The first comes from the Protestant think tank Cardus, which recently released an Education Survey that looked at the kinds of people produced by private schools, Catholic schools, Protestant schools, and public schools. The study showed that those who graduated from non-religious private schools and Catholic schools were more likely to have a higher income later in life but were less likely to have a developed religious life. On the other hand, graduates from Protestant schools achieve the same amount of success as public school graduates, but are more likely to practice their faith.
What is striking, however, is the impact that Evangelical Christianity has had on Protestant education. The writers of the survey tell us (almost proudly) that:
We find no evidence that Christian schools are breeding grounds for the right-most wing of po¬litical conservatives, nor do we find that Christian school graduates are “culture warriors.” Graduates of Christian schools are less engaged in politics than their peers…While there are different ways this can be interpreted, there is a growing trend within Christianity in America to value church and family without much dedication to the nation and our civic duty. While we help Catholics regain the sacramental imagery which builds a culture of life through a culture of protection, the Protestants who first understood the nature of the nation must not lose that understanding and flee from the public sphere.
The other study comes from the American Sociological Association, which tells us that those with a higher education are actually more likely to attend religious services than the less-educated. As it turns out, college-educated Americans since 1970 have always been more faithful to corporate worship than those without a high school diploma (with a monthly attendance rate of 51% versus 37%). Sadly in the past forty years the numbers of high school drop outs attending monthly religious services has plunged from a sad 37% in 1970 to a depressing 23% today.
True enough attendance is down across the board, but the paltry numbers of poorly educated in America stands in stark contrast with the vast majority of humans throughout history who tended to be religiously devout despite having a lack of formal education. The worship of God satisfies a basic human need: to give thanks to our Creator. But in a culture so wrapped up in getting the next iPad or Xbox, people are too busy thinking of what’s coming next rather than thanking God for what they already have. Besides, when times are tough we are raised to look to an entitlement program rather than to God.
Perhaps the best educational tool our schools can use is to simply say the full Pledge of Allegiance and then pull out a dollar bill and read: “In God we trust.”