Your View: Guest Column - Christian school grads fare well in survey

Mar. 06, 2013 @ 04:21 PM

BY RITA C. HAIRE

As an administrator in Christian education, I read with great interest the results of the recent Cardus Education Survey, a comprehensive study of graduates, ages 24-39, of public, religious, and non-religious private schools. Cardus is a public policy think tank, based in North America, and committed to “the renewal of North American social architecture,” conducting independent and original research.
The guiding research question of the Cardus Education Survey was “Is there an alignment between the motivations for Christian education and the outcomes of Christian education — especially in the areas of academic excellence, spiritual formation, and cultural engagement?” In other words, “Do the lifestyles of Christian school graduates reflect the intended outcomes of Christian schools?”
The survey’s executive summary noted:
In contrast to the popular stereotypes portraying Christian schools as promoting a socially fragmented, anti-intellectual, politically radical, and militantly right-winged lifestyle, this comprehensive study reveals a very different picture of the Christian school graduate. … Protestant Christian school graduates are uniquely compliant, generous, outwardly-focused individuals who stabilize their communities by their uncommon commitment to their families, their churches, and larger society (Pennings et al., 2011.5).
What a refreshing portrait of Christian school graduates, supported by statistical data from schools all across North America! The Protestant Christian school graduates gave more of their time and money to their churches and communities, averaging five times more to their churches and seven times more to other religious organizations than any other group. They also volunteered more hours to their churches and their communities. Educators know that in every school we experience varying levels of success and desired outcomes; each individual student must make intentional choices which are shaped by many influences. The data seems to indicate that a Christian school can help shape those choices for the betterment of families and communities. This is truly what we strive for, even if sometimes we miss the mark.
Many families in our area sacrifice in substantial ways to provide Christian education to their children. We are thankful to know that Christian schools on the whole are achieving success in graduating community members and leaders who are impacting their culture in such positive ways.
For a full report, your readers can visit, www.carduseducationsurvey.com.

Rita C. Haire, Ph.D., is principal of High Point Christian Academy.