Please use this website to learn about LifeWise Academy. Use the MAP to find all the locations LifeWise is operating classes and track the progress of LifeWise in your school district. The map will show all school districts with atleast 1 signature on Step 1 through step 10 of LifeWise's 10 step process. School districts with no signatures can be searched for, but will not be shown on the map.

Read the Parents Against Lifewise website
Join the private Facebook group Parents AGAINST Lifewise (group)
Follow the public Facebook page Parents Against Lifewise (page)

 

There are 6 kickoff meetings scheduled. These locations are progressing. Community action is needed to oppose LifeWise. Click here to see all the meetings.


Listen to Joel Penton state public schools are mission fields. That public schools should be abolished. And how a LifeWise "biblical worldview" should be at the heart of everything.

Public Schools Are Not Mission Fields

LifeWise Academy is a "released time religious instruction (RTRI)" program. LifeWise facilitates bible classes for public school students, during the school day. The classes can not be held on school property, the classes can not be paid for using public funds, the parent/guardian must sign up for their child and no core classes can be missed. Schools can not promote or discourage attendance in the program.

The supreme court ruled with Zorach v. Clauson(1952) that RTRI is legal if the guidelines are always followed. Other religions have used this court case to attend religious services or prayer during the school day. LifeWise has changed the spirit of the law and has turned public schools into a mission field for their religious affiliations. The lack of public knowledge about the RTRI and that it has been in use for so long is because the religious institutions that have used it to facilitate keeping their religion in their personal culture, have not used RTRI to evangelize and treat the public schools as mission fields.

LifeWise has created a marketing platform with public schools at the center of the plan. LifeWise Academy uses public records request to get the names, addresses, and ages of students at a school. Then they can market LifeWise to them directly. LifeWise has set up an entire organization for the sole purpose of marketing religion to "unchurched" people. This is a concept unique to sects of religious followers and is not how all religions choose to operate.

LifeWise Academy Will Undermine Parental Authority

LifeWIse Academy has a document called "Difficult Questions From Students". This document is to help LifeWise staff when students ask diffucult questions. One of the topics discusses how to repsond to students whose parents do not follow LifeWise's religious teachings. LifeWise tells staff they should tell children to obey God before their parents. I can't emphasise how dangerous this is to tell children. Students are sent to a school, that is legally required for them to be there, then they are taken to a bible instruction class during that time period, and could be told that when given the choice of obeying God or their parents, they should obey God. Students will make the connection that God is the church or ministry, which is LifeWise. Telling children to not follow their parents authority is wrong.

LifeWise Academy says don't obey your parents

Zorach v. Clauson v. Real World Use

Zorach v. Clauson made RTRI legal. With guidelines. Some of those guidelines are,

Zorach v. Clauson

no announcement of any kind will be made in the public schools relative to the program

Weekly reports of their attendance at such religious schools must be filed with their principal or teacher

Fliers are sent home from schools on a routine basis. Tables are set up in the school's open house. Assemblies have been held at schools for LifeWise. LifeWise students bring materials back to hand out to other students to recruit for LifeWise classes. All of these actions are not a problem with RTRI, but they are a problem with how LifeWise conducts itself.

The Ohio law reguarding RTRI states this about attendance:

Ohio Revised Code 3313.6022

(2) The sponsoring entity maintains attendance records and makes them available to the school district the student attends.

In practice, many schools state they do not track which students attend LifeWise classes. See the responses to several public records requests for attendance totals. Response 1 Response 2 Response 3

Many public schools are not tracking the lost learning hours from students who are attending LifeWise classes. LifeWise is not providing attendance information regularly to the schools. Ohio Administrative Code 3301-18-01 describes how schools must track attendance for performance standards. Section F states that "total aggregate hours includes attendance, excused, and unexcused absences". Section G defines the total number of hours the students were in attendance in the district. LifeWise classes are not held on school property, they are not taught by licensed teachers, and the curriculum is not reviewd or approved by the school board. Section G(2) states "Pupils absent due to personal illness, legal excuse, religious holiday, illness in the home, truancy, or any other reason should not be counted as in attendance." Students attending LifeWise classes are not marked as absent for their student record purposes. Still, the hours can not be counted towards attendance hours for performance standard reports, according to the Ohio Administrative Code. This should impact a school's state report card. I have received verification from Van Wert Schools that they do include the hours students attend LifeWise Academy in the total number of hours students were in attendance in the district. This is a clear violation of the Ohio Administrative Code.

Misuse of School Funds

The outcome of LifeWise is less instructional time for teachers in public schools where LifeWise operates. In Ohio the average cost per year, per student is $14,500. A 50-minute class costs the taxpayers approximately $13.00. LifeWise classes are anywhere from 45-60 minutes. Multiply that by 31 weeks(Missing holidays and some other busy weeks at schools), and you have $403 a year per student. Multiply that by the enrollment at each school and you will have the total amount of money the school budgeted for teaching students that was not utilized by the teachers and the staff of the school.

As a real-world example, Defiance Ohio Elementary School has 841 students who attend LifeWise classes. 841 x $403 = $338,923 spent but not utilized as budgeted. LifeWise claims 35,000 students are now enrolled, mostly in Ohio but a few schools in other states. Let's say 30,000 students multiplied by $403 = $12,090,000 a year being spent but not utilized from the budgets of Ohio schools. Use the calculator to find out how much money your district is or could be wasting.

Teachers who have graduated with degrees, received their licenses, and are continuing their education are now told by LifeWise that the number of hours they will have with students is cut. This is not how public schools can be run. Schools fight to get enough hours with students. Removing a large portion of hours while requiring the same level of learning is not possible. During the 2022-2023 school year Van Wert Elementary School had 29,823 total hours absent by students. This includes excused and unexcused abscenses. When you add in the number of hours missed by students attending LifeWise, 14,500 hours, the total is now 44,373 hours. That is a 48% increase in the number of missed hours in the school district. These hours are not counted against the student being absent, but they are not hours the student was receiving instruction from the school.

Anti LGBTQ+ Policies

LifeWise has compared the process of some kids attending LifeWise and some not, to band, sports, or kids choosing different play areas on the playground. This comparison is wrong because teachers and coaches do not preach that students who do not play football will spend eternity in hell. Play on the swings, you'll be forever safe. Play on the slide, going to hell. There is a critical difference. Disrepsecting family, friends, community members, leaders, anyone who is LGBTQ+ is wrong and hateful.

Preaching these ideas to young children during the school day will show that these ideas are true and are supported by the school district and teachers. The idea that LGBTQ+ people are a sin and the idea that their existence angers someone's god is wrong. Sending children back to schools with these ideas is wrong. Evangelizing children, some of whom already have a religious affiliation is wrong. This is not how missionary projects should work, and public schools are not mission fields, despite what LifeWise employees have said.

LifeWise Academy Supports Conversion Therapy

LifwWise Academy says LGBTQIA+ is a sin and same sex marriage is a sin.

Read the LifeWise Academy official documentation on their policies.

No Transparency of Curriculum

LifeWise has repeatedly denied full access to the curriculum that they teach. LifeWise will say the curriculum is copyrighted as the reason it can not be shown. It is true LifeWise pays for access to the curriculum and do not own it. But that does not mean it cannot be shared. Libraries are filled with copyrighted material that everyone can read and has access to. They have chosen to allow parents and members of the public to not see their curriculum. There are guidelines in the Ohio Revised Code that allow high school students to receive credit hours for religious classes. To do so, the syllabus and course materials need to be reviewed by the school board. There is no requirement for grades K-8. Students are being released from school, taking a class that the school board can not review, and the school district and students receive full credit for the learning hours. Even though the school district did not provide any instruction and has no review or input on the course material.

Incentivised Recruitment

LifeWise uses peer pressure and the message that a vast majority of parents, students and the community is behind LifeWise. They will claim participation numbers of 90%-95% in their established schools. One of those schools is Defiance Ohio Elementary. They claim more than 90% enrollment. It's actually 80%. They have 1,044 students in the school and 841 attend LifeWise. 20% of the students do not. There are people who do not support them. It is not a program that is supported by everyone with only a few people speaking out about its negative issues. Excerpt from the official Lifewise manual on boosting enrollment


Lifewise Program Director describing his plan to bribes students.

LifeWise uses incentives to increase enrollment into their program. These can include popcorn, pizza, candy, ice cream, etc. Many children have food insecurities and using food as an incentive is wrong. The LifeWise program is being offered in line with the school's regular classes give the appearance that the program is endorsed by school staff, including the student's teachers. Spiritual beliefs are a very personal choice for a family and child. Having a single religion appear as endorsed by teachers and other adults who are considered safe spaces for children will create confusion for students of opposing spirituality. LifeWise communicates that anyone who does not follow the guidelines they have taught is going to hell. Their students come back with this message and will think anyone who has a different spiritual belief needs to be saved. It's incredibly self centered and rude to assume anyone who worships Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and others needs to be converted. These areas have been left for families to choose. If you want your child to grow up with a specific religious view in education, there are options available.