Hanna de Jong-Markus

Chapter 4 68 religious dimension of OPPSs and the relation between their faith and their job. After these theoretical sections, our empirical research is described in the Methods and Results sections which are followed by the Discussion section. 4.2 Orthodox Protestant Schools in the Netherlands and Freedom of School Choice The Netherlands has a firm and unique tradition of the freedom of school choice (Denessen et al., 2005; Glenn & De Groof, 2005; Merry & Karsten, 2010). This freedom means that, in addition to the government initiating and providing public education, private organizations or people have the legal right to found and run denominational schools that express their religious, ideological, or educational beliefs through what is taught and how is taught (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007; Glenn & De Groof, 2005). The Dutch government sets certain quality standards for both publicly and privately run schools, such as the required qualifications of teachers, the subjects that must be taught, and the attainment targets (Dutch Eurydice Unit, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, 2007). However, schools are highly autonomous on matters related to resource allocation, curriculum, and assessment (OECD, 2014). Since public and denominational schools receive equal governmental funding, all parents can choose whatever kind of school they want to send their children to (Denessen et al., 2005; Dronkers, 1995; Glenn & De Groof, 2005; Maussen & Vermeulen, 2015). Working conditions and salaries of teachers are comparable for every school, and teachers can apply wherever they want (Dutch Eurydice Unit, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, 2007; Glenn & De Groof, 2005). Home schooling is marginal (Glenn & De Groof, 2005; Merry & Karsten, 2010), and private, nonfunded schools can rarely be found (Glenn & De Groof, 2005). In 2016, the Netherlands had 6,508 primary schools (DUO, 2016). A total of 32% of these were public schools, 30% were Roman Catholic, 25% were Protestant, 4% were orthodox Protestant,34 1% were Islamic, and 7% were of other denominations (DUO, 2016). Within the same denominational category, there can be important differences as to how the school’s identity is expressed and experienced, based on, for example, the views on religious education and the religious backgrounds of the pupils and teachers (cf. BertramTroost et al., 2015a). For historical reasons, the mission statements of some Protestant 34 These include “reformatorische scholen” (Reformed schools) and “gereformeerd vrijgemaakte scholen” (Reformed Liberated schools), which historically have backgrounds in different orthodox Protestant church denominations. Other labels could be used to describe these schools, like “strong Christian schools,” “strict Protestant schools,” or “conservative religious schools.” We decided to define these schools as “orthodox Protestant.”