The study examined thousands of students in Catholic, non-Catholic private schools, and public schools
A recent study conducted by Thomas B. Fordham Institute has found that elementary students in Catholic school, regardless of their sex, race or socio-economic status, have more self-discipline and self-control compared to their peers studying in either non-Catholic private schools or public schools.
After careful and thorough examination of two surveys on thousands of students in elementary school and their behavior, the researchers came to this conclusion. The findings suggest there is a correlation between Catholic school culture and self-control that students display. In other words, Catholic elementary school students are less likely to engage in “externalizing behavior” such as getting into fights, getting angry and screaming, acting impulsively without thinking, or disturbing others or an ongoing activity.
The researchers also say students in Catholic schools can control their temper better, accept the ideas of other students, have the maturity and responsibility to handle peer pressure, and respect the property of others irrespective of their background.
The findings of this study are genuinely encouraging. However, Corey A. DeAngelis says that since there was no practical and possible way to create a control group for the study, the findings are not causal. So, there could be a variety of other factors that contribute to the children’s good and exemplary behavior other than the type of school.
Despite this, DeAngelis says there are various reasons one could believe Catholic schools can provide the right kind of environment where self-discipline and self-control can be nurtured. He says in religious schools such as Catholic schools, students are held accountable to their teachers as well as God, because of which it is possible they are better for shaping character skills.
He added that most Catholic schools tend to have a very close-knit nature, and this could be beneficial to their students. This school culture is created because children, especially elementary school children, are more likely to be interested and engaged in a school that has a “strong school culture.”
Elizabeth Goetti, the CEO of Cristo Rey Network which operates many Catholic schools across the country, says that such results from students are possible due to the high standards consistently expected from students by Catholic educators.