"Why don't you guys study like the kids from Africa?"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.
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.
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