white kids left in the neighborhood, and the school looked and looks like where it's located now, 100% non-white with a 100% non-white faculty.

 But from a supervisory perspective, we lost schools on Long Island that hit that tipping point and were pretty much evacuated by the kids and grandkids of the old guard.

Blessings on your school and church!

Dave Benke
There are several dynamics in play that hopefully keep things healthy. For one, we have the state voucher program, so there is not a class distinction that leads to a sense to who is footing the bill and who is freeloading. We have parents who are doctors and parents who are basically unemployable and it makes no difference in terms of which side our bread is being buttered on. So that helps. The racial breakdown also doesn't align with the distinctions re: academic ability and/or behavior issues. Our bad students and kings of classroom disruption are an equal opportunity bunch. We get some top African-American students who are high achievers but whose parents want a Christian education for them and we get some who just struggle in school, same with the white kids. Nor does the member/non-member distinction align with healthy, traditional family/non-traditional family. Our church doesn't have nearly enough babies to support a school, but we have a lot of member students who are  in our school because they're being raised by grandparents or other relatives in messed up situations. So of all the possible distinctions, classifications and divisions that affect education, race doesn't come up much.

Last week we had a non-member, African-American man whose kids graduated from our school speak to the faculty. He is a strong Christian who is part of a company that does corporate talks about equity and inclusion, and he agreed to come for free because he loves his St. Paul's family. He did a more or less standard spiel about implicit bias and ways to be aware of how different people interpret different things, but he said the main thing to know is that bias in the sense of a set of expectations about different kinds of people is something everyone unavoidably has. You just have to be willing to be wrong as the evidence unfolds and not hold tightly to your own expectations such that you trap people in them. He also said that an unguarded moment of letting you bias show does not equate to being an "--ist" of any kind. He used the example of taking his family on a plane. A youngish woman introduced herself as the pilot, and his first thought was, "I hope she knows what she's doing." He said he's raised his daughters to know they can be anything and definitely is trained to train others against sexism, but he had to admit he'd have been more comfortable with a middle-aged white guy who "looked the part" piloting the plane. That was his own bias, but it didn't mean he was a sexist or misogynist. So it is with race. You aren't a racist because you slip up or have an unguarded moment when your biases show. I think that helped in our case, because the fear of being called a racist is real in our mixed setting, and if someone were to get on their pc high horse such that everyone had to be walking on egg shells around them for fear of saying anything that could being taken the wrong way there can be no real community. Accusations of racism can poison things as much as racism itself, so it is important to save such accusations for the real McCoy, not the latest campus definition.

  www.linkedin.com/in/milton-reed-3a371395     (I'm not sure if he is still with the same company or started his own thing due to Covid, but I would recommend him to any Christian group interested in genuine discussion of these issues apart from a heavy-handed or political agenda)

John_Hannah

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Re: Lutheran school approach to diversity
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2021, 08:35:28 AM »

There are several dynamics in play that hopefully keep things healthy. For one, we have the state voucher program, so there is not a class distinction that leads to a sense to who is footing the bill and who is freeloading. We have parents who are doctors and parents who are basically unemployable and it makes no difference in terms of which side our bread is being buttered on. So that helps. The racial breakdown also doesn't align with the distinctions re: academic ability and/or behavior issues. Our bad students and kings of classroom disruption are an equal opportunity bunch. We get some top African-American students who are high achievers but whose parents want a Christian education for them and we get some who just struggle in school, same with the white kids. Nor does the member/non-member distinction align with healthy, traditional family/non-traditional family. Our church doesn't have nearly enough babies to support a school, but we have a lot of member students who are  in our school because they're being raised by grandparents or other relatives in messed up situations. So of all the possible distinctions, classifications and divisions that affect education, race doesn't come up much.

Last week we had a non-member, African-American man whose kids graduated from our school speak to the faculty. He is a strong Christian who is part of a company that does corporate talks about equity and inclusion, and he agreed to come for free because he loves his St. Paul's family. He did a more or less standard spiel about implicit bias and ways to be aware of how different people interpret different things, but he said the main thing to know is that bias in the sense of a set of expectations about different kinds of people is something everyone unavoidably has. You just have to be willing to be wrong as the evidence unfolds and not hold tightly to your own expectations such that you trap people in them. He also said that an unguarded moment of letting you bias show does not equate to being an "--ist" of any kind. He used the example of taking his family on a plane. A youngish woman introduced herself as the pilot, and his first thought was, "I hope she knows what she's doing." He said he's raised his daughters to know they can be anything and definitely is trained to train others against sexism, but he had to admit he'd have been more comfortable with a middle-aged white guy who "looked the part" piloting the plane. That was his own bias, but it didn't mean he was a sexist or misogynist. So it is with race. You aren't a racist because you slip up or have an unguarded moment when your biases show. I think that helped in our case, because the fear of being called a racist is real in our mixed setting, and if someone were to get on their pc high horse such that everyone had to be walking on egg shells around them for fear of saying anything that could being taken the wrong way there can be no real community. Accusations of racism can poison things as much as racism itself, so it is important to save such accusations for the real McCoy, not the latest campus definition.

  www.linkedin.com/in/milton-reed-3a371395     (I'm not sure if he is still with the same company or started his own thing due to Covid, but I would recommend him to any Christian group interested in genuine discussion of these issues apart from a heavy-handed or political agenda)

This looks very good, Peter. Successful Lutheran schools must be a delicate balance of several forces and factors. You and your faculty appear to have it right.

Peace, JOHN (Pastor of a Lutheran school for eleven years)
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dave Benke

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Re: Lutheran school approach to diversity
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2021, 09:40:42 AM »
A concomitant factor in my experience is whether parents and children from the school constituency join the church and become part of the leadership team in the left-hand side of God's realm of the right.  In some congregations with schools there was little if any of that, and in others there was lots of that.  One of our congregations with a full eight grade school and pre-school would add 25 families a year from school to church.  Other churches/pastors would either say "they're all in other churches already" or because of racial/class differences, indicate "they wouldn't fit it." 

In my own case, we only had/have a two year window to reach the families, so it was/is important to have community event connections and a plan for invitation by member parents or faculty to accompany the families and their children.  Secondly, after membership, we had/have a leadership training component in our own and the District's diaconate.  The leadership team - this was my thought - should look like the school enrollment looks, which is the now and future look of the school and the community and therefore the church.  So over time the school family arrivals became ushers etc etc and eventually deacons and up the line all the way to ordination.  That's a smaller congregation with different dynamics, but in my opinion the effort has to be engaged by pastor and leadership all along the way.

I'll check out the speaker you referenced!

Dave Benke