Study: Faith, Family Most Important to Reduce Race-Based Achievement Gap

Religion Today

Study: Faith, Family Most Important to Reduce Race-Based Achievement Gap

March 14, 2012

According to a new study, the race-based achievement gap -- the statistic that whites, on average, do better in school than blacks and Latinos -- is greatly reduced among blacks and Latinos who have high levels of religious participation, personal religiosity and parental involvement, the Christian Post reports. William Jeynes, professor of education at California State University and author of the study, said the most important factor that correlated with blacks and Latinos closing the achievement gap with whites was religion -- being actively involved in a religious institution and placing a high personal importance on faith. A stable family -- either a two-parent home or a high rate of parental involvement in the student's education -- was the second most important factor in narrowing the gap. Interestingly, Jeynes found that programs designed to reduce the achievement gap only had a small, insubstantial impact. "In a public school setting, we should not proselytize, but if a child already has [a high level of religiosity], why not give a gesture of encouragement," Jeynes said. "Faith is excluded from any such conversation and I really believe that's hurting kids."

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