by Monte Sahlin
From a News Release, June 30, 2014
A new book presents an analysis of the American education system with evidence that if more children from low-income families were enrolled in church schools, that would be the most effective route to improving their education and opening opportunities to them.
The book is entitled School Choice a Balanced Approach and was written by Dr. William Jeynes, a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. He believes that the public school monopoly is stifling the potential of American students. He claims that the monopoly is exacerbating the achievement gap, lowering achievement, and has a drag on the U.S. economy.
Jeynes presents the following evidence:
1. A meta-analysis indicating students at charter schools do no better academically than their counterparts in traditional public schools. On this basis, Jeynes asserts that public school choice is not enough to resolve the nation's educational woes. School choice needs to include faith-based schools. Religious schools are very effective at reaching the underprivileged and the achievement gap is typically 25 percent narrower at these schools.
2. There is a need for increased family and community links to reduce the achievement gap. Quantitative analysis indicates that non-school factors decrease the achievement gap four times more than school factors.
Jeyne advocates the “debalkinization” of education so that all children in school are valued, not merely those in a particular sector. The educators who serve in public schools should care just as much about the success of children in private schools as they do for children in their own sector. Those working in faith-based schools need to demonstrate the same compassion.
Jeynes presents a strategy which he believes can turn around American education. It includes a strong role for church schools.
"This is evidence that Adventist schools can make a contribution beyond just educating children from Adventist families," a veteran educator told Adventist Today. "As voucher programs like the kind that Jeynes is advocating are expanded, there are real opportunities for Adventist schools in the U.S. to increase enrollment and expand their outreach as mission schools do in many other nations."