Focusing on School Choice Priorities

Parents spend countless hours planning for their children’s future. For Christian parents, this includes wishing to instill the same spiritual values and lessons they were taught by their own parents. A study conducted by Barna and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) yielded interesting results on what parents look for in Christian schools.

The two institutions surveyed parents of current and prospective Christian school students to find out what they value in Christian schools. The survey revealed that for both groups, the ability of a Christian school to teach strong principles and values reigned supreme. 69% of parents of current students put this goal of education as most important, while 53% of parents of prospective students did the same.

However, there were some notable differences between the two sets of parents. For example, prospective parents tended to skew in favor of Christian schools with the ability to foster personal achievement and social skills in their children. These include skills that are needed in the real world, a chance for more life opportunities and increased chances for a fulfilling career.

On the other hand, current parents skewed heavily in favor of schools that placed a premium on the spiritual development of their children. On the whole, the ability of a school’s curriculum to raise the socioeconomic status of their progeny was not foremost in their minds.

The survey also revealed that when it comes to looking for schools, a safe environment is first on every parent’s list. It is only then that the quality of teachers, the quality of the academic experience and the chance for character development are looked at. A safe environment could be interpreted as an environment free from bullying, toxins and other harmful incidents, but it could also be viewed as a culturally safe environment. This means that the school would enable children to exercise their faith without fear of repercussion.

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