Tag Archives: High School

Economist Walter Williams explains how to not be poor

Economist Walter Williams
Economist Walter Williams

Here is his article on wealth and poverty on Creators.

First, there is no real poverty in the United States:

There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor”, report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

Second, the “poverty” is not caused by racism, but by poor choices:

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it’s 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940”? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

Third, avoiding poverty is the result of good choices:

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.

If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior. It turns out that a married couple, each earning the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000. The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four, it’s $23,000. By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Fourth, what stops people from making good choices is big government:

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet. If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation”. Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

Walter Williams is one of my two favorite economists, the other being Thomas Sowell. By sheer coincidence, they both happen to have grown up poor, and they both happen to be black. They understand what causes poverty very well. I recommend their books to you if you want to understand poverty, too.

Homeschooled sixteen-year-old graduates college and high school in the same week

ABC News:

CBS News:

CBS local news reports on this amazing story.

Full text:

It’s that time of year when students all across the country will be celebrating high school and college graduations. One South Florida girl will get a diploma from both in the same week and she is only 16-years old.

Grace Bush already has her bachelor’s degree from college but she doesn’t have a high school diploma yet.

“It’s kind of weird that I graduated college before high school,” said Grace Bush.

The teen from Hollywood earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice Friday morning from Florida Atlantic University.

She did it with a 3.8 grade point average and completed the four-year degree in just three years.

“I started when I was 13 at Broward College and I also took my classes throughout the summer, so I was able to finish it before four years,” said Grace Bush.

The institution’s dual enrollment program allows high performing high school students to earn credit for the same courses towards their college degree and save thousands of dollars in tuition at the same time.

Grace’s parents wanted their nine children to earn college credit in high school because they can’t afford to send all of their kids to college. Their mother, who home schooled all the kids knew early on, Grace had a knack for learning.

“At two years old, she was already reading and I was totally shocked,” said Grace’s mother, Gisla Bush.

Grace is the third oldest in the Bush family.

“My two older sisters are doing it and I’m the third to do it. My oldest sister already graduated and my second oldest sister is graduating in the summer,” said Grace Bush.

The new college graduate said she’ll be pursuing a master’s degree this fall, and then going to law school.

“I would eventually like to become chief justice of the United States,” said Grace Bush.

During her spare time she plays the flute in two orchestras and that keeps her busy but she says she will finally take a little break during the summer.

“To study for the LSAT, so I can get as high a score as possible, so hopefully I can get a full ride into a good school, law school,” said Grace Bush.

Looking at the two videos above, I saw several interesting things. This young lady did not attend public school, she was home-schooled. She had a father who was proud of her and believed in her, which affects the graduation rates of children according to a recent study. She was filmed speaking in her home in front of a little plaque with a verse from the Bible.

Related posts

 

 

New study: Teens with involved fathers more likely to graduate from college

Here’s an article by W. Bradford Wilcox from the American Enterprise Institute.

Excerpt:

Family scholars from sociologist Sara McLanahan to psychologist Ross Parke have long observed that fathers typically play an important role in advancing the welfare of their children.[2] Focusing on the impact of family structure, McLanahan has found that, compared to children from single-parent homes, children who live with both their mother and father have significantly lower rates of nonmarital childbearing and incarceration and higher rates of high school and college graduation.[3] Examining the extent and style of paternal involvement, Parke notes, for instance, that engaged fathers play an important role in “helping sons and daughters achieve independent and distinct identities” and that this independence often translates into educational and occupational success.[4]

Likewise, a US Department of Education study found that among children living with both biological parents, those with highly involved fathers were 42 percent more likely to earn As and 33 percent less likely to be held back a year in school than children whose dads had low levels of involvement.[5] But little research has examined the association between paternal involvement per se and college graduation.

I investigated that association by using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a study of a nationally representative sample of adolescents who were in grades 7–12 in the 1994–95 school year.[6] The Add Health data indicate that young adults who had involved fathers when they were in high school are significantly more likely to graduate from college.

[…]Compared to teens who reported that their fathers were not involved, teens with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college, and teens with very involved fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate from college (see figure 1, which adjusts for socioeconomic background).[7] Clearly, young women and men with more engaged fathers are more likely to acquire a college diploma than their peers without such a father.

I would think that fathers are helpful for keeping children out of trouble, warning them away from threats, helping them to do their homework and get jobs, and showing them the value of work and frugality. I think that in general, fathers have a concern that their children will not be able to provide for themselves and will starve. They tend to try to push their kids into harder subject areas that pay more, instead of letting the kids decide what makes them happy. And it’s good for kids that fathers do those roles – it makes a difference.

Is public school a viable option for Christian parents?

A couple of quick anecdotes from Yahoo News first, then we’ll see the numbers.

Excerpt:

Take the case of Petrona Smith. She says in a lawsuit that she was fired from teaching at Bronx PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported that she’d used the “N” word, according to The New York Post.

‘Negro.’

Smith doesn’t deny using the word. But she argues that everyone uses it, when speaking Spanish. She was teaching the Spanish words for different colors, and the color “black” in Spanish is “negro.” She also taught the junior high school students, in this bilingual school, that the Spanish term for black people is “moreno.” And by the way, Smith, who is from the West Indies, is black.

