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It's widely acknowledged that American parents from different class backgrounds take different approaches to raising their children. Upper and middle-class parents invest considerable time facilitating their children's activities, while working class and poor families take a more hands-off approach. These different strategies influence how children approach school. But missing from the discussion is the fact that millions of parents on both sides of the class divide are raising their children to listen to God. What impact does a religious upbringing have on their academic trajectories?
Drawing on 10 years of survey data with over 3,000 teenagers and over 200 interviews, God, Grades, and Graduation offers a revealing and at times surprising account of how teenagers' religious upbringing influences their educational pathways from high school to college. Dr. Ilana Horwitz estimates that approximately one out of every four students in American schools are raised with religious restraint. These students orient their life around God so deeply that it alters how they see themselves and how they behave, inside and outside of church.
This book takes us inside the lives of these teenagers to discover why they achieve higher grades than their peers, why they are more likely to graduate from college, and why boys from lower middle-class families particularly benefit from religious restraint. But readers also learn how for middle-upper class kids--and for girls especially--religious restraint recalibrates their academic ambitions after graduation, leading them to question the value of attending a selective college despite their stellar grades in high school. By illuminating the far-reaching effects of the childrearing logic of religious restraint, God, Grades and Graduation offers a compelling new narrative about the role of religion in academic outcomes and educational inequality.
Ilana Horwitz is an education fellow at the Center on Longevity at Stanford University and an incoming Assistant Professor of Contemporary American Jewry at Tulane University. She holds a PhD from Stanford University. Her research examines how life course patterns vary based on religious upbringing, class, gender, race and ethnicity.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Living for God
Chapter 2: Remarkable Report Cards
Chapter 3: A Path to College
Chapter 4: Beneficial Buffers
Chapter 5: Too Steep of Hill
Chapter 6: Unexpected Exists
Chapter 7: The Road Less Taken
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