Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, August 09, 2014

Education is historically considered to be the thing that levels the playing field, capable of lifting up the less advantaged and improving their chances for success. "Play by the rules, work hard, apply yourself and do well in school, and that will open doors for you," is how Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, puts it. But a study published in June suggests that the things that really make the difference -- between prison and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death -- are money and family. Alexander is one of the authors of "The Long Shadow," which explored this scenario: Take two kids of the same age who grew up in the same city -- maybe even the same neighborhood. What factors will make the difference for each?

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To find the answer, the Hopkins researchers undertook a massive study. They followed nearly 800 kids in Baltimore -- from first grade until their late-20s.

They found that a child's fate is in many ways fixed at birth -- determined by family strength and the parents' financial status.

The kids who got a better start -- because their parents were married and working -- ended up better off. Most of the poor kids from single-parent families stayed poor.

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At the risk of denigrating the people who spent time doing this study, I say "duh".

#1 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-08-07 10:50 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Duh" yes Mustang but also very important in it's way.

Right wingers especially do not want to hear a study like this. It destroys the meme of all it takes is hard work to be a success. Of course there are instances of people growing up in poverty and becoming a success but they are rare. The majority who grow up in poverty stay in poverty. That is where things like school lunch, after school programs, increasing the quality of education can improve the chances of a poor kid turning it around but those things cost money.

Then of course there are those who answer any criticism of generational poverty with "racism" which is beyond stupid as you can find generational poverty in any color household.

It seems most politicians and most "conservatives" would rather spend money policing the world and people's personal lives than spend money trying to improve the chances of some poor kid.

Maybe, just maybe having an actual study will change the course of the conversation.

#2 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-08-07 11:06 AM | Reply | Flag:

So it sounds like the recipe for having successful children is to stay married, don't have children out of wedlock, live within your means, save your money, keep your job. Eureka!

#3 | Posted by Huguenot at 2014-08-07 11:15 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 4

BUT, I presume, based on the exorbitant per-pupil spending in Baltimore County, that school lunch, after-school programs and increasing the quality of education were available during the timeframe this study was conducted and are NOT improving things for these kids who are growing up in single-parent households (which, while not exclusively responsible for the financial situation, greatly contribute to it). Pouring money into educational programs for these kids will not help them if their parents are either too busy or too disinterested to help them and encourage them.

#4 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-08-07 11:17 AM | Reply | Flag:

What Huguenot said. Get married and educated before you have kids. Stay married and raise your kids to share that ethic. Break the cycle.

#5 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-08-07 11:18 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Right wingers especially do not want to hear a study like this." - TaoWarrior

Actually I don't think either side wants to hear it, left wing want money, and the right wing wants family...

That is where things like school lunch, after school programs, increasing the quality of education can improve the chances of a poor kid turning it around but those things cost money.

Because these things destroy the family. Just like immigration, both sides play to their strength when the answer isn't too complex and is right in front of them.

Keeping parents together, owning a home, building a strong family, builds successful societies.

#6 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-08-07 11:19 AM | Reply | Flag:

Yes absolutly and family should be encouraged however it doesn't answer the challenges faced by people already trapped by bad choices or the issue of their kids.

Simply saying you should have gotten and stayed married you should have made yourself a success before having kids doesn't help the kids who's parents didn't. To continue to address the issue simply by saying " Get married and educated before you have kids. Stay married and raise your kids to share that ethic. Break the cycle." will not break the cycle. The kids need more than platitudes.

I don't have the answers but the answers are not relying on the parents that screwed up. It is teaching the kids to rely on themselves. It is teaching them how to be successful so they can break the cycle. It is teaching them the importance of family. Maybe the curriculum of after school programs needs to be revamped. Certainly we need to look at what we are teaching kids. Having one who has graduated from HS I can tell you at no point did the school teach anything about financial responsibility, savings, the power and danger of interest how to parley a skill into an income stream or anything that would help a kid be successful post graduation. If the parents are not teaching it, and they aren't, then the school must or we are destined to maintain the cycle.

#7 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2014-08-07 11:31 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Maybe, just maybe having an actual study will change the course of the conversation."

When was the last time that new facts changed any minds on the right?

#8 | Posted by danni at 2014-08-07 11:33 AM | Reply | Flag:

When was the last time that new facts changed any minds on the right?

When they were democrats?

#9 | Posted by Daniel at 2014-08-07 11:37 AM | Reply | Flag:

"So it sounds like the recipe for having successful children is to stay married, don't have children out of wedlock, live within your means, save your money, keep your job. Eureka!"

Simplistic nonsense. Most people strive to do all of those things but life doesn't always cooperate, those with families willing to help out ususally survive getting educated and then move into jobs that pay enough to live decently, those without such families are forced to do what they have to do to live paycheck to paycheck and the stress of such a life is just too much for many husbands, wives, marriages, families.

#10 | Posted by danni at 2014-08-07 11:38 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

"When they were democrats?"

You're right, when the Democratic Party got behind Civil Rights most Southern Democrats did become Republicans.

#11 | Posted by danni at 2014-08-07 11:39 AM | Reply | Flag:

I thought that the most striking thing is that education does not trump everything else. I was raised with the strong belief that getting an education was your ticket to the top.

It seems like other factors are probably weighing in far more than I thought.

#12 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-08-07 12:01 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"But a study published in June suggests that the things that really make the difference -- between prison and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death -- are money and family."

If people are scratching their heads wondering why members of the Bush and Kennedy families are such "over-achievers" all you have to do is put two and two together. It has very little to do with qualifications or talent.

This goes along with the absolute shameless nepotism of former big actors in Hollywood too. Money and Big Family/Name influence does somehow "miraculously" open a lot of doors.

