Sunday, March 12, 2006

NYC Public Schools & The Absent Father

The New York Daily News published an article today about the low high school graduation rates of boys in the New York City high schools. The article by Kathleen Lucadamo stated that the four year graduation rate for girls was 50% compared to a 37% graduation rate for boys. Further, the article showed that the high school dropout rate was 13% for girls compared to 17% for boys. When you consider the pregnent girls usually do not graduate in four years, you would think the dropout rate for girls would be much higher than boys. The article compared the fourth-grade and eigth-grade students that were able to meet the New York State reading and math standards and found that the fourth-grade girls averaged 10% higher and eigth grade girls 8% higher in the reading test and yes the girls averaged 4% higher on the math tests for the two grades. Why are boys faring so poorly in the New York City public schools?


First, the article stated some of the blame lies in the absence of male elementary school teachers to serve as role models for the boys. Second, is the emphasis on testing. The article states that testing means a more structured classroom and boys don't respond well to a structured environment. Therefore, they don't test as well as girls. Third, the emphasis on academics mean less time for recess and physical education which is an outlet for the energy that boys need to release. Fourth, school has become more academic and less vocational which affects more boys than girls. While all of these factors may (or may not) have an effect on the boys poor performance in school the main reason is being overlooked. The absence of a father in the family structure.


A liberal radio talk host, Sam Greenfield, stated that 90% of all men in prison came from a single family household, a shockingly high figure. It is safe to say very few of these single family households are headed by fathers. The importance of a biological father in the family unit has been time and again shown to be extremely important, especially to boys. However, for some reason it seems not to be politically correct to bring this up when talking about education. Ask any dean when they deal with problem boys how few have biological fathers in their family unit. Yet we seem to ignore this very important factor. Is it just coincidence that as an increase in the percentage of single mother headed households occur the boys are falling behind the girls in school? I don't think so.

Is it any wonder that the boys are doing poorly in school? Look who they have as a role model? A father that has abandoned the family, probably not financially supporting the children, and maybe in jail or disappeared? The pity is that many educators tiptoe around this reason why many boys are doing poorly in school. They bring up nebulous factors (lack of male teachers in the elementary schools-always been that way) and trying to connect two independent factors (testing and physical activity- a real streach). While I do agree that the lack of vocational courses can affect boys more than girls, the lack of a father is by far is the real cause of the poor educational results for boys.

It is time that the political, community, and educational leaders stop their grandstanding and take on the real cause of the boys poor performance in schools. The absent father in the family structure!

10 comments:

no_slappz said...

The irresponsibility of absent fathers is not the concern of the public school system.

Moreover, it is not even clear that it is the fathers who are initially irresponsible, though many certainly are subsequent to the births of their children.

What we're now dealing with is the unintended consequences of liberal policies that reward foolish behavior. At the same time and as part of the same liberal philosophy, we've granted students the right to misbehave while taking away the power of teachers to minimize the misbehavior.

No new policies from those who gave us the existing policies will improve or repair the disaster we live with in public education.

However, it's not surprising that private schools experience far less nonsense than do public schools. What's their secret?

Chaz said...

no slappz;

The secret is simple, the private schools expell disciplinary problems and parents better supervisor their kids since they are paying big bucks to send them there. Otherwise I agree with you on the social policies that have resulted in the problem discussed in my article.

no_slappz said...

chaz, it is no secret that private schools can expel troublemakers.

The power of that fact stems from the realization that parents -- or parent, as there are many divorced parents in the private school crowd -- know the value of a real education.

An education has no value to the person who cannot grasp the concept of value. For that reason, the public and the public school system would fare far better if habitually absent students were simply tossed from the system.

However, I support the idea of letting them come back when they're ready willing and able.

Chaz said...

no_slappz;

You get no disagreement on expelling the troublemakers. However, if you really believe the lack of a father is not a major factor in a boys education than we most certainly disagree.

no_slappz said...

chaz, there is no question the absence of a father is harmful to kids.

But the school system cannot function as a surrogate parent.

Meanwhile, though kids benefit from living with two married parents, it's not clear that kids who have grown up without fathers would have fared better had their fathers been present.

Those fathers are absent for a few reasons, not the least of which is their total irresponsibility.


Would the presence of such people in the lives of their children improve the futures for those kids? Doubtful.

Chaz said...

no_slappz;

The lack of responsibility by these men is the cause of the absent father.
If society made these men owe up to their responsibility they would be better role models to their children.

no_slappz said...

chaz,

To suggest the force of law would create better parents is almost laughable.

First, we would never reach agreement on the definition of "good parenting" or "good fathering".

Second, the troubled and immature fathers who abandon pregnant women or ditch their young families offer no benefits to children by their presence in the home.

Furthermore, the liberal tilt of our lawmaking and social safety nets has pretty much eliminated the economic need for a father to remain in a poor household.

If you want to legislate for better parents, support initiatives that give children the legal standing to sue biological parents who abandon them.

Let dopes like Bill Cosby, who had his illegitimate daughter prosecuted, submit to mediation to determine reasonable amounts of support.

Or Randy Johnson.

Professional athletes have ignored way too many of their children for years. If they are forced to face the music for every biological child they leave in the hands of fate, perhaps that message will drift down to the other dopes who so greatly admire athletes and other celebrities who shirk their parental roles.

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