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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Old Theme, New Presentation

High School English Teacher Patrick Welsh, who has been writing periodic OpEds for The Sunday Washington Post for at least 20 years, has one out today on missing fathers—Making the Grade Isn't About Race. It's About Parents.  Mr Welsh teaches at the well financed T C Williams High School, in Alexandria, Virginia.
"Why don't you guys study like the kids from Africa?"

In a moment of exasperation last spring, I asked that question to a virtually all-black class of 12th-graders who had done horribly on a test I had just given. A kid who seldom came to class -- and was constantly distracting other students when he did -- shot back: "It's because they have fathers who kick their butts and make them study."

Another student angrily challenged me: "You ask the class, just ask how many of us have our fathers living with us." When I did, not one hand went up.
Further down in the OpEd piece teacher Welsh talks about the School Superintendent and his own school's administrators and how they don't understand this very important point about fathers.

Mr Welch does mention Ronald Ferguson's Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap.  Mr Ferguson is the director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard.  Another book to add to my list.

I guess that is another book I am going to have to read.  In the mean time, I wonder to what extent the "missing father" is a problem in our own schools.  Does anybody know?  Has anybody asked those running for School Committee?

If the "missing father" is a real factor and if it is a factor in Lowell, then we are going to have to see some creativeness if we are going to overcome this hurdle.  And, frankly, reading Teacher Welsh from time to time, I don't find him someone to be blowing smoke.  He is a straight shooter.  I accept that this as a real problem, although perhaps not so much in Lowell, but I would like to be sure.

I got to this article via a hat tip from Instapundit, who referenced this blog on the issue by the Advice Goddess, Amy Alkon.  Ms Alkon adds some thoughts to this issue and has some comments from readers.

Regards  —  Cliff


Renee said...

The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children
User Manual Series (2006)
Author(s): Office on Child Abuse and Neglect
Rosenberg, Wilcox
Year Published: 2006
Including the relationship they have with the child's mother and education.

Also the

Text of S. 1309: Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009
President Barach Obama was a co-sponser of this bill in 2006 when he was a Senator.

Currently our tax code is not geared to low-income marriage. Even with a good moderate income, my husband and I could be more financial well-off in the end game if we were not married and he listed himself living with his parents.

Also try David Blankenhorn's with Brain Wilcox on how children are affected with fatherlessness and divorce. Many of their books at the library.

Shawn said...

Bill Cosby, Clarence Thomas, Gen Colin Powell have all spearheaded this issue for years.

It is a major problem in our city schools.