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What Type of School Did You Attend?

What Type of School Did You Attend? September 2, 2011

This post is from Helen Lee, author of the very fine book The Missional Mom: Living with Purpose at Home & in the World, and I hope you can read her book. Christianity Today recently sketched some conclusions of the Cardus Report that examined the results of Christian schools — Protestant and Catholic and homeschools. That report had some surprising results, and so Helen is going to help the Jesus Creed blog community think through some of that report, beginning today … but expect several posts in the future.

What type of school did you attend? And did it matter?

When it comes to education, I’ve experienced the gamut: I’m a product of public schools, two private non-religious colleges, and also a private Christian college. (I’ve always loved being in school!)

My kids, similarly, have been nurtured in a variety of settings, starting with private Christian preschools, then public elementary schools, and now they are being homeschooled. And like many parents, I sometimes wonder how much their educational context will ultimately shape them. How much will the choices my husband and I make in this area affect their future path?

If those are questions that interest you, take a look at the recently released Cardus Educational Survey, which surveyed about 3,000 graduates from a variety of school contexts (public school, private Catholic, private Protestant, private non-religious, and homeschooled) and attempted to determine the effect of high school context on a graduate’s future behaviors and beliefs.

In particular the report is trying to address the question of whether Christian private education is fulfilling the goals it has set out to accomplish–and whether those are the right goals to begin with.

Now, you can do as I initially did and comb through the report and the data, poke holes at the research process and data collection, then second-guess or affirm particular results depending on your own particular biases and previous experiences.

But I am no expert in any of these particular educational contexts, even if I have lived in and through a good number of them myself. So I wondered, how would educators and administrators from each of these groups respond to the report? What would they question and what would they affirm? I know I’ll find it useful to hear from professionals in the field with direct experience and knowledge of the issues and topics highlighted in the report, and I hope you feel the same.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing educators from these categories of schools and getting their feedback on the report, as well as discussing the current state and future trends in these particular school settings. And ultimately, we’ll want to affirm that which is special and unique about each educational context, while raising questions about that which can be improved in each setting.

So, feel free to read the report and comment below about your own educational experiences. I’d love to know what type of school you attended before college, and how did attending that school impact your 1) spiritual formation, 2) academic accomplishments, and 3) cultural engagement?

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