06 Feb Family Structure & Education Success
February 6, 2013
From the Desk of Carol Soelberg:
There have been many emotions these last 10 days as we have all watched and many of us contributed to the discussion of whether BSA should revoke their long-standing (and long-defended) policy against having openly homosexuals leaders and scouts. Today the Boy Scout Executive Board announced that the decision will be delayed until the National Annual Meeting in May 2013 where approximately 1,400 voting members of the National Council will then take action on the proposed resolution.
A statement from the BSA Executive Board reads in part:
After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy. To that end, the National Executive Board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. (You can view the entire statement here.)
Thank you to all who have contacted BSA leadership to express your opinion. We encourage you to continue giving your input – not only at the national level, but within your local councils as well. This situation is far from being resolved in a manner that guarantees protection for our young people, maintains the standards, and exemplifies the basic values that have made the Boy Scouts successful for the last 103 years. Stay engaged and we will too.
Now on to this week’s alert…
If you’re one of those individuals who longs to please God, live up to your potential, belong to and care for someone, and leave this world a better place than you found it, then I have good news for you! Numerous surveys indicate that YOU are not alone. Most people share those desires. Since the beginning of time those needs and desires have best been accommodated in the natural family setting. That is why it is so puzzling to see the intense effort around the world to restructure society–to eliminate the family as the seedbed of society. This battle is fought on many fronts, some of which are called abortion, gender identity, and same sex “marriage” – each of which weakens and redefines the traditional family.
United Families International is constantly doing all in its power to encourage “individuals and private or public institutions to support policy that maintains and strengthens the family.” In November we shared with you the first of Tom Christensen’s four -part treatise called “The Case for Marriage.” Tom continually teaches “the family is the primary seedbed, cultivator, mentor, and nurturer of mankind.”
In his first article Tom sites marital health studies showing that marriage adds life and health to married partners quoting one study that says “being unmarried holds greater risks than having cancer or heart disease.”
Tom also sites adolescent health studies that show that children from intact homes are more stable emotionally concluding that “adolescents in one-parent families are more that three times as likely to be referred for mental health services.”
I am always amazed at the magnitude of evidence showing the hardship and heartache that comes to individuals via divorce, cohabitation, alternative families, and other forms of family breakdown. I struggle to understand why society continues, like an ostrich with its head in the sand, to accept these growing, yet destructive, trends. These trends bring great harm to adults, but worse still are the countless children who are deeply hurt through no choice of their own. Last month Tom told of the emotional wounds they suffer. This month he shares numerous studies indicating that in the area of educational success, the single strongest asset is—you guessed it—The Family!
We also share an article from another of our college-age family advocates. This time two young adults share their experiences and thoughts on the challenges of working parents and finding quality daycare. Be sure to check it out below.
In closing, may our children learn from our example that the benefits and blessings of having secure marriages and homes are many times worth the work and sacrifice required to maintain them.
President, United Families International
Married Mother/Father Home = Educational Success
On average, children raised by their married father and mother perform at a higher level educationally than children raised by a single parent even after controlling for such factors as income and the mother’s education.1
Studies find a direct correlation between single parent homes and a lesser number of years of education attained.2 Students from single parent homes have lower academic achievement, receive lower grades, and are more likely to repeat grade levels.3
One study found that the average child who lives with both biological parents scored 103 in terms of math achievement, while the average child living with a never married mother scored a 92, a fifteen point difference. 4 Teens from intact families earned an average GPA of 2.85, while those from non-intact families received a 2.6. The gap deepens when the single mother gives birth as a teen; one half of adolescents born to teen parents have failed a grade. 5
Children from intact married families are not only more likely to receive better grades and go to school longer, but teens from intact families experience fewer behavioral problems and are less likely to be expelled or suspended.6 Adolescents from intact homes are perceived by their teachers as being more socially competent.7
Divorce is particularly damaging to a child’s educational performance.8 Yongmin found that children who experienced marital disruptions scored lower on academic tests and had lower academic aspirations before and after the disruptions. With divorce, educational achievement measures were consistently and cumulatively lower across four years.9 Children from divorced families are less likely to complete each stage of schooling. Fewer students complete high school, go to college, and receive a degree.10
Remarriage after divorce is statistically better than cohabitation after divorce.11 However, when compared to the intact family, step families fall short in six areas: grades attained, educational expectations, math, reading, history, and science scores.12
Why the disparity in educational performance between students of single/step families and intact families?
