Last September, a group of sociologists at some of the leading universities around the U.S. and Canada authored a ground-breaking study entitled the “Cardus Education Survey” which studied the attitudes and life decisions of young adults ages 24 to 39 (so at least 6 years after high school graduation), and they were chosen at random, which is important to accurate results. The study compared graduates of public schools, home schools, non-religious private schools, Catholic schools, and Protestant Christian schools.
According to the Cardus Education Survey, here is the purpose:
• To determine the alignment between the stated motivations
and actual outcomes of Christian schooling
• Setting a benchmark for further study of Christian
• Provide information to help
– Parents make choices
– School leaders make improvements
– Donors assess the return on their investments
– Policy-makers improve educational outcomes
The study found “Protestant Christian school graduates …[are]…uniquely compliant, generous individuals who stabilize their communities by their uncommon and distinctive commitment to their families, their churches, and their communities, and by their unique hope and optimism about their lives and the future…Protestant Christian school graduates are committed to progress in their communities even while they feel outside of the cultural mainstream. In many ways, the average Protestant Christian school graduate is a foundational member of society.” (emphasis mine)
So, if your Christian school is using some sort of claim or phrase that it aims to “Transform our society”, or “Impact the world for Christ”, it seems you are correct, what you are doing is working. I would suggest anyone involved in Christian education read this survey. http://www.cardus.ca/research/education/ You can download a free .pdf from their web site.
On the other hand…
The survey did report something my Wife and I are finding true while we are preparing for our Daughter to enter college. (She will be entering her senior year at a Christian school in our home town next week). The survey stated: “Protestant Christian schools, conversely, are providing a place where students become distinct in their commitment to faith, but are not advancing to higher education any more than their public school peers.” Many would think it is OK that Christian schools are preparing their students for college equally with government schools, but come on folks, I think God is disappointed, and requires better! Christian school administrators, what can you do about this?
The Barna Group has done research in this area and has found that the majority of Christian students will turn away from their faith while in college. Christian schools are not preparing their Christian students for the attacks on their faith that most colleges and universities blind side them with. It really hit home with me while listening to a recent Todd Friel episode of Wretched Radio where he talked about (and gave examples of) how many colleges and universities begin brainwashing biblical truth out of students even during freshman orientation. A conversation last month with my Nephew (a Christian), who recently graduated from Colorado State University, also was enlightening when he told me “I have learned many things in college that disprove the theory of creationism”. I have even heard horror stories of this type of shenanigans going on at Christian colleges, where I would bet the enemy is working very hard at thwarting and undermining God’s Truth.
Christian schools and home schools have got to realize this and devote efforts to mitigate this onslaught of worldly error with the Truth. One suggestion I have is to visit www.trueu.org. Possibly go through their materials with your senior class (looks like they have a DVD series). Another suggestion of course is to purposefully include the Bible in every subject, as so many of my posts on this site expound. God is honored and glorified when Christian students become Christian “Foundational Members of Society”. Please, be obedient to make sure that occurs!
I would welcome your thoughts and other ideas of how to better prepare Christian students for secular college (and maybe even Christian college too!). Let me know your thoughts on the Cardus Education Survey as well.