My father used to work for a company that manufactured RV’s. Gleaming new units were sent off the factory floor on their way to a lifetime of use with customers all over North America. During his time there he watched with interest as the company refined their product by reviewing how decades later customers found the vehicle to be everthing from exceptional to disappointing in the areas of design, function, reliability, cost efficiency, and drivability. Year after year, things were affirmed as good choices or rejected as bad design.
There is a parallel for us in education. Part of my Thanksgiving break had me digging a little deeper into the results of the 2016 Cardus Education Survey data. (See their good work at https://www.cardus.ca/research/education)This initiative is the second (first in 2012) aimed to use credible public-sector research methods to compare how coast-to-coast graduates of independent religious schools differ from their peers when they reach the ages of 24-39. It’s a very lengthy document (here if interested); here are some highlights for you:
· …show no difference with public school graduates in being fully employed, but a greater likelihood of being in managerial or professional roles. Educational attainment after high school indistinct from public school.
· …are more likely to be married, but just as likely to be divorced or cohabitate; increased likelihood of eating, praying, and reading the Bible together as a family; less interested in creativity for their work; just as inclined to look for work that fulfils a religious calling as public school graduates; social ties just as diverse as those of public school graduates.
· …are as trusting and confident in society and its institutions as public school graduates; they trust religion to a significantly greater degree yet are no less likely to see society as hostile to their values.
· …are part of a school sector significantly more likely to form graduates who attend church, observe religious disciplines, and strengthen their relationship with God than public school graduates.
· …are much more likely than public school graduates to donate money and to go on relief and mission trips.
· ….are equally engaged in public life as their public school peers; more likely to volunteer in non-congregational organizations.
· …have more exposure to STEM courses than public school graduates; less likely to believe technology and science will produce opportunities in the future.
· ...have a significantly more positive view of their secondary education than public school graduates; believe that they were prepared for life after high school to a greater degree than the public school graduates.
This is an enormous study and isn’t specifically measuring LCES. It is, however, food for thought as we do the important work of nurturing God’s children every day. SJ