Over the past 10 years, I’ve visited hundreds of schools, and keep hearing the same things, which are reinforced by the daily newscasts: gas prices keep rising, causing food prices to rise, while at the same time we seek alternative energy sources, and the research involved is expensive; five yeas ago the stock market was over 15,000 and today it hovers around 25,000, but that’s little consolation to those that lost their pensions in the stock market collapse in 2008 and now don’t have funds to reinvest. Student loans to college students continue to be a source of contention, too, as it’s now the second-largest segment of debt in America, totaling over 1.5 Trillion dollars as of last month (mortgage debt is 8.8 Trillion dollars). Ten years ago, the Federal Student Loan Program was taken over by the U.S. Government, and Congress now sets the rather than individual lenders. So with all these issues, and many more that impact a family’s ability to pay for the PK-12 educational experience, the question heard most often is, “How do you expect parents to pay for their child’s tuition?”
Let’s look at three things:
1) Pray. It still amazes me so many faith-based schools don’t start meetings with prayer.
2) It further amazes me that the meeting will develop some proven solutions to the school’s concerns, yet administrators may not want to embark on that path to recovery. “After all,” they say, “We’re different!” So then all those things that you told me in the first paragraph are different from every other parent community out there?
3) Before looking at the bottom line, let’s look at the lines of Scripture, and see what our faith calls us to be.
Jesus tells us “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn 14:27); St. Paul tells us, “If God is for us, who can stand against us?” (Rom 8:31); or my favorite, “With God, all things are possible” (Mt 19:26). Remember that as change occurs, we can either let it affect us positively or negatively. Perhaps it might help to remember that CHANGE is:
This mindset will prepare us for the time when a parent knows someone who can help with a need for the school, and it turns out that the person the parent knows has been thinking about contributing to the school. If we’re not expecting something like that, the action can catch us off guard so that we won’t know how to react. But if we’re prepared, we’ll respond appropriately and professionally.
Since change is an essential part of growth, CHANGE can also stand for:
If we stop growing, we die. Sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally. Back in 2005, “Fast Company” Magazine had a cover article titled “Change or Die.” It cited research which said our odds are 1 in 9 that we will change our habits, even if it was inevitable that if we did not change, we would die. If you’d like to read it, visit http://www.fastcompany.com/52717/change-or-die. Truthfully, this was one of those “aha” moments for me, and began me along the path to begin to shape “SchoolAdvancement.com,” and made me realize that information really doesn’t make me want to change. Compelling and emotionally-charged stories, however, bring life to the information. Emotion is what causes change, and, for us educators, we’re more cognizant of the cognitive than of the affective domain. Getting learners to achieve to their potential isn’t about studying more, nor is it about more testing. It’s about making the learning emotionally, and not just logically, engaging and relevant.
When we have a mindset of CHANGE relative to expectations, emotions kick in. We can be afraid of it, or excited about it. The cognitive enters the equation when we decide which path we’re going to follow. Such a mindset also gets us ready for that event which will occur when none of us expects it to, and we come face to face with our creator. And THAT should be a great expectation!
© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2008-2018 (Original Publication Date: 20080728)