Yesterday’s State of the Union address was a surprise to this author. It wasn’t leftist extremism, it was moderate get-along-ism. Not bad, considering the times.
The president almost stumbled onto something significant when he said, “It’s family that first instills the love of learning
in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.” Maybe I’ve missed it, but this is the first time the president (any president) has mentioned the family in a long time.
What is first impressive about his statement is that it infers, as is true, that parents are the primary educators. What is disappointing is his failure to tie the break-down of the family to the failure of our schools and America’s diminishing rank in the world.
Schools don’t need more money, they need more parents. The divorce crisis has wrecked havoc in urban school districts, where divorce rates are highest. Students from intact two parent households perform significantly better than their divorced or single-parent counterparts.
K. Marvin Moss, in the Kansas City Star [link], relates studies of elephant
families to human families. Not surprisingly, he reports, family units where the fathers are absent, adolescent elephants become selfish, disrespectful, and lazy, refusing to do work that adolescent elephants in tribes with fathers do not question. Our families have gone through the same. Schools where divorce rates are highest are no longer training grounds for jobs and civic responsibility, they are training grounds for welfare and prison.
President Obama just needs to take that one extra step, recognize that divorce is the cause of our educational crisis. Failure is happening in the homes, not the schools — and that this needs to be addressed before America can once again succeed.