It's not rocket science, Folks.

#13 | Posted by shane at 2014-08-07 04:46 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"When they were democrats?"

That went so far over Danni's head she didn't even see it.

#14 | Posted by eberly at 2014-08-07 05:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

#13

outrageously connected and wealthy families wasn't the point of the article.

They were referring to stable middle class families where mom and dad are married.

financial and structural stability. Kids see mom dad love each other, put their marriage first, keep a job, and manage money with some responsibility....gee, they might emulate those traits.

#15 | Posted by eberly at 2014-08-07 05:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

They were referring to stable middle class families where mom and dad are married.
#15 | Posted by eberly

Your trans- bias towards marriage is showing! :)

#16 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-08-07 05:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

"So it sounds like the recipe for having successful children is to stay married, don't have children out of wedlock, live within your means, save your money, keep your job. Eureka!"

simplistically true. Most folks strive for this but if they can't manage to make better choices......their kids are less likely to succeed.

#17 | Posted by eberly at 2014-08-07 05:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

#16

yes....you're right.

#18 | Posted by eberly at 2014-08-07 05:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

"outrageously connected and wealthy families wasn't the point of the article.

They were referring to stable middle class families where mom and dad are married."

#15 | Posted by eberly

Yeah, you're right, but I couldn't help but launch.

#19 | Posted by shane at 2014-08-07 06:27 PM | Reply | Flag:

Family is the key to fiscal responsibility. If you don't have a strong family, money isn't going to do you any good.

Sounds like the government needs to promote strong families over and above handing out money to people.

Once those individuals become strong families, they will also notice their financial situation improves over time, especially generations.

Kill the strength of the family, kill the progress.

A real progressive stance in today's world would be to promote the importance of marriage above children, the importance of children in the marriage (but no the sole focus to be held above ones spouse), and work.

It isn't going to happen, too many government programs are consciously or or subconsciously fighting against the family or giving people reason not to pursue a strong family over the alternatives.

#20 | Posted by HeuristicGratis at 2014-08-08 09:43 AM | Reply | Flag:

#12 If that surprises you, it doesn't seem like you got all that great of an education.

#21 | Posted by HeuristicGratis at 2014-08-08 09:45 AM | Reply | Flag:

it doesn't seem like you got all that great of an education.

Apparently not. Thank you for pointing out this gap in my training HG. I will try to do better in the future. Perhaps you can point me in the right direction? Are foxnews.com and theblaze.com good places to start?

#22 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-08-08 02:31 PM | Reply | Flag:

#22 Common sense is a good start. A breakdown of the family leads to a breakdown of society. The family is the smallest social unit. If it is unhealthy, you can be sure unhealthy trends will multiply exponentially as you move farther outward.

Pretty simple.

#23 | Posted by HeuristicGratis at 2014-08-09 12:12 AM | Reply | Flag:

Pretty simple.

But I thought it was all due to individual effort. Make up your mind! Do social factors matter or not?

#24 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2014-08-09 01:58 AM | Reply | Flag:

A good education requires a social and technical infrastructure to develop and employ. Offshoring manufacturing is a self destructive policy.

#25 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-08-09 11:15 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I think this actually DOES make the case for right wingers because it means that people who concentrate on standard and traditional family values have children who are better off. Individual responsibility matters less for YOU but more for your children. If you can better yourself in either category, your children will be better off.

Now we need to see if families helped by social programs are better off than families in the same category who did not take certain social programs.

We may even be able to see which programs work and which do not with the same data. Then we can cancel some things and spend money where it works.

#26 | Posted by LEgregius at 2014-08-09 07:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

This is what is very interesting...

"Whites of advantaged background had the highest percentages who did all three of those things -- that was binge drinking, any drug use and heavy drug use." But, it says, they had the highest upward mobility.

So they family and family affluence both contributed to, early on, and then completely negated foolish behavior as a teenager.

#27 | Posted by LEgregius at 2014-08-09 07:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

Another ------ lie bites the dust. But this won't stop them from repeating the lie poor people are poor because they're lazy.

#28 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-08-09 08:04 PM | Reply | Flag:

So what's the rightwing plan for getting poor children better parents and families? Or are they just SOL?

#29 | Posted by WhoDaMan at 2014-08-09 10:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

A study like this nothing more than a Rorschach test since it doesn't give the most important information to make it useful: Why do these two factors mean so much.

Without that answer the study will simply be interpreted within the bias of the world view of the reader.

One side will say: "Duh! Of Course! Society today is unfairly engineered by the wealthy so that only the rich will prosper."

The other side will say: "Duh! Of Course! Those with financial responsibility set a valuable example for their kids. Success favors those that see the example of their hard-working and responsible parents."

There there are some, like me, that will say: Yes, there are barriers to success, but most of those are inherent in reality. The playing field will NEVER be even. We can take some of the edge off and a bit to help those that help themselves. But ultimately a person is responsible for their own path in life. If they choose a poor one they can either re-evaluate, adapt, and overcome... or they will fail. One of the keys to success is the example set by your family. It can also be helped or hindered by your family as they should be your first and greatest support network. Either way, it has been proven that those without that advantage CAN succeed so don't accept those excuses for failure.

#30 | Posted by moomanfl at 2014-08-10 07:34 PM | Reply | Flag:

We can take some of the edge off and a bit to help those that help themselves.

That should have read: We can take some of the edge off and a bit to help those that CAN'T help themselves.

That being said, I am also not against lending some assistance in certain cases to those that are honestly trying their best to help themselves and just need that little extra leg up. I think this concept is heavily abused though and not enough effort goes into determining who is truly trying to help themselves and to what degree.

#31 | Posted by moomanfl at 2014-08-10 07:41 PM | Reply | Flag:

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