Benefits of Released Time


A recent study of 350 students randomly selected from a student body of 2,434 suburban students grades 10-12, identified Released Time participation as one of three factors likely to positively influence academic performance, stating, “After examining the possible effect of enrollment in released-time religious education (RTRE) courses on the academic achievement of students, we found that RTRE students’ mean grade point averages were significantly higher than those of non-RTRE students. Hansen, Trace W., “The Effect of Daily Released-time Religious Education on Academic Achievement” (2013). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1454.


After a year of once-weekly instruction, Released Time students outperformed classmates academically in almost every category of testing. The Released Time students studied experienced positive moral and character development antithetical to engaging in criminal or delinquent behavior. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Released Time Bible Education: A program that improves academic performance in public schools and builds a foundation for positive character development – A program evaluation of the Oakland, California Released Time Bible Education Program. 25 Jul. 2003. This study is available at :]


Released time is the only religious or moral training some students may ever receive. Studies have long shown that religion is a critical factor in the development of children. According to Child Trends data bank:

“Religion plays an important role in the lives of many children and teens, [1] as well as being positively associated with many other aspects of child well-being.  Teens who attend religious services once a week or more (as well as teens who feel religion is very important to them) are less likely to take risks and to enjoy danger, fight with another student, or get in trouble with the police.[2] These teens are also less likely to be suspended or expelled, or to be sent to detention or to the principal’s office.[3]Teens who attend any religious services, or feel religion is at least a little important, are less likely to hit a teacher or to skip school, and more likely to volunteer, participate in student government, and participate in sports or other exercise.[4] These teens are also less likely than those who do not attend religious services to drink alcohol and use illicit drugs.[5] In addition, teens who attend religious services tend to hold more conservative attitudes toward sex and to have less sexual experience.[6]Religious service attendance is positively correlated with education measures such as academic expectations among high school students, and verbal test scores among girls.[7] One study found that the academic benefit of religious service attendance for youth living in low-income neighborhoods increased as negative factors such as poverty and unemployment increased.[8]” For citations and further information, see Child Trends Data Bank:  


Released time Bible education offers several positives for schools:

Reduces attrition

Parents who want a quality education plus PLUS moral training for their students will have greater reason to keep their students in public school (instead of taking advantage of private, online or homeschool options), if Released Time is offered.

Builds trust between communities which want this option available and their school district personnel who listen and respond affirmatively

“We consider it a positive that Rittman’s school district is able to honor the community’s desire to offer Released Time as an option to supplement quality academics. We are finding that such cooperation builds trust and confidence between parents and their children’s schools.” – Jon Ritchie, Superintendent of Rittman EV School District. Email to Jennifer Miller 17 Jun 2013

“As superintendent…I can honestly say that the concept of using Released Time for religious classes has worked well for our community. …Wall Street did not crumble in mid-October 2008 due to lack of academic intelligence. Wall Street crumbled …because of a lack of ethics and moral discernment. Certainly, therefore, there is value in spending some time addressing character development and topics which develop and nurture appropriate ethical responses. …”  Doseck, Ken. Superintendent, Upper Sandusky E.V. Schools (retired July 2011). Open letter to School Administrators & Boards of Education. 5 May 2011.

Improves test scores of at-risk students, with no adverse effects on others’ test scores

“The more often students attended [Released Time] class, the better their academic outcomes. …Release[d] time may help instill values that enable students to achieve academically. It is also possible that participation functions as a protective factor, inhibiting potentially detrimental behaviors that may interfere with students’ academic progress, such as substance use, delinquency, and early sexual activity… the findings reported here suggest that little grounds exist for believing that release[d] time participation will negatively affect students’ academic achievement.” Hodge, David R. “Releasing Students from Class for Spiritual Instruction: Does it Hinder Academic Performance?” Journal of the National Association of Social Workers (July 2007): 161-172.

Addresses schools’ goals to provide protective and supportive environments  

Ohio’s lawmakers have acted upon their recognition of  external factors which threaten to adversely affect students physically, socially & emotionally. By law, Ohio’s public educators (nurses, teachers, counselors, school psychologists and administrators) are required to undergo ongoing training to discern and help address the needs of students caught up in child abuse, violence, substance abuse, school safety issues and human trafficking; training includes promotion of positive youth development. See ORC 3319.073 [effective 9/29/2013]

Meets schools’ need for regular character education of the type of that is proven to encourage students to develop internal controls: to be honest, self-disciplined and respectful.

“What is rare now, compared with almost 30 years ago (when I began work in education) is students’ understanding of their need to be disciplined. Their perception today is much more likely to be along the lines of a game theory: ‘so I’ve broken a rule – what’s the punishment? ’ What often is lacking is a solid moral foundation from home or religious training/exposure to enable students to appreciate why what they did was simply wrong, and therefore deserving of correction.”- Koehler, Dr. Craig, Principal, Avon Middle School, Avon Local School District. Email to Jennifer Miller 17 June 2013.

“Character education is more important today than ever before. We live in a society where it appears that many people have not been taught basic moral values. The values of respect and honesty seem to be lost….” Lee, Kendall A. “Character Education Transforms Districts.” OSBA School Management News.  Jul. 2011: 5.

Reduces public school class sizes

In a recent Utah State study of the relationship between six public schools and the Released Time (LDS) programs which they accommodate, five public school administrators stated reasons they considered it important to invest in maintaining good relationships with their Released Time counterparts, including meeting the needs of the students and the desires of the parents and the community. The conclusion stated in part: “Public school and seminary principals, as role-playing agents for their individual institutions, for the most part, perceive the relationship be positive, working well, valuable, mutually beneficial, and one from which positive emotions are generally felt. The benefits the public school principals recognized receiving from the relationship are reduced class sizes, economic savings, and support in enabling students to become better students and good citizens.” Ashcroft, Casey Wayne, “Utah Public School and LDS Released-Time Program Relations: Perspectives and Practices of Principals from Both Institutions” (2011) All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 1016.

Free to public schools – by well-established Released Time law

“…parents must give permission in advance for their child to be transported off campus during the school day to a place designated by participating religious institutions. The parent chooses which faith his or her child is to learn… The religious communities should make all arrangements for facilities, transportation, instruction, insurance, parent information and permission, etc. The programs should not involve the expenditure of public funds.” American Jewish Congress. Christian Legal Society. First Amendment Center. Public Schools and Religious Communities: A First Amendment Guide.

Subscribe To Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with conference details and receive the latest from School Ministries Ohio, right in your inbox!
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.