Studying the Influence of Sectarian Private Schools on the American Education System

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This chapter presents the articles and thesis which the researchers reviewed and analyzed for the study. Related Literature
According to Cookson (1994), Meier and Smith (1995), A contentious debate exists over whether sectarian private schools add to or take away from the American education system. Critics of sectarian private schools argue that the true motivation behind parents’ decisions to send their children to sectarian private schools is social elitism, proper behavior and performance. They contend that parents are not actually following a belief that sectarian private schools perform better academically, but are instead interested in separating their children from those of other races or backgrounds, or are attracted to the status symbol of having their children in private schools. According to Neal (1998), several reasons make such analyses difficult to conduct and ultimately inconclusive. One reason is that even if students in the studies come from disadvantaged backgrounds and do well in sectarian private schools, it is impossible to know if their academic success is a direct result of sectarian private school practices. It could be that other factors, such as parent involvement or student motivation, are higher for students who participate in religious programs or for those whose families scrape together enough money to pay tuition. Some students may also respond better to Catholic or other religious schooling. Another reason the studies are inconclusive is that it is hard to tell whether achievement differences between private and public school students would remain if more students were to attend private schools. According to George Rothsein (1999), another reason for the inconclusive research is that comparing sectarian private and nonsectarian public schools is not as straightforward as it may seem. Within both types of schools, there is a great deal of variation. In fact, a case study of...
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