Regardless of where you stand on the debate currently raging over school discipline, one thing seems certain: Self-discipline is far better than the externally imposed kind.
Over the years, Catholic schools have been particularly committed to the formation of sound character, including the acquisition of self-discipline. But how well has that worked? We wanted to know whether students in Catholic school actually exhibit more self-discipline than their peers-and if so, what those schools can teach other public and private schools about how it can be fostered.
To lead the study, we recruited Michael Gottfried, Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Jacob Kirksey, a doctoral student at UCSB, helped to analyze the data and co-wrote the report.
Their analysis revealed three key findings.
- Students in Catholic schools are less likely to act out or be disruptive than those in other private schools or in public schools. According to their teachers, Catholic school children argued, fought, got angry, acted impulsively, and disturbed ongoing activities less frequently.
- Students in Catholic schools exhibit more self-control than those in other private schools or public schools. Specifically, they were more likely to control their temper, respect others' property, accept their fellow students' ideas, and handle peer pressure.
- Regardless of demographics, students in Catholic schools exhibit more self-discipline than students in public schools and other private schools. Thus, there is at least some evidence that attending Catholic school may benefit all sorts of children.
-- From Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Foreword and Executive Summary.