And more:

The Akron Public Schools Board of Education voted in January to pursue the firing of Melissa Cairns. She was a math teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center.

The school district said that Ms. Cairns posted a photo on her personal Facebook page which showed 8 or 9 out of her 16 students with duct tape across their mouths. The caption read: “Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!” The district says a colleague of Cairns’ notified a supervisor of the photo.

[…]This past week, Cairns was officially fired because “She showed a lack of good judgment. Her conduct was unbecoming of a teacher,” Akron Public Schools spokesman Mark Williamson told Newsnet5.

He went on to explain it wasn’t the use of the duct tape, but the posting of the photo of children on Facebook that showed poor judgement.

As you know, you can’t fire public school teachers for incompetence or sexual abuse of children.

Excerpt:

He worked just one year as a full-time teacher in New York. But he has collected nearly $1 million for 13 years for doing almost nothing.

Aryeh Eller, 46, a former music teacher at Hillcrest HS in Queens, is the longest-sitting “rubber room” teacher in the city. He was yanked from the classroom in 1999 and confessed to repeated sexual harassment of female students, according to a 2000 investigative report.

[…]Since his 1999 suspension, he has collected $943,000, plus health and pension benefits — and the total will hit $1 million this year.

Now let’s see if this focus on political correctness instead of results is working for taxpayers and students.

The Wall Street Journal:

Over the last four decades, public education spending has increased rapidly in the United States. According to the Department of Education, public schools spent, on average, $12,922 per pupil in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available. Adjusting for inflation, that’s more than double the $6,402 per student that public schools spent in 1975.

Despite that doubling of funds, just about every measure of educational outcomes has remained stagnant since 1975, though some have finally begun to inch upward over the last few years. Student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—the only consistently observed measure of student math and reading achievement over the period—have remained relatively flat since the mid-1970s. High school graduation rates haven’t budged much over the last 40 years, either.

You can find more data to flesh out those claims linked at the Heritage Foundation think tank.

To remove any doubt, just take a look at the libertarian Cato Institute’s graph on public school spending vs scholastic achievement. We are are wasting money indoctrinating kids in political correctness. The extra money that we are spending on education isn’t going into making students smarter or more productive.

New study: marriage and church attendance help kids finish high school

From the Marriage & Religion Research Institute. (I grabbed the PDF in case it disappears)

Excerpt:

The 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth shows that students who now worship weekly and who grew up with two married parents are most likely to have received a high school degree.

Examining current religious attendance and structure of family of origin, 93 percent of students who grew up in intact married families and who attend weekly religious services have received a high school degree. Only 68 percent of students from all other family structures who never attend religious services received a high school degree. Eighty-nine percent of those who never worship but grew up in intact families and 81 percent of those who attend religious services weekly but come from other family structures received high school degrees.

Examining current religious attendance only, 87 percent of students who attend weekly religious services received a high school degree. In contrast, only 70 percent of those who never worship received a high school degree. Between these two extremes are those who attend at least monthly (81 percent) and those who attend less than monthly (76 percent).

Examining structure of family of origin, 91 percent of individuals who grew up with married biological parents received a high school degree. They are followed by those who grew up in a married stepfamily (80 percent), those who grew up with a single, divorced parent (76 percent), those who grew up in a cohabiting stepfamily (68 percent), those who grew up with an always-single parent (63 percent), and those who grew up in an intact cohabiting family (60 percent).

See the original article for footnotes, including links to other studies that confirm this finding.

The reason why this matters is because finishing high school is very important in order for people to avoid being poor.

Black economist Walter Williams explains.

Excerpt:

Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And, finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.

If you graduate from high school today with a B or C average, in most places in our country there’s a low-cost or financially assisted post-high-school education program available to increase your skills.

Most jobs start with wages higher than the minimum wage, which is currently $5.15. A man and his wife, even earning the minimum wage, would earn $21,000 annually. According to the Bureau of Census, in 2003, the poverty threshold for one person was $9,393, for a two-person household it was $12,015, and for a family of four it was $18,810. Taking a minimum-wage job is no great shakes, but it produces an income higher than the Bureau of Census’ poverty threshold. Plus, having a job in the first place increases one’s prospects for a better job.

Finishing high school is a major factor to prevent poverty, but research shows that the greatest preventer of child poverty (and child abuse) is marriage. Marriage stability also increases with regular church attendance. So, church attendance promotes both the completion of high school as well as the stability of marriage. Therefore, regular church attendance prevents poverty by helping two of the causes of poverty-avoidance.

Now… should we expect the secular left to promote church attendance based on this evidence? I think not.

One other point. The more marriage declines, the more children are raised without fathers, which makes it much less likely that children will accept the faith of their parents, leading to lower church attendance for the children of these fatherless homes. It’s a vicious cycle. The policies of the left that undermine marriage stability, like sex education, taxpayer-funded abortion, no-fault divorce and single motherhood welfare, actually cause the decline in church attendance that drives marriage rates and high school graduation rates down.