The failures of the public school system are many: students are barely keeping up with baseline academic expectations, many have simply stopped showing up at all, and the resources allocated to districts to address both of these problems (totaling in the hundreds of billions of dollars) apparently have disappeared.

Worse still, our public schools have all but stopped trying to fulfill their primary purpose: training students to be engaged, responsible citizens capable of self-government. 

The abysmal literacy and mathematic proficiency rates in many public school districts are, of course, a part of this larger issue. But so, too, are the behavioral problems that have become commonplace in the classroom. A survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, for example, found that 46% of public schools in the United States have experienced an increase in violence and disruption over the past several years. The same survey found that 84% of teachers expressed concern about growing student misconduct.

These problems understandably have led to an exodus from the public school system, with millions of families choosing to send their students elsewhere. The system’s failures are also behind the surge in school choice policies that seek to give families alternative options so they can choose which works best for them.

new study proves these families’ instincts are correct. It turns out that private schools, especially religious ones, are not only more likely to help students achieve academic success but are also more likely to help make sure they become good people. After analyzing 57 international studies, ​researchers from the University of Arkansas and the University of Buckingham found private school students were more likely than their public school peers to be politically tolerant, civically minded, and engaged in their communities. 

This will come as a surprise only to those on the Left who have long smeared private religious schools and sought to block families’ access to them. Of course, the Left hates these schools not in spite of their success, but because of it. They’d much rather have apathetic and disconnected students who are tolerant only of the ideology the Left pushes on them than students who know how to think for themselves.

Which is exactly why the public school system is such a wreck. The Left might claim that public schools are neutral, but the truth is that there’s no such thing as a valueless education. Students will always be trained with some sort of value system, and it is now clear that the public school system’s is responsible for a lot of the intellectual and moral rot in America’s youth.

All the more reason policymakers who care about this country’s future should prioritize giving families a way out.