The Special Role of Faith Towards School and Learning

African American and Latino populations are at greater risk of experiencing adverse academic outcomes, especially within faith communities. This includes low school retention and graduation, increased risk of dropping out, and decreased school academic performance. Faith communities have an important role in mitigating and reversing these trends by encouraging academic success.

Faith communities can influence school and classroom environments in a variety of ways. For example, faith communities can create and maintain environments that support academic success as well as provide other supports that can benefit families and children, such as financial assistance and health care. Faith communities can also host programs to foster positive academic relationships between families, school personnel, and community members.

In addition, faith communities can advocate for systems change within schools and for policies, programs, and school practices that support academic success and the full development of children. Finally, faith communities can provide educational and emotional support to children, families, and schools.

At the same time, despite their important role, some faith communities have not fully incorporated academic success as part of their core mission. Past research has shown that some faith communities view education as an individual’s responsibility, not a community one. Similarly, some faith communities lack the necessary academic and counseling services to support academic success. Few faith communities have organized efforts to support academic achievement.

In some instances, when faith communities support students academically, it is within specific academic areas, such as science, mathematics, history, and cultural studies, but not with literacy, reading, and writing skills. In addition, some faith communities do not provide services beyond the school setting, such as college entrance counseling, financial assistance, and mentoring.

The Special Role of Schools

Faith and education should always go hand in hand. That’s a fact!

African American and Latino children are underrepresented in highly qualified teacher and administrative roles and over-represented in lower-paid, non-certified, and more marginal capacities within schools. This is an important factor in educational outcomes.

Adequate and qualified educators are key to academic achievement for all students. An abundance of qualified teachers, administrators, and other personnel plays a critical role within schools, which in turn plays a key role in student learning.

The most effective schools systematically develop, support, and retain excellent teachers, principals, counselors, and other educators. The more teachers, administrators, and other personnel that are qualified and supported, the more likely it is that students will achieve at high levels.

Therefore, it is imperative that schools create and sustain sufficiently high-quality learning environments that support high academic achievement and the full development of all students. When schools are designed without the capacity to support high-quality teaching, they often fall short in having the capacity to recruit, retain, and develop enough highly qualified educators.

At the same time, however, many schools that serve predominately African American and Latino students are under-resourced. They lack the necessary financial support, staffing, materials, and other resources necessary to recruit, retain and support adequate numbers of highly qualified educators.

Conclusion

Most African American and Latino students do not achieve at high levels without the full support and involvement of families, faith communities, and schools. While some schools realize high academic achievement, many cannot provide the necessary support for students to reach high levels of academic success. These students, who are our future leaders, deserve the best educational opportunities that we can provide.

Luckily, faith has a huge role in the concept of education and students’ achievements. Without it, their success would not be guaranteed at all.

If you want your kids to succeed in life with the help of Catholic education, look no further than our curriculums here at St. Aloysius Regional School. We are a Catholic faith community of academic excellence, offering classes from Pre-K through 8th Grade. Call us today for more information about our school and curriculum.