According to a new study, private religious schools perform better than both public schools and public charter schools. William Jeynes, professor of education at California State University at Long Beach and senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton, told the Christian Post that he found religious, mostly Christian, school students were a full year ahead of students who attend public and charter schools.
Could the results be due to religious school parents being move involved in their child’s lives? Jeynes controlled for this “selection effect” and still found that religious schools perform better. He controlled for other variables too, such as socioeconomic status, gender and race, and found that students at religious schools still have a seven to eight month advantage over students at public and charter schools. According to the Christian Post:
Jeynes found that there were several reasons that religious schools do better. At religious schools, the students are encouraged to take difficult courses much more frequently and they have a “can do attitude,” Jeynes explained, epitomized by the saying, “God doesn’t make junk.” Religious schools place higher expectations upon their students and send the message that they have the ability to go to college.
Jeynes also found a greater reduction in the class and race based “achievement gaps.” Poor students and black and Latino students perform worse, on average, than students from middle-income, or higher, families, and white and Asian students. This achievement gap is lower in religious schools.
The study is further vindication that programs in which teachers are treated as imparters of truth are superior to those in which they are merely facilitators of a state-approved curricula. It also shows why Americans who care about education should support educational choice. All children, even those whose parents don’t have the financial means, deserve a quality education—and not just an education in secularism.