Giving Compass’ Take:
• Claudio Sanchez talks with author Alan Blankstein about the unfortunate statistics regarding fatherless children and the effects this has on their education.
• How can schools be better about recognizing signs of behavior issues with fatherless children and how can they work towards providing either interventions or safe spaces for those children to go to?
• Read about how some schools are running community and family initiatives to foster deeper engagement and drive student success.
The growing number of fatherless children in this country poses one of the most serious problems in education today, according to best-selling author Alan Blankstein. So, just how many kids are fatherless? NPR Ed put that question to Blankstein, who told us that 24.7 million kids in the U.S. don’t live with a biological father.
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. One study from 2012 titled, “The Vital Importance of Paternal Presence in Children’s Lives,” shows that seven out of 10 high school dropouts are fatherless.
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 fathers who are absent in their children’s lives, 31 percent for Hispanics, 57 percent for African-Americans.
It’s a tragic outcome that could be prevented. The inclusion of a father is possible, especially if he’s interested. But [often fathers are] being denied, and that’s not unusual. When a father’s access to his child is minimized or kept to every other weekend, the father is not involved with his child or his child’s school.
I don’t see a lot of interventions happening in schools. I think [successful] interventions are happening in a random way, at best. Like the case of John Marshall Elementary in Philadelphia. They’re working with a [city-wide] commission on families to include fathers in promoting the academic well-being of students. Most schools don’t recognize or engage fathers [who’ve been absent].
Read the full interview with Alan Blankstein about fatherless children by Claudio Sanchez at NPR.
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