The Importance of Admission Policies
by Roy W. Lowrie, Jr.
The Christian Teacher (1961)
The students admitted to your school are the major factor determining the academic level and general tone of the school. A school can be established to meet the educational needs of any type of student – gifted, average, retarded; well balanced, or emotionally disturbed.
It is wise to determine which students your school is equipped to educate. Christian schools sometimes create severe problems because they have not defined their own school standards. Thus admissions policies have not been established. Each new admissions committee or each new principal is allowed to decide what type of students will be admitted. When these men have different standards for admissions, in a few years, the faculty is faced with an impossible educational problem because of the great range of intelligence, achievement, and emotional stability within the classroom.
The required range of intelligence, achievement, and emotional stability should be determined by the local school and admissions policies established to admit only students who are within that range. Our schools cannot do everything. It is not wrong to admit that we cannot meet the educational needs of all children – even the needs of all children of Christian parents. The fact that we are Christian does not solve all of the deep educational problems of atypical children. Are we morally right before God and parents when we admit students which our school is not honestly prepared to educate? Is a dermatologist wrong if he refuses to do eye surgery? Even if he is a Christian?
Academic screening of prospective students can be done by testing intelligence, reading achievement, and arithmetics achievement. Compare the scores with the similar test scores of students now in your school. You can tell quickly whether or not the prospective student would be successful in your school. Be cautious in admitting the rush enrollment. (There are often problems here.)
Admissions policies are related to the financing of the school. Some school boards feel that any student should be accepted so that more tuition money will be available to pay the bills. This procedure may produce a gradual change in the school which should be watched carefully and arrested. This change comes when the following conditions are present: (1) Tuition money does not finance the total budget. (2) Most gift money comes from parents of the students. (3) The school enrolls an influx of problem students whose parents are not vitally burdened for Christian education. (4) The parents of the problem children do not support the school beyond tuition.
These conditions put parents who are burdened for Christian education into a difficult position. They must give more financially because disinterested parents usually do not pray or share in the financial burden. Also, the influx of problem children has increased the range of intelligence, achievement, and emotional stability to the place where the teacher simply can’t cope with it effectively in the classroom.
The sincere parent slowly realizes that he endorses the objectives of Christian education advertised by the school, but in reality these objectives are not being achieved in the classroom because of the classroom problems.
When these sincere but disappointed parents withdraw their children from the school, the word travels quickly among other Christians. The school gets a poor reputation and other sincere Christians will not enroll their children in such a school.
Faced by a financial problem because of withdrawals, the board opens the school to all comers. Those students and parents who come are different from the original students and parents. The school has gone through a complete revolution and is now something that was not at all intended when it started.
God raises up many kinds of Christian schools. Before Him, determine what kind of school yours should be and set definite admissions policies to reach your objectives.
Last updated by Lisa Lanpher Feb 19, 2013.