Parental Involvement in Choice and Charter Schools: Dealing with a Paradigm Shift
God has given parents the primary role in the religious education of their children. The church’s role has always been secondary as a supporting partner. In recent years cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin have started voucher programs which pay for private or parochial education for students who would attend public school without it. The Lutheran Elementary Schools (LES) of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) that participate in this program have a large number of students from outside the WELS. This has forced them to try to find a balance between nurture and outreach to their community which has brought with it a change in that partnership with parents in Christian education. This paper is a resource for congregations who are considering a voucher program as an option for their LES. It will: 1) give biblical and historical evidence that the parent/church partnership is essential to Christian education, 2) provide evidence from secular education and from contemporary Christian education outside the WELS that this partnership is still considered ideal, if not essential, and 3) show how WELS schools that are currently participating in the Milwaukee School Choice Voucher Program are dealing with a paradigm shift in parental involvement that comes when the majority of their students are from outside the WELS.