Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 1 20 2014; Evans 2016; Godwin et al., 2004; Graham et al. in Martínez-Ariño & Teinturier, 2019; Halsema, 2019; Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2020; Mason & Wareham, 2018; Terry et al., 2019; Tuastad, 2016). Evans (2016), for example, has argued that “It’s hard to see how schools can effectively teach ‘mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs’ if they don’t even want kids with different faiths and beliefs in their schools”. In the Dutch context, these questions are mainly expressed in relation to orthodox Protestant (Reformed) and Islamic schools that advocate more or less mono-religious education7 (Exalto & Bertram-Troost, 2019; Inspectie van het Onderwijs, 2020; Merry & Driessen, 2014). The raised questions tend to be about the viability of a perhaps-outdated dual education system in the Netherlands, the right of parents to send their children to publicly funded religious schools, and the right of schools to pursue student admission or teacher recruitment policies (De Jong-Markus, 2020). Similar questions are observed in other Western European countries and the USA (De Wolff et al., 2002; Martínez-Ariño & Teinturier, 2019). In this study, I will focus on OPPSs, which cover about 5% of all primary school in the Netherlands (De Muynck et al., 2014; Markus et al., 2018). These schools adhere to Reformed doctrines and often have connections to local religious communities (De Muynck, 2008; De Wolff et al., 2002; Dijkstra &Miedema, 2003). As described in Section 3.1 more extensively,8 these schools strongly emphasise their personal religious convictions and/or religious community (cf. De Wolff et al., 2003; Sterkens, 2001). Strong-religious schools are therefore explicitly challenged to articulate how they stand in relation to basic societal values (Dujardin, 2020; Inspectie van Onderwijs, 2020)9: In all schools, active promotion of basic values is important. This is especially true in schools where pupils (…) may misunderstand the views conveyed by the school. Although these schools comply with the legal task, this still requires attention because the core of the citizenship task is that schools promote the values that make our free and democratic society possible. Educational freedom gives room 7 See Chapter 3 for a more extensive description of mono-religious education. 8 Chapters 4 through 7 all contain short descriptions of these schools, highlighting different aspects – depending on the theme of the chapter. Section 2.2 describes how OPPSs were selected for the empirical part of this study and makes it clear that in practice this involves Reformed (Dutch: reformatorisch), Reformed Liberated (Dutch: gereformeerd vrijgemaakt) and Protestant (Dutch: protestants-christelijk) schools. See Exalto & Bertram-Troost (2019) for a more detailed description of orthodox Protestant schools in the Netherlands and Dutch Bible Belt Culture. 9 Although it is highlighted that the basic values must be promoted more actively, the Inspectorate of Education (2020) also found that in schools with moral views that strongly deviate from the mainstream, no education is provided that is contrary to the basic values of the democratic constitutional state.