Posts tagged ‘Single-parent’

December 12, 2013

Consider yourself rich if you have an ‘above-ground pool’ and ‘one dad’

by Grace

Often we think wealth means mansions and luxury vacations.  But sometimes being rich can be defined in terms of having an “above-ground pool” and “one dad”.

The Middle is a sitcom that has popped up a few times in my Internet surfing.  The show is about the Hecks, a middle-class family of five with everyday problems that many viewers can relate to.  The dad is a manager at the local quarry, the mom is a dental hygienist, and the kids are average in many ways.  They are not rich by any stretch of the imagination.


A recent episode featured the neighborhood bullies–the three Glossner boys from a household with an absent father.  One day while the Heck kids were home alone the Glossner boys showed up, creating havoc in their house and refusing to leave.  Sue Heck, the middle child, attempted to get them out of their house.

Trying a new tactic to get the Glossners out of their house, Sue simply asked them to leave. And they did. Derrick explained that he listened because he kind of liked her. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I mean, look at ya. You’re a rich girl — with your above-ground pool, your two kinds of chips, and your one dad? Forget it. You’re way out of my league.”

Sue was stunned to learn the Glossner boys considered her a “rich girl”, gaining a fresh perspective on a different kind of wealth.

I really should make time to watch this show.  Apparently it’s on Netflix, so I could spend an hour or two checking out the Hecks.  Brooke Shields plays the Glossner mom, complete with a mullet hairstyle and tattoos.


April 4, 2013

Missing fathers are at the core of a ‘vicious cycle’ of poverty

by Grace

Missing fathers are both a cause and an effect of poverty

The decline of two-parent households may be a significant reason for the divergent fortunes of male workers, whose earnings generally declined in recent decades, and female workers, whose earnings generally increased, a prominent labor economist argues in a new survey of existing research.

MIT professor David H. Autor examined the poverty of single-parent families for Third Way, a center-left policy research organization.

In this telling, the economic struggles of male workers are both a cause and an effect of the breakdown of traditional households. Men who are less successful are less attractive as partners, so some women are choosing to raise children by themselves, in turn often producing sons who are less successful and attractive as partners.

“A vicious cycle may ensue,” wrote Professor Autor and his co-author, Melanie Wasserman, a graduate student, “with the poor economic prospects of less educated males creating differentially large disadvantages for their sons, thus potentially reinforcing the development of the gender gap in the next generation.”

Encourage marriage or pump up the economy?  Is it a chicken or egg scenario?

Conservatives have long argued that society should encourage stable parental relationships. A recent report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia concluded that promoting marriage is the best way “to make family life more stable for children whose parents don’t enjoy the benefit of a college education.”

Liberals have tended to argue that the government should focus instead on improving economic opportunities. Jonathan Cowan, the president of Third Way, said the paper underscored that addressing social problems was a means to improve economic opportunities.

Here’s an idea.

Instead of making marriage more attractive, he said, it might be better for society to help make men more attractive.


The chance of a child ending up poor declines by 82 percent when raised in a two-parent family.

Although correlation does not imply causation, there’s no doubt that a caring father adds tremendous value to a child’s upbringing.

According to the U.S. census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the U.S. in 2009 was 37.1 percent. For married families the rate was only 6.8 percent. The chance of a child ending up poor declines by 82 percent when raised in a two-parent family. As the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector reports, “Some of this difference in poverty is due to the fact that single parents tend to have less education than married couples.” Even adjusting for that factor “the married poverty rate will still be more than 75 percent lower.”


Fathers have been disappearing from homes across America over the last 50 years.

… Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.


America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.

February 23, 2012

Non-marital births by education level as part of the growing class divide

by Grace

Declining marriage rates and non-marital births are only a problem for those without college degrees. (Assuming you believe this is a problem, of course.) Here’s the stark data.

CHARLES MURRAY has been harshly criticized for writing about this trend in his latest book,  Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, but it seems the New York Times has also not been shy about reporting how education and race correlate with non-marital births.

Large racial differences remain: 73 percent of black children are born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites. And educational differences are growing. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends.… Others noted that if they married, their official household income would rise, which could cost them government benefits like food stamps and child care…. Reviewing the academic literature, Susan L. Brown of Bowling Green State University recently found that children born to married couples, on average, “experience better education, social, cognitive and behavioral outcomes.”

Just talking about these issues of class, education, and race sometimes leads to charges of racism.  Curiously, the NY Times chose not to allow comments on their stories referenced in this post.  Maybe they were afraid the topic would generate excessive inflammatory rhetoric.

UPDATE:   One single mom is upset that the liberal elite have joined conservatives in moralizing about fatherless children.

More Single Moms. So What.  –  The New York Times condescends to single moms.
This proud single mother and NYU journalism professor, who is definitely not “too poor to marry,” is insulted by a New York Times article on the 53 percent illegitimate-birth rate among females under 30, which she thinks covertly telegraphs the message that unwed moms can’t in fact do it all… Marriage, Roiphe reveals triumphantly, “does not ensure eternal love, or even eternal security.” Now we know.

Young Mothers Describe Marriage’s Fading Allure – NYTimes, 2/18/12

Five myths about white people – Washington Post, 2/10/12

Related:  College-educated women marry at higher rates

October 12, 2011

Our Lady of the Valley School

by Grace

My elementary school is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and I was amazed to learn that some classroom practices have remained constant over the years.  A story from my hometown newspaper describes a recent scene at my old school.

As Sister Caroline Vasquez entered the first-grade classroom, the students respectfully got up from their desks and greeted her.

“Good morning, Sister Caroline,” they said, almost in unison.

Back 100 years ago (a very rough estimate), we used to rise from our desks and recite  “Praise be the Incarnate Word; good morning, Sister Ignatius” when our teacher entered the classroom.  At that time the Sisters of the Incarnate Word were in charge, and respect for our elders was inculcated to a degree completely unfamiliar to today’s school children.

We sat in rows, something many schools today dismiss as harmful to learning.

I count 45 students in this class.

Our Lady of the Valley School continues this tradition, also.

Many things have changed in K-12 education over the last 50 years, some for the good.  Although I sometimes lament that my schooling was woefully lacking compared to today’s standards, the truth is I did quite well.

One notable difference is that back then most parents did not need to become as involved with homework as is typical today.  The resources needed for homework and its complexity now seem to require much more of parents than simple supervision and making available a quiet spot for working, commonly the extent of what parents used to do.  This excessive reliance on parental involvement today would seem to be a significant factor in the wide achievement gap between rich and poor students because in low-income homes parents often lack the resources needed to supplement classroom instruction.

Of course, the rise in single parent households probably has a signficant effect on today’s gap in achievement levels.

ADDED:  Another difference is that my old school now has a technology room with 50 computers.

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