Letter to the Editor printed in the Spirit of Jefferson on June 23rd, 2021
This letter is to follow up on my testimony at the Jefferson County Board of Education meeting on June 14th, 2021.
While sharing two facts on the importance of family structure to the success of children, Board Chair Ms. Skinner interrupted, as noted below:
My comments: “Let’s not forget that intact family structure and parental support, not race, is the most important factor in student success. The Jefferson County Board of Education would be well advised to adopt policies that recognize this fact. Those youth who graduate from high school, get a full time job and don’t have children before marriage and before age 21 are ten times less likely to live in poverty [Ms. Skinner interjects: “Mr. Urban, please let’s just stick to the topic here and not wander off ”, I reply “That is related, I’m talking about student success. They‘re 10 times less likely to grow up in poverty. That’s an important thing for student success and well-being, emotionally”]. Children living with their mother and her boyfriend are six times more likely to be physically, emotionally, or educationally neglected [Ms. Skinner interjects “Mr. Urban you’ve really gone off topic and your time is actually up]. At this point my virtual meeting connection was disconnected while I was still speaking.
Two take-aways from the above give and take with Ms. Skinner.
- The Board of Education should hear citizens’ comments and not censor them.
- We need to turn the conversation toward which family structures promote student and youth well-being. Father Facts, 5th Edition gives the following data:
Using data drawn from the 1990 test results of 18,000 10th graders who took the Louisiana Graduation Exit Examination, it was found that the percentage of students from single-parent families in schools had a strong negative relation to standardized test scores, and the prevalence of students from single-parent families in schools was a better predictor of academic outcomes that the racial composition of schools.
We need to take a long-term, generational view. Regardless of current family structure, what would you, as a parent, recommend for your children? The overwhelming majority of parents will want their children to abstain from sex before marriage. And as just stated, this is directly linked to student well-being. Therefore, schools should adopt curricula and programs that help youth fulfill the