Sunday, June 18, 2017

Poverty, Dropouts, Pregnancy, Suicide: What The Numbers Say About Fatherless Kids : NPR Ed : NPR

Poverty, Dropouts, Pregnancy, Suicide: What The Numbers Say About Fatherless Kids : NPR Ed : NPR:

Poverty, Dropouts, Pregnancy, Suicide: What The Numbers Say About Fatherless Kids

Father leaving family behind
Eva Bee/Getty Images/Ikon Images

The growing number of fatherless children in this country poses one of the the most serious problems in education today, according to best-selling author Alan Blankstein.
He has spent most of his life advocating for kids who struggle in school. He wrote Failure is Not an Option, a guide to creating high-performing schools for all students.
So, just how many kids are fatherless? NPR Ed put that question to Blankstein, who told us that 24.7 million kidsin the U.S. don't live with a biological father.
Our interview with Blankstein has been edited for clarity.
You cite a U.S. Department of Education study that found 39 percent of students, first through 12th grade, are fatherless.
Fatherlessness is having a great impact on education. First of all, it's growing, and the correlations with any number of risk issues are considerable.
Children are four-times more likely to be poor if the father is not around. And we know that poverty is heavily associated with academic success. [Fatherless kids] are also twice as likely to drop out.
Dropping out of school, growing up fatherless and incarceration appear to be connected. One study you cite from 2012 titled, "The Vital Importance of Paternal Presence in Children's Lives," shows that seven out of 10 high school dropouts are fatherless. 
Do school officials acknowledge that this "chain reaction" clearly gets in the way of children's academic success?
You know, I've been in this for 30 years, and when I speak to superintendents, social service people and counselors in schools, they'll easily acknowledge that at the root of kids' [academic] problems, is the lack of a relationship with their father.
Does fatherlessness affect boys differently than girls?
The research that I've seen says that girls are twice as likely to suffer from obesitywithout the father present. They're four-times more likely to get pregnant as teenagers. Boys are more likely to act out, which is why we're more aware [of how they're affected], but if a young girl is imploding, we don' t see it.
What's the role of race and class?
Race and class matter, as it does in everything in America, but the overall trend [of fatherlessness] is up for all families. So we're looking at a 20 percent rate among white Poverty, Dropouts, Pregnancy, Suicide: What The Numbers Say About Fatherless Kids : NPR Ed : NPR:

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