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Kids Understand Impact of Father Absence

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Single Parenting on October 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Kids Understand Impact of Father Absence

childA teacher named Patrick Welsh, frustrated by his all-black class’s performance on a test, asked, “Why don’t you guys study like the kids from Africa?” (Source)

Bold, yes? That’s what frustration can do to you. One student said, “It’s because they have fathers who kick their butts and make them study.” Another said, “You ask the class, just ask how many of us have our fathers living with us.”

According to Welsh, no one raised his/her hand.

Speculating about why racial preferences exist isn’t brain surgery. Whether arguing for compensatory justice or skin deep-only diversity, the truth is that in 2009, racial preferences exist because generally, blacks score lower on standardized tests than everyone else.

Embarrassed and probably feeling a little guilty, people use all kind of justifications for lowering standards to accommodate blacks. Before we can begin to tackle the issue, however, we must understand that family structure impacts performance.

“My students knew intuitively that the reason they were lagging academically had nothing to do with race, which is the too-handy explanation for the achievement gap in Alexandria,” Welsh writes in the Washington Post. “And it wasn’t because the school system had failed them. They knew that excuses about a lack of resources and access just didn’t wash at the new, state-of-the-art, $100 million T.C. Williams, where every student is given a laptop and where there is open enrollment in Advanced Placement and honors courses. Rather, it was because their parents just weren’t there for them — at least not in the same way that parents of kids who were doing well tended to be.”

The kids admit what academics try to avoid. Children with no father in the home perceive the lack of discipline and respectful fear an authoritative male instills. I agree with Welsh to a certain extent. He believes focusing on race is too simple, and that family support and involvement are important. And focusing on race can stigmatize black students, but it can’t be ignored. Three quarters of black babies in the U.S. are born into fatherless homes. Black students disproportionately are without residential fathers. For better or for worse, race must be part of the discussion.

It’s not the children’s fault. The blame rests solely on the parents. It will take a sub-cultural shift away from a 75 percent out-of-wedlock pregnancy rate toward stable, two-parent (preferably married) homes to improve the condition of these chidlren. As the article notes, school superintendents “have little control” over these issues.

What can the government do about fatherlessness? Practically speaking, nothing. Individuals must turn the tide.

Addendum: The Center for Equal Opportunity’s Roger Clegg blogs:

“Of course, [Patrick Welsh is] not alone, and there are more and more nonconservatives who are coming around to this view. Problem is, the problem isn’t getting any better. And it is still the case that this problem is unique among social pathologies, in that — unlike crime, drug abuse, dropping out of school, etc. — there remain a nontrivial number of folks who don’t see the problem as a problem at all.”

John Rosenberg of Discriminations echoes my view about the role race plays in this scenario, again, for better or for worse:

“The color of a father’s skin does not cause his absence from his family, nor does the color of a mother’s skin determine how strict she is about homework. Still, Welsh goes overboard in attempting to dissociate race altogether from the dysfunctional educational behavior he observes, if for no other reason than that there the percentage of black children in single-parent families is three times higher than whites. It is true that damaged families, not race, stack the deck against black kids raised in single families, but it is not true that their difficulty ‘has nothing to do with race.’”

Kids Understand Impact of Father Absence.

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