Posts Tagged ‘Po Bronson’

American Parents, Family Policy, and Courts Contribute to Poor Student Performance

September 26th, 2010 3 comments

The recent release of Davis Guggenheim’s film Waiting for Superman has contributed to a flurry of discussion over how to fix failing American schools. I’ve read quite a bit on thoughts regarding school reform and find that there is a striking absence of discussion of American family policies and the abusive family law courts as major contributors to poor student performance. Yet studies show that divorce has a major negative impact on student performance.

(from More Studies Show Divorce Hurts Kids’ Education)

Adverse impact of divorce upon education has skyrocketed as divorce has been more common. Divorces in 1920 caused a 3.6 month loss of education, but since 1970 they have blown up to about a year in lost education. This timeframe roughly corresponds with the rise of “no fault divorce” in Western nations.

Multiple divorces had an even worse impact on high school graduation rates. While students who parents stay together average a 78.4% rate of graduation from high school by age 20, one divorce drops the graduation rate to 60%, about the same as for children whose mother or father died. Divorce and remarriage did not significantly change the graduation rates for children versus divorce with no remarriage. But with divorce-remarriage-divorce (two divorces), the graduation rate drops further to only about 40%, half of that for children whose parents remained married.

Parties as diverse as social scientists, economists, and national security experts point out that America’s under-performing educational system is a threat to the future of the nation. The United States has long maintained the economic and military superiority over its adversaries that lead to a secure and prosperous nation in large part due to the educational opportunities available to American children. Universal K-12 education means every child is supposed to have access to the knowledge and skills needed to get a start in life. American universities attract the best and brightest students from around the world. The inventiveness of these students is immense. They often become scientists, entrepreneurs, and other major contributors to the advancement of knowledge and wealth of the nation.

America’s academic performance has been on a steady downward slope for decades. This decline parallels the destruction of families via no-fault divorce that has made divorce far more common as well as the laws and court behaviors that create conflict and place children into traumatic and contentious custody battles. Often these children are stripped of most or all contact with one of their parents due to wrongful sole custody decisions and the courts enabling and encouraging parental alienation child abuse. The two phenomena of poor school performance and poor family life are directly related. While parents do make their own share of mistakes, failed government policies are the glue that binds together these interconnected disasters into a destructive spiral.
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