Certainly the breakup of a family is a serious disruption often resulting in feelings of despair and loneliness. Married natural parents, especially those involving a full-time mother, generally have more time, resources, and emotional and physical support. 13 Children of single parents receive less education on average and are less likely to support their own child’s education when they become adults.
A society that is concerned about its future should hold up traditional marriage as the ideal and encourage married couples to have or adopt children. As indicated, there is a direct correlation between family structure and educational success. The related corollary, intact families and increased personal income/economic security, will be covered in a future alert.
Tom Christensen, former CEO of United Families, is a successful father, attorney, and politician. He has written extensively on the natural family and has addressed UN delegations in behalf of UFI in Istanbul, New York, Nairobi, the Hague, Lisbon and Geneva.
Who’s Raising Our Children?
Becca Carl & Caitlyn Green
From the time I was six, both of my parents worked outside the home. The daycare I attended took me to school and picked me up every day. When I was there, we played many games and went outside a lot of the time. I remember there was one teacher taking care of at least 20 children. Often times, after daycare, my grandparents picked me up. I wished that I was home more often, or that I could go straight home after school. So many parents are missing moments of their children’s lives because they are letting other people take care of their children. Read more ….
End Notes for the family and educational success:
1 Blau, P.M. & Duncan, O.D. 1967, “The American Occupational Structure” (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York).
2 Amato, P.R. & Keith, B. 1991, “Consequences of parenta1 divorce for children’s well-being: A meta¬
analysis,” Psychological Bulletin, vol. 110, pp. 26-46.
3 Dawson, D.A. 1991, “Family structure and children’s health and well being: Data from the 1988
National Survey of Child Health,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol. 53, pp. 573-584.
4 Armor, David J., “Maximizing Intelligence” (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers 2003), pp. 51-
5 Aro, H.M. & Palosaari, U.K. 1992, “Parental divorce, adolescence, and transition to young adulthood: A
follow-up study,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 62, pp. 421-429.
6 Fagan, Patrick, A Portrait of Family and Religion in America: Key Outcomes for the Common Good (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation 2006)
7 Forehand, Rex 1987, “Adolescent Functioning as a Consequence of Recent Parental Divorce and the
Parent-Adolescent Relationship” Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 8, pp: 305-
8 Guidubaldi, J., Cleminshaw, H.K., Perry, J.D. & Mcloughlin, C.S. 1983, “The Impact of Parental
Divorce on Children: Report of the Nationwide NASP Study,” School Psychology Review, vol.
12, pp. 300-323.
9 Sun, Yongmin & Li, Yuanzhang 2002, “Children’s Well-Being During Parents’ Marital Disruption
Process: A Pooled Time-series Analysis” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 64, (May) pp: 472-
10 Biblarz, T.J. & Gottainer, G. 2000, “‘Family structure and children’s success: A comparison of widowed
and divorced single mother families,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol. 62, pp. 533-548.
11 Jeynes, W.H. 2000, “The effects of several of the most common family structures on the academic
achievement of eighth graders,” Marriage and Family Review, vol. 30, pp. 73-97.
12 Downey, D.B. 1995, “Understanding academic achievement among children in stephouse-holds: The role of parental resources, sex of stepparent, and sex of child,” Social Forces, vol. 73, pp. 875-894.
13 Fagan, Patrick, supra at note 6.