Thursday, 1 November 2018

Post 236--Private Schools and Public Schools Are Complementary

Beth Green wrote this article about  Private and Public Schools being complementary, not against each other. She should know, for she is engaged in deep professional research on the topic under the umbrella of the Christian Canadian think tank Cardus. Her title says it clearly: "Private schools form and important part of BC's school system" (Vancouver Sun, October 26, 2018, p. G3).

She offers her opinion in view of the unrelenting opposition to private schools in the province. It is like everything else many of our secular neighbours talk about: If it's Christian and/or independent in education, they will have little truck with it.  That, at least, is the case with 39% of the province's population--hardly a majority. I was, in fact, surprised to read this statistic. It's not as bad as I thought. I think it's a case of the loud minority vs a silent majority.  Canadian Christians tend to be a quietist lot, something that annoys me to no end. I've noticed that throughout the 43 years of my adult life that I've been abroad.

Well, Beth's article makes for worthwhile reading. So, go for it and enjoy--and do a rethink if you're among that loud minority. Here goes.....

Pacific Academy is an independent Christian school in Surrey. JASON PAYNE JASON PAYNE / VANCOUVER SUN
It’s about time we recognized a simple fact about B.C. education. The province’s independent schools are a positive complement to public schools.
While not identical in their methods or environments, both help to achieve the common good purpose of educating the public. And new research is now establishing how independent schools contribute to educating the whole person, not just academically but socially.
We can now confidently say that B.C.’s independent school graduates cultivate diverse social ties, are active and engaged members of their communities, are committed to the well-being of their neighbours and are ready to give of both time and resources. And, as a bonus, they generally look back on their high school days positively. It so happens they also feel more strongly than public school grads do that they’re prepared to face real life.
This more complete look at provincial school outcomes comes thanks to the newly published B.C. findings of the 2018 Cardus Education Survey. It compares B.C.’s public school graduates to grads from Catholic, Evangelical Protestant and non-religious independent schools. Controlling for things like family background and income, we’re able to isolate the effect that schools have on students. The results are telling.
Take civic engagement. Many Canadians worry about the loss of civility in our culture, the decline in how welcoming our country is and a drop in charitable giving. There’s evidence that B.C. independent schools are helping to counteract those negative trends.
B.C.’s Protestant schools seem to shine in developing students who grow to be generous adults. Of all grads in B.C., they’re most likely to donate money to help others.
Non-religious independent schools, meanwhile, produce graduates who are 2.2 times more likely than public-school grads to volunteer. That’s a strong sign of social engagement. Religious independent school grads also display diverse social ties.
Evangelical Protestant school graduates are just as likely as public-school grads to have a friend who is gay or lesbian, a recent immigrant, of a different race, a co-worker, has a university degree, makes more than $100,000 annually, or makes less than $25,000 annually. Catholic independent school grads are almost identical to the evangelicals in this area.
B.C. independent schools don’t just help shape student character. They also help in other, more pragmatic, ways.
Non-religious and Catholic independent schools seem to excel in preparing graduates for careers. Their graduates reported average incomes up to $16,000 higher than public or evangelical Protestant grads. The non-religious and Catholic independent school grads were also more likely to attend university or a graduate program. Evangelical Protestant and public school grads were tied on that score.
And B.C. independent schools of all types seem to be doing well in preparing students for “real life.” Survey respondents (all of whom are aged 24 to 39) rated their former high schools on how those institutions prepared them for things like work, post-secondary school, and religious life. Now at least six years out of high school, those who graduated from an independent school felt more strongly than their public-school counterparts that their school had prepared them well.
The findings are clear. Independent schools are a productive and positive part of the B.C. education system, educating more than one in 10 students. Independent enrolment continues to grow, providing the province with a cost-effective means of meeting a diverse set of schooling needs. So, it’s not surprising that 61 per cent of British Columbians said in 2017 that they supported full or partial government funding for religious schools.
B.C.’s independent and public schools are complementary parts of one education system. They can and should learn from each other. The sooner we recognize this, the better the province will be able to improve education for everybody.

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