Why spend money sending your child to a private "Christian" school when public and charter (also public) schools are free? Part 1
This is a big question surrounding many of today's families. In a cultural climate where academic competition and moral decay are both on the rise at alarming rates, what value does the financial sacrifice hold for a private Christian education? Fortunately, valuable research can shed a little light on this question and helps to identify the priorities of families considering cost-based education for their children.
A common factor, shared by practically all parents, is the priority of a better learning environment. According to research conducted by The Friedman Foundation, parents’ primary focus in selecting a school for their children include a “better education”, “smaller class sizes”, and “more individual attention” (CAPE, 2013, v. 390). Additionally, Fordham Institute research found that parents of Christian schooled children share the same top four concerns held by parents of public school children. Those concerns are 1) "good study habits and self-discipline," 2) developing "strong critical thinking" skills, 3) learning "strong verbal and written communication skills," and 4) a "strong core curriculum in reading and mathematics" (CSE, 2013, p. 34). These four concerns are the foundational priorities in terms of what parents expect in a solid, well-rounded, and effective academic program.
There are no differences in expectations in regard to academic performance for "Christian" schools than any other school. In fact, in the vast majority of cases, Christian schools outperform their public counterparts. William Jeynes, professor of education at California State University at Long Beach and senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute at Princeton, found that “found that religious, mostly Christian, school students were a full year ahead of students who attend public and charter schools”, citing little difference in achievement between the latter two. Jeynes utilized grade point averages and standardized test scores to compare achievement across schools. He also extended his research into WHY students are performing better in Christian schools.
Jeynes accredits a number of factors for WHY students in Christian schools outperform students in public and charter schools, on average. For one, he attributes higher expectations for holding students to a higher capacity for achievement, with a college-going mindset as the status-quo. Although “achievement gaps” exist in all schools, Jeynes discovered a lower occurrence of “achievement gaps” in Christian schools, particularly among lower socioeconomic level students. One difference he cited, which may contribute to the differences between Christian and public/charter schools is that in Christian schools teachers are seen “as the one who imparts truth, whereas public schools are more likely to view the teacher as facilitator.” "I'm in favor of classroom flexibility ... [but] classroom flexibility is associated with somewhat lower academic achievement,” Jaynes said. Additionally, he cited similar benefits to achievement that both the Friedman and Fordham research found, smaller class sizes and increased attention to student needs.
This is not the only area in which Jeynes discovered differences that likely contribute to higher achievement in Christian schools. “School culture”, or what Jaynes refers to as “social capital” are certainly influencing achievement. He concluded that racial harmony, respect for others, and better behavior are all contributing factors to achievement. Jeynes relates a connection between the overall “school culture” and biblical Truth.
So WHY PAY for a private Christian education?
The evidence is real at Ocean View Christian Academy. At OVCA your child will benefit through more hands on attention from teachers and staff. Your child will experience an environment where learning is guided by biblical Truth as the central source for all knowledge and understanding. Your child will enjoy a school culture in which every person is valued and encouraged to respect others out of a love for God and His creation.
To schedule a tour of our campus, feel free to contact us at 619-424.7875.
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