Tag Archives: Two Parent

New study: low family income not a major cause of low student achievement

From PhysOrg.com.  Please click the “Like” button below and tweet this one on Twitter. This is one to share.


Family income is associated with student achievement, but careful studies show little causal connection. School factors – teacher quality, school accountability, school choice – have bigger causal impacts than family income per se, according to a new analysis by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG).

The analysis, prepared by PEPG director Paul E. Peterson, calls into question the Broader, Bolder Approach (BBA) to educational reform that has been advanced by a group of education scholars, teacher union leaders, and non-profit groups. The BBA recommends that proposals to enhance teacher quality, school accountability and student choice be dropped in favor of policies that would redistribute income and provide support services to families outside the regular school day.

Peterson focuses on a paper presented by Duke University Professor Helen F. Ladd, a BBA co-chair, which was given as the presidential address before the Association of Public Policy and Management in Washington, D.C. in November of 2011, and is widely regarded as the key scholarly work underpinning BBA. Peterson’s article, “Neither Broad Nor Bold: A narrow-minded approach to school reform,” is available at http://www.educationnext.org and will appear in the Summer, 2012 issue of Education Next.

BBA’s mission statement holds: “Weakening that link [between income and achievement] is the fundamental challenge facing America’s education policy makers.” Peterson agrees that the connection between income and student performance “is no less true in the Age of Obama than it was in the Age of Pericles.” But, he points out, most of the connection is not causal, but due to other factors. He cites a study by Julia Isaacs and Katherine Magnuson (Brookings Institution, 2011), that examines an array of family characteristics – such as race, mother’s and father’s education, single parent or two-parent family, smoking during pregnancy – on school readiness and achievement. The Brookings study finds that the distinctive impact of family income is just 6.4 percent of a standard deviation, generally regarded as a small effect. In addition, Peterson calls attention to earlier research by Susan Mayer, former dean of the Harris School at the University of Chicago, which also found that the direct relationship between  and education success for children varied between negligible and small.

[…]“A better case can be made that any increase in the achievement gap between high- and low-income groups is more the result of changing family structure than of inadequate medical services or preschool education,” Peterson says. In 1969, 85 percent of children under the age of 18 were living with two married parents; by 2010, that percentage had declined to 65 percent. The median income level of a single-parent family is just over $27,000 (using 1992 dollars), compared to more than $61,000 for a two-parent family; and the risk of dropping out of high school increases from 11 percent to 28 percent if a white student comes from a single-parent family instead of a two-parent family. For blacks, the increment is from 17 percent to 30 percent, and for Hispanics, the risk rises from 25 percent to 49 percent.

Peterson notes that most of the proposals to lift  that Ladd and her BBA colleagues offer, such as expanded social services, preschool, and summer programs, ignore the many hours children spend at school and amount to a “potpourri of non-educational services (that) have never been shown to have more than modest effects on student achievement.” He points out that many school reforms – merit pay, school vouchers, and student and school accountability – have been shown to have had equivalent or larger impacts. For example,  accountability initiatives have raised student performance by 8 percent of a standard deviation. Initiatives to improve teacher quality have the potential of raising  performance by 10 to 20 percent of a standard deviation.

Read the rest here, this is important. So long as we keep looking to big government to solve all of our problems. We should instead be looking to our own good decision making, our own families and the free enterprises system.

A father explains what it is like to grow up fatherless

Post here on the Goranson family blog. (H/T Caffeinated Thoughts)


I grew up fatherless.  I saw my dad a few times growing up.  I knew his name and whereabouts.  I spent about two weeks with him in 1991 and he was always very kind to me when we saw each other.  I got cards most birthdays and christmases.  But he wasn’t a part of my life, was never married to my mother, and we lived many states away from each other most of my childhood.  It wasn’t until I was 17 that I began to get to know my dad and to develop the friendship with him that I am grateful we still have.  We are a testimony to genetics and I’m proud to be his son.  My mother was young and I was a surprise.  I never wondered if she loved me but I also knew she struggled in many ways raising a son by herself.

The path of fatherlessness was a long and painful road shrouded in insecurity for me.  It is a path so far off the one God meant for families that I didn’t know I was even on it until I had my own kids.  I knew it was better to have a mom AND a dad but I didn’t understand what I was missing.  As I’ve been reflecting on my role in my own kids’ lives, it’s proven to be extremely painful for me as I look back on my childhood.  So I figured I’d write a bit about it…

What potential in me was lost not having a father and being exposed to men who were perfect losers?  What struggles would have been overcome earlier in life or avoided altogether?  What could my father and I have learned from each other?  How much less equipped am I to be a father and husband having [grown up?] without many positive male role models in my early childhood?  How much relational heartache could I have avoided?  How many unhealthy situations as a kid would have been avoided?  How did the fear and insecurity that plagued my childhood affect me today?

This is a shot in the arm you all you Dads out there who wonder whether anyone understands and appreciates the sacrifices you’re making to be a good husband and father. This post made me feel really sad. I’m always pretty emotional when it comes to things like this, but this one really hit me hard. (Especially the “But can you ever truly recover…” paragraph)

I think that people think that I am super-focused on apologetics, but that is only because I don’t know many people who are dealing with health struggles, family struggles and money struggles. I think that when I take time to read things like this, it helps me to be more alert about taking the opportunity to weep with those who weep. If you have trouble understanding what it is like to be without a father, then read the post and let your heart be informed and softened.

Maybe those of us with intact families should be more interested in opening up our homes to troubled kids to come over and experience life in a healthy family? It seems that being able to observe love in action would really have a big impact.

Jennifer Roback Morse answers the best argument for same-sex marriage

Cloning her would solve the marriage problem
She'll show you how to defend marriage

Jennifer Roback Morse likes to debate, and she’s very good at it. So good, that you can learn how to debate about marriage too, just by listening to her debates.

The audio of her recent debate in Manhattan just came out.

The MP3 file is here. (46 minutes lecture, 27 minutes of Q&A)

The main case that she makes is similar to the case she made in the debate she had at Columbia University, which I blogged about before. But the Q&A is new, and very interesting. It starts at 46:00 and goes until the end. But one of the difficult questions she was asked really stood out.

The argument

Opposition to same-sex marriage is the same as opposition to inter-racial marriage.

The answer

There are two ways to respond:

1) Race has nothing to do with the central purpose of marriage as being the natural way of binding children to parents, and parents to each other. Race doesn’t affect those goals. But gender is relevant to the the purpose of marriage, because if a baby is formed from opposite sex parents then both parents have a biological link to the child, which is a stronger bond than a non-biological link. This improves the chances that the child will be raised in a stable environment.

2) A better historical analogy to opposing same-sex marriage is opposition to no-fault divorce (unilateral divorce). No-fault marriage started in California. They also argued that only a few people would be affected, that the children would not be harmed, studies show that it will be OK, etc. But in hindsight, we now know that it was a disaster for the family, and especially for children.

You can visit Dr. J’s blog here.

Those of you who are into Christian apologetics need to understand that atheism is embraced for a whole host of non-rational causes. One of them is growing up in a fatherless household. It has a profound impact on a child’s worldview when the child’s father is defective or absent. That means that every Christian apologist who knows the standard arguments also needs to know how to defend marriage. Insofar as socialism attacks marriage, the Christian apologist needs to be able to defend marriage on fiscal grounds, as well.

I’ve written before about no-fault divorce, pre/extra-marital sex, single-mother parenting and same-sex marriage. Here is my post that cites research in order to explain why people oppose same-sex marriage.

MUST-READ: Which family configuration is best for raising children?

Looks like Dr. J’s stylish new blog is featuring guests posts by scholars.


Here’s a new post by Dr. Trayce Hansen. She wrote an article on which family configuration is best for children. The title is “Same-Sex Marriage: Not in the Best Interest of Children”.

Here’s her thesis:

Same-sex marriage isn’t in the best interest of children. While we may empathize with those homosexuals who long to be married and parent children, we mustn’t allow our compassion for them to trump our compassion for children. In a contest between the desires of some homosexuals and the needs of all children, we cannot allow the children to lose.

And here’s a sample:

Only mother-father families afford children the opportunity to develop relationships with a parent of the same, as well as the opposite sex. Relationships with both sexes early in life make it easier and more comfortable for a child to relate to both sexes later in life. Overall, having a relationship with both a male and female parent increases the likelihood that a child will have successful social and romantic relationships during his or her life.(5)

Moreover, existing research on children reared by homosexuals is not only scientifically flawed and extremely limited (6,7,8) but some of it actually indicates that those children are at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes.(6) Other studies find that homosexually parented children are more likely to experiment sexually, experience sexual confusion, and engage in homosexual and bisexual behavior themselves.(5,6,9) And for those children who later engage in non-heterosexual behavior, extensive research reveals they are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, abuse alcohol and drugs, (10) attempt suicide, (11) experience domestic violence and sexual assault, (12) and are at increased risk for chronic diseases, AIDS, and shortened life spans.(13,14,15)

It shouldn’t be surprising that studies find children reared by homosexuals are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior themselves (16,9,17) since extensive worldwide research reveals homosexuality is primarily environmentally induced. Specifically, social and/or family factors, as well as permissive environments which affirm homosexuality, play major environmental roles in the development of homosexual behavior.(18,19,20,21)

The rest of the article, with references, is here. I like all of the footnotes because they provide a jumping off point for more research, and that’s how these things need to be evaluated. First, we find out what’s true. Then we adjust our lives based on what is really true. We need to act in a way such that others are not harmed by out decisions. We especially need to govern our actions to avoid behaviors that may harm born and unborn children.

It looks like the the article was suppressed due to pressure from gay activists.

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) published a special issue of their bi-monthly journal “The Therapist” dedicated to the subject of same-sex marriage. Guest authors were asked to contribute articles, half of the writers in support and half opposed to same-sex marriage. A stated goal of the issue was to determine whether the organization should adopt a formal position on the matter.

Subsequent to publication of the May/June 2009 special issue (Volume 21, Issue 3), homosexual activists within and without the organization pressured CAMFT to not only apologize, but also expunge from their organizational archives those articles that voiced opposition to same-sex marriage. CAMFT capitulated to those demands. The Director of CAMFT apologized for publishing articles critical of same-sex marriage and all the “offending” articles were censored from the CAMFT website archives. So much for intellectual debate and freedom of opinion.

Apparently, making arguments and citing research papers was considered too “mean”.

Extra stuff

Look! I found some radio show clips that you can listen to on her web site:

And last of all, here is my post explaining why people oppose same-sex marriage. I also cite research!