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David I Smith is professor of education at Calvin University, Michigan, USA, and he has spent decades thinking about how education really forms people. He says that there’s no such thing as a “vanilla” or “neutral” education—and that even a maths or a French textbook will imply a whole way of seeing the world and other people. 

Given that about a third of Australian schools are religious, and that faith-based education is the subject of nervousness on both the left and right of politics these days, it’s worth asking: why do parents who aren’t religious want to send their kids to Christian schools? What’s the content of a “Christian” education? And what happens when religious schools get it wrong?

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