Since 2011, Cardus Education has led the way in measuring graduate outcomes from the religious independent schools, including evangelical Protestant, Catholic independent, and religious homeschool. This is the fourth report drawing upon Cardus Education Survey (CES) data, a testament that we still believe that if “something is worth doing, it is worth measuring.” It is also worth continually measuring because times change. And while there are many findings in the following report that are similar to those found in the 2012 report, you may notice a slight change of focus.
In previous reports we looked at the vision and mission statements of both public and independent schools to highlight how the religious independent schools were, indeed, meeting both their own expectations and the expectations of the public schools. That is, they were forming graduates who were thoughtful and civically minded, concerned with personal growth and contributors to the public good. In many instances, the religious independent school graduates did these just as well or better than their public school peers. Earlier reports also focused upon the “myths” surrounding religious school graduates and used the data from the Cardus Education Survey to debunk them. That religious school graduates were fundamentalists cloistered within homogenous communities was (and continues to be) simply not true.
In this report our goal is to provide a “fuller picture of Canadian graduates.” That is, too many studies of graduate outcomes provide a reductive analysis of how well education prepares one for a good job. While this matters, our report enfolds graduate job and income findings into a much broader, multi-dimensional focus that additionally looks at the school effects on political involvement and religious orientation, habits of home and social ties, levels of trust in institutions, and how much a graduate gives of his or her time and resources. In other words, we want to go beyond a two-dimensional analysis and give you a fuller picture of how Canada’s graduates are being prepared for adult life together
Finally, the following report provides reasons for both celebration and concern to each school sector. We have refrained from editorializing and weighing in on the data with interpretations and evaluation throughout. So while this report casts light on the various educational sectors, it also holds up a mirror to each sector.