Students in religious schools far more tolerant than those in public districts

 April 29, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Leftists often argue against the acceptance – even the existence – of religious schools. They charge that lessons that are accompanied by faith ideals make students narrow-minded and intolerant.

But a new study shows that particular belief is simply backward, and it is students of those religious institutions who exhibit more understanding, more comprehension, and more tolerance.

A new report published in the Federalist cites the study which bluntly, states, "Religious private schooling, particularly, is strongly associated with positive civic outcomes. The evidence is especially strong that private schooling is correlated with higher levels of political tolerance and political knowledge and skills."

The Federalist noted the work by researchers at the University of Arkansas and the University of Buckingham reviewed 57 international studies and found "religious schools are far more effective at teaching children to become engaged citizens than secular public schools – resulting in students who model political tolerant, knowledge, and skills better than their publicly educated peers."

The Federalist noted the researchers confirmed those students getting a "private, faith-based education" increased political tolerance and knowledge by 12% of a standard deviation.

Also higher were volunteering and community engagement, "all positive traits for a healthy society."

The report pointed out that's not good news for "the leftist leaders of teachers unions, such as the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), who have preached the company line that private religious schools produce the exact opposite of what this study proves, claiming such schools promote bigotry and intolerance."

Patrick J. Wolf, professor of education policy at Arkansas, summarized the results: "We should care about these findings because free countries establish public school systems for the express purpose of preparing their young citizens for the responsibilities of self-government. Some people (such as the NEA and AFT) oppose private school choice policies because they claim private schooling is privatizing and undermines civic outcomes, especially if the private schools are religious.

"Students don’t have to choose between God and country. They can enthusiastically support both."

The Federalist report, however, noted that the public education industry in America largely "has kicked God and the teaching of virtue out" and ignored teaching "civics."

The report explained, "Jonathan Zimmerman, a self-described liberal professor of history of education at the University of Pennsylvania, states: 'This study … suggests religious schools promote more tolerance of differences than secular institutions do. As religious affiliation and practice decline, Americans have increasingly turned to politics for identity and meaning. But the churches of red and blue don’t teach us to love our neighbors.'"

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