Acton Institute Powerblog

Back to School, Back to Parents

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As the new school year begins, Anthony Bradley reflects on the role of the parent in creating educational success. “Overall, children in loving, stable two-parent homes have an academic and social advantage over those who do not,” he writes.

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Jonathan Spalink


  • Public Schools have failed. It’s time to acknowledge them for what they are – daycare. I grew up in a single parent home, I never went to school, and we lived well below the poverty line. Doesn’t that sound tragic? I was tested by the public school system when I was thirteen to determine my grade level, they found that I had already graduated. By the time I was eighteen, I had earned my first post-secondary degree.

    The reason so many children can’t grasp the simplest concepts presented at school has very little to do with whether they have one or two parents. Every statistic I have seen for the past ten years confirms that attending a public school has become a detriment to ones education, at it’s best it is an inefficient system. I thought that the recent school shootings would be the last nail in the coffin. What will it take for people to lose faith in this system, and establish an effective one?

    There will always be broken homes. School on the other hand, is entirely self-inflicted.

  • Michelle Condon

    Be careful what you wish for. Some of us working women no longer have spouses because of domestic violence. Studies show that children are much healthier if their mothers aren’t beaten or killed before their very eyes. My child "from a broken home" is a healthy well rounded honor student athelete who is regularly exposed to moral discussions, attends church regularly, and is taught that her father, although less than ideal, is still her father, and loves her in his own controlling manner.
    Instead of tsk-tsking these single mothers who are not blessed with the education and thus financial resources that I have in order to hire help and have to work multiple jobs at minimum wage leaving them little or no time to spend one on one with their children….help them. Offer to tutor their child, mow their lawns now and then, help with the ironing, change the oil on their cars, make them a meal ….you get my drift. You will undoubtedly find that their children do as well as mine.

    No one goes into marriage that I have ever met expecting to divorce but one partner cannot keep a marriage healthy and if the other won’t cooperate their isn’t a lot the other can do. I am so tired of hearing the rhetoric of doom and gloom and judgement passed by those who haven’t bothered to see what really is going on out there or even to lend a hand to a very stressed young parent who is trying their darndest to give their children what they need to even eat, be clothed, and sleep in a safe place.

  • Gloria

    I am a soon to be single mom. I am very concerned about my baby’s well being because she loves her dad very much. She is only 4 yrs old. But I know in my heart that this is the best decision for her best interest. She can’t live in a household where there is fight and mental abuse. She can’t live with a mother who is successful professionally and with a father that doesn’t strive for success. I have been doing EVERYTHING for her since birth, like a parent should do. My dad once told me that being a parent is being willing to sacrifice.
    I believe I am sacrificing my commodity for my child’s well being, even though this means she won’t live with her father and won’t have the biological family structure desired by any child. But she will have love, education, structure (my sister, her husband, my mom and dad and even her own dad), security and all the things that I will make sure she needs in order to be a secured, happy child.

  • Scott Reeder

    I have a hard time believing that better choices can’t be made before we say "I do". If your mate is a scoundrel and you hope to change him (or her) forget it – it’s not gonna happen. And if you make a mistake and bring another life into the mix… The data is there, and only recently have we seen people trying to say the kids aren’t affected by all this. I guess because divorce is so prevalent, they figure children of divorce are now the majority and have others who can empathize. It’s time to stop pussy-footing around the issue and showing some of the same backbone our parents and grandparents showed when things got tough for them.