Hanna de Jong-Markus

Stimulating Inquisitiveness 5 89 5.2 Orthodox Protestant Schools in the Netherlands: Cohesion and Cooperation At least 5% of approximately 6,500 primary schools in the Netherlands are OPPSs, which means that they are rooted in the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition (Markus et al., 2021a). They are free to express their religious beliefs through what is taught and how it is taught, and they are highly autonomous when it comes to resource allocation, curriculum, and assessment (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007; OECD, 2014; Zoontjens & Glenn, 2012). Quality standards apply equally to publicly run schools as privately run (denominational) schools (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007). A majority of Dutch primary schools are denominational schools (69% in 2017; see CBS StatLine, 2018), determined by specific religious, ideological, and/or educational beliefs. The denominational schools are founded by private organizations or persons who might have private linkages to specific churches, but there are no official church schools. Both public and denominational schools are state funded (Dutch Eurydice Unit, 2007; Zoontjens &Glenn, 2012). The teachers in OPPSs are practicing churchmembers of orthodox Protestant churches. In some schools, this is the case for pupils as well, but other schools have an open enrollment for children (De Muynck et al., 2014). Schools are obliged by law to pay attention to other world religions and life stances in an informative and objective way, and to teach children to respect people’s differences of opinion (Kuyk, 2007; SLO, 2006). Religious schools often pay attention to other religions and life stances in religious education “as it is taught in accordance with the particular identity of that school” (Kuyk, 2007, p. 136). Teachers in our study highlight the possibility to share and express their orthodox Protestant beliefs and practices in different environments (e.g., at home and at school) and/or domains (e.g., professional and personal life or in different school subjects). They value this cohesion because they think that upbringing, in general, as well as religious upbringing benefits from it and because it enhances their own well-being (Markus et al., 2018). The significance of cohesion in upbringing is widely recognized within the orthodox Protestant community, for example, in the common use of the word “triangle” as a reference to the cooperation of families, schools, and churches (De Muynck, 2008). There are various reasons underlying the desire for cohesion and cooperation, such as pedagogical convictions (e.g., providing children with recognition in educational environments) and religious convictions (e.g., the idea that parents are directed by the church or by God to allow their children to be instructed in the Christian doctrine within schools) (Boele-de Bruin & De Muynck, 2018; Markus et al., 2018).43 43 Although we speak about cohesion as the sharing of important beliefs and practices of the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition, there are various internal differences since people from different Reformed churches are involved in one school. Differences have to do with the interpretations of Reformed doctrines, such as how people can have a relationship with God, or about various beliefs as to what are proper Bible translations and dress codes (Van Lieburg, 2007).