top of page

Horwitz’s analysis is anything but reductive or unnuanced... A perceptive work of sociological portraiture and analysis

God, Grades, and Graduation shows just how complex the relationship between religion and class is today by making the point that religion helps some youth achieve while truncating others' imagined futures. This is a must read for scholars of religion, education, or class mobility more generally.

-Melissa Wilde, Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

In this beautifully written book, Horwitz demonstrates that religion has a powerful but mixed impact on education. She shows that intensely religious students tend to be more conscientious and cooperative, which leads them to overperform in educational attainment and undermatch in college choice... Everyone with an interest in the sociology of education should read this study

-David Labaree, Professor, Emeritus, Stanford University

Sharp, engaging, and extremely well-presented, Dr. Horwitz's work offers a much needed, impressively rigorous analysis of the surprising intersections of religiosity and education in the USA. Both as a parent and a professor, I found this book fascinating.

-Phil Zuckerman, author of Society Without God and What It Means to be Moral

My book is now available for purchase at Oxford University Press or Amazon. And if you are not a big reader, you can listen to the audio version through Audible.

It's widely acknowledged that American parents from different class backgrounds take different approaches to raising their children. Upper and middle-class parents invest considerable time facilitating their children's activities, while working class and poor families take a more hands-off approach. These different strategies influence how children approach school. But missing from the discussion is the fact that millions of parents on both sides of the class divide are raising their children to listen to God. What impact does a religious upbringing have on their academic trajectories?

Drawing on 10 years of survey data with over 3,000 teenagers and over 200 interviews, God, Grades, and Graduation offers a revealing and at times surprising account of how teenagers' religious upbringing influences their educational pathways from high school to college. Dr. Ilana Horwitz estimates that approximately one out of every four students in American schools are raised with religious restraint. These students orient their life around God so deeply that it alters how they see themselves and how they behave, inside and outside of church.

This book takes us inside the lives of these teenagers to discover why they achieve higher grades than their peers, why they are more likely to graduate from college, and why boys from lower middle-class families particularly benefit from religious restraint. But readers also learn how for middle-upper class kids--and for girls especially--religious restraint recalibrate their academic ambitions after graduation, leading them to question the value of attending a selective college despite their stellar grades in high school. By illuminating the far-reaching effects of the childrearing logic of religious restraint, God, Grades and Graduation offers a compelling new narrative about the role of religion in academic outcomes and educational inequality.

bottom of page