Neil, thanks for your thoughtful reply.
Give your comments, I'd like to extend the discussion, just because I think it's valuable to think through our approach (and I wasn't trained in seminary, so I really need to think through these things!)
I definitely agree with you about how we teach stories. It IS important that the stories have room to speak for themselves. I would never say that we're teaching to a checklist of beliefs. I more raise this question for interpretation--every church interprets stories. So are we honest about the bias from which we are interpret stories? Are we communicating with our kids about what our lens for interpretation is? And second, while I wouldn't want to teach to a checklist, I DO think we need some kind of "goalposts" (for lack of a better word). What if the kids get through six years of rotation and never learn about different prayer practices they can do? What if they get through six years and never have a session on generosity? I see what you mean about choosing scope and sequence carefully, but my experience is that one person chooses scope and sequence and then the coordinator leaves and another coordinator comes in and suddenly your institutional memory is lost. How do we make sure that we leave behind us some other, more definitive set of goals for learning than a six-year scope of stories? How do we make sure that new coordinators don't just teach the good idea of the month?
I also acknowledge your greater experience in curriculum design/publishing. Certainly the publisher bias is to make money...hence the problems you expounded above. I'm coming at it more from an education background that looks at how a good lesson plan/year plan is constructed with goals, learning objectives, etc. (which your writing team writers certainly have...and I appreciate very much). I guess my rant here is more to encourage people to use WoRM thoughtfully, intentionally, to not jump into it thinking "this is the model that will save your Sunday School problem!" You're right...if churches aren't approaching their programs thoughtfully then no matter what curriculum they choose, they're in for a disappointment.