Friday, January 6, 2012

Do Religious Schools Give Better Educations?

I recently read a post last night or the other night, about how more and more religious colleges have to lower their tuition to draw in more students or close. 

While I enjoyed the article, it was the comments that gave me pause. Some of the people commented that they wouldn't hire someone simply because they came from a relioious school. Another type of comments sparked the question, do religious schools (or another one, private vs public as most religious schools are private) give you a better education than non-religious?

Religious, private = better education?
 In my opinion, without doing any actual research to influence my opinion, 1) private schools do give you a better higher education and 2) religious schools do seem to be better. My reason is that (while this is somewhat unfair) the public, non-religious school I went to in elementary was far behind the elementary private, religious school I went to when I moved. When I was in fifth grade my teacher told us that we wouldn't be learning about exponents until ninth grade. 

But when I went to the private school, the fourth graders were already starting to learn about it. And math wasn't just it, in all of the other areas they were more advanced. While the rest of my classmates knew cursive by sixth grade, having been taught it since third grade, I only learned three letters in cursive in third grade and never knew the rest until sixth grade. I had to do some extra work to get up to where they were. 

Granted, the public school I went to was in a state that's known for its not-so-great educational system, and the one I'm in now has a higher level, but I thought it was still so shocking. The extra-level classes my brother took at the public school, designed for those for those who were smarter than us average kids, were no more difficult than the regular lessons at the private school. 

Now onto the research! Having spent time doing some research, I've found what I was expecting. Religious education isn't really any better than secular, since it depends on the person's background and if they're committed to learning as much as they can. (Okay, its an opinion, but it gets the same point across). From this article:
 I think this topic really demonstrates the fact that everyone is different, which causes people to make different decisions.  For this reason, all students should learn to respect other people’s religions and understand them in a multicultural, educational environment.
Although several articles state that those who go to a religious school are less likely to cheat on a test or do drugs. Namely because the religious school may give them higher morals or get them things to do other than doing bad stuff. Like this one:
On the other hand, Guttmann (1984) found that children who attended religious schools had higher levels of moral reasoning and more resistance to cheat on a paper-and-pencil test than children who attended secular schools.  In addition, Donaldson et. al (1995) found that students attending public schools experienced an inefficient strategy, a resistance training only condition, for preventing the onset of alcohol use compared to students in private catholic schools. 
 But they also pointed out that a secular school may give them the same opportunities to do other things, just different from a religious school. (From Religion and Higher Education: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)
 Religious participation and personal religiosity can help lower rates of substance abuse, and limit activities that undermine college careers (Regnerus 2000).
While we should applaud organizations which provide a positive influence on students, it is notable that other types of extra-curricular activities can have similar positive effects (Pascarella et al, 2004)
Reading an article about how religous schools are drawing Chinese students to them, it states that:
Guan Yuntian, a 15-year-old from Beijing, was interviewed by three schools, including Northland.
“Religious school is fine for me,” she said. “The school will be better disciplined than other schools,” and the tuition lower. “It’s not bad to have a religion as it may help me to be stronger.”
Zhang Shaoxuan, the father of another girl at the fair, would gladly send her to a Christian school, he said.
“Both religious school and private schools are fine, the public schools are what you don’t want to be in,” he said. “Because there will be all kinds of odd students there.”
“Relying on recruiters who do not emphasize their schools’ religious focus, Chinese parents perceive these schools as ’safe’ and ‘family-oriented’ places where their children will get a typical American experience,” she said in an e-mail.
Of course, you'll find that all schools can be just as dangerous as other ones and you'll find odd people no matter where you go. You may just find a smaller number at certain schools depending on background, the areas from which the students come from, the cost, and other factors. But I do agree that religious schools tend to be stricter. Although due to some bomb threats and other issues, one of my friend's public, secular school seems to be much stricter than mine. Religious schools also tend to be smaller since the tuition may be higher and well, its a religious school. 

 One article pointed out that the downsides of religious schools may be:
For example, there is discrimination, different ways of teaching, and lack of multicultural awareness. 
Although in my religious, private school, we get a large viewpoint of different cultures. We have a religious class that examines different religions, our world history class examines different cultures and viewpoints greedily, and several of our students are not Christian or are not Lutheran (its a Lutheran school).  

Another point was made that some religious schools tend to be more choosy on who they let in. My school is one of the highest ranking schools in my state and  a college prep school so we're suppose to be harder than other schools. We also don't let in mentally-handicap people, while we have nothing against them, we just don't have classes or programs for them. 

But I'm getting off topic, way off, and so I'm come to the conclusion that just because the school is religious and private does not make it any better than other schools. It all depends on so many factors. 

Next week I shall discuss if secular colleges vs religious colleges really do effect your chances of getting hired or if that is merely the opinions of anti-religious peoples. 

Want cheaper tuition? Find religion
Religion and Higher Education: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Religion in Schools: The Negative.
Faith Schools- Why Not? (Okay so I didn't really use this article but it kinda pertains to the topic).
Are Religious Schools bad for Society?
Chinese Atheists Lured to Find Jesus at U.S. Christian Schools

So what do you think?



  1. I agree with you. I went to a tiny Catholic school from the time I was in kindergarten all the way through eighth grade.

    And no, we weren't taught by nuns. :) I tend to have to clarify that more often than I'd like.

    Yes, the classes were harder than public school classes. More was simply expected of us. Instead of having to earn a 90%, for example, at the public school, we had to earn a 95%. Stuff like that.

    The quote that you posted that really got me was this one: "For example, there is discrimination, different ways of teaching, and lack of multicultural awareness."

    There was no discrimination at my school. Okay, so my whole class was "white", but that had nothing to do with discrimination. And we spent a lot of time learning about other cultures.

    But many cases, private schools allow you to do more than public schools. For example, in eighth grade I went to Mexico and stayed with a family that spoke little English. Stuff like that.

    I do agree with you, that public and private schools both have advantages and disadvantages. I think it all depends on each individual school, really.

  2. About your comments before research....
    I went to public, still go, and I learned exponents in 6th grade and cursive in 3rd-5th grade. So my public schools were still at a faster pace than yours.

  3. Annie: Lol. I can understand why people would think that. The two Lutheran schools I've gone too, they all expected more of us too than the public schools do of my friends who go to public.

    And I disagree with the quote about discrimination too. But I thought I should post it to get a um, "wider" view of the subject. Pros and cons. Anyways, there's no discrimination in my school too. We have four international students, I think all of them aren't Christian, and we have two or four non-white kids. And we'll all okay with it.

    Fun! My school has mission trips once a year to Mexico to build homes and our choir/band trips go to tons of different places. And we have tons of cool speakers. During testing days, the seniors get to do volunteer work around town.

    Jessika: Your public schools sound better than the ones around here and the one I went to! I think the one I went too, it had to lower the expected stuff you had to learn because so many of the kids either didn't care or weren't exactly the smartest students (to put it nicely).

  4. Religious schools in the UK tend to be quite good, especially the Catholic ones. But that is because they get funded by the government and the church.

    Discipline in these schools is great but there is a real lack of diversity that worries me. I went to a school where I was in the minority and the racist bullying I went through was not pleasant. However, it wasn't a religious school. But the demographics of the school were very similar to those of faith schools.

    I wouldn't send my [future] children to a faith school though. My personal belief is that faith and politics should not interfere with education. I am religious though.

    I'll do my best to send my [future] children to a private non-faith school though.

  5. They bullied you? That's not good, I think its wonderful when we get students from other places, countries, and races because it adds more to the school. It makes it more interesting.

    I understand that. Personally, being religious, I enjoy going to a religious school but I don't think I'll go to a religious college. Mostly because I want to meet other people who aren't exactly like me.

    My cousin goes to a religious college and even there, one of her professors has their weird evolution-creation belief. So I kinda think you're going to find stuff like that no matter what college you go too...


Any comments with profanity or comments that are hurtful/ mean will be removed. We appreciate hearing your thoughts. Remember, if you wouldn't say it to someone's face please do not say it on the internet.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...