Posts Tagged ‘Agriculture’

Troubling News

March 15th, 2022

Everyone knows that parochial school enrollment is declining. Does closing a school that is in decline make sense?

There is a highly influential group that believes that closing declining schools makes sense. Their justification is that the struggling school is a financial drain on everyone involved. Closing the Christian school will prevent further losses.

The logic is sound but is it reasonable?

In many cases, it is based on the point of view expressed by this quote from a New Jersey newspaper article

No easy answers to falling Catholic school numbers(newjersey.com)

“The reasons for the decline, both nationally and locally, are numerous. Families are smaller, tuition is higher and public, charter, and magnet schools are more popular than ever.”

That point of view blames someone else for the problem. In your experience, is that reasonable? How often are you allowed to blame others for your troubles?

My grandfather was a blacksmith in the early 1900s. What if my grandfather had one day said to the family, “There is a decline in the use of horses, the cost of maintaining a horse is going up, people are turning to cars and trucks for transportation. I can’t make as much money or work as many hours as I use to. We have to put one of the children up for adoption.”

The number of people who would have supported his approach to family finances are few and far between. Most of us would have told him to get a second job, change careers, or improve the quality of his service so that he was the blacksmith of choice for the area. In other words, do something to increase his value to society so that he could make the money his family needed.

GM spent years with declining sales while other car companies had increasing sales (Toyota for example). Today, GM has increasing sales. They have managed to increase their sales during hard economic times when they were unable to increase sales during the best of times. With increasing sales, GM is increasing its sustainability. The secret to GM’s success is that today GM makes cars people want to buy.

A common adage in the teaching profession is, “If the student fails to learn the way you teach, teach the way the student learns.” Should the adage for the school administration and board be, “If the families fail to value what the school offers, offer what the families value”?

The common message in the three preceding examples is that the business model must change.

Hopefully, the preceding makes the case that closing a school is unreasonable and unnecessary. If that is true, what is the right thing to do when enrollment declines? The simple answer is change the business model, but what are the changes?

If we can believe what we read in the press, very few people are happy with public schools. Apparently, they send their children to public schools because it is the best value for the money, even though they are disappointed with the value.

That implies with careful analysis one can determine what value people are looking for but failing to find. If so, it should be easy to change the programming and attract more students. Of course, because there is tuition, it will be necessary to ensure the value of the changes justifies the tuition.