I do agree that more fairly allocating funds to poor districts like ours will help…
But there is no amount of money that can repair the disintegration
of the family. Many students in our district enter K-4 or K-5 already
so far behind they will never catch up and the most important single
factor holding them back is lack of a stable two parent family. If a
child spends his pre-school years in a single parent home he has been
handicapped in a way that is very difficult to overcome. My hat goes
off to the single parents who are doing their best to make it work but
we all know that two parents paddling in the same direction will take a
child farther than one.
This issue (the disintegration of the family, particularly in the black community) seems to be the elephant in the living room….
Why are we not focused on this issue? Is is something that people feel
is inevitable or simply too overwhelming to address comprehensively?
Later, Dave wrote:
Paul, You hit the nail right on the head but you will never see the
State publish (in print) what you just wrote. We all know that one of
the reasons, if not the main reason, that this problem cannot be solved
is that if someone acknowledges the true problem, then you will be
attacked by the race-baiters. As a result, we as a society peck away at
symptoms of the problem, while politely ignoring the cultural
dysfunction inherent in many black families. Keep in mind there is a
major political party, called Democrats, who give lip service to fixing
the problem, but in reality it is in the Democrats interest to have a
huge voting block living on the welfare plantation….
Paul, demonstrating the sort of lively debate we’d be likely to have at Unparty meetings, came back with:
How do you respond to Dave’s complaint that the State is too timid
about identifying single-parent families as a major source of society’s
Also, it seems to me that on this and other issues our focus should be
on trying to come up with viable solutions/interventions rather than
After all that — and partly because that thread is scattered through a 36-comment conversation among multiple parties, meaning that lots of folks might miss it — I thought I’d respond in a separate post, as follows:
The issue isn’t whether The State is "too timid;" it’s whether there’s a public policy issue to be addressed. In the conventional sense, there’s not. But once you start talking about the state getting into pre-K development, you are into unconventional territory. So let’s explore it.
Up to now, our concern has been what to do with the reality that faces our public schools: There are children out there with only one or no parents — or parents who don’t give a damn about them or their education — and what are we going to do about those kids? We can rant all we want about how that shouldn’t happen, but it does, and it’s not the kids’ fault. So we end up about where Judge Cooper did — we need to do something to help those kids whose parents have failed them. It’s the well-established principle of the state acting in loco parentis under extreme circumstances.
But if you’re talking about acting to prevent such situations from arising, you’re getting into areas that give the civil libertarians fits (which, come to think of it, might be enough reason to go there in and of itself). Are we going to license reproduction … outlaw bastardy … make the term "illegitimate" true to its Latin root, as in "not lawful?" What would be the penalties for the inevitable breaches? And what would you do with the children who are the products of such illegal activity? Actually, that brings us back to where we already are…
Personally, I’m for going the non-governmental route and simply resurrecting shame as a salutary force in our society. I’ve been for that for a long time. My being for it, though, hasn’t done much to stem the tidal wave of shamelessness I see washing all around me.
Maybe we should make shame a plank in the Unparty platform. What do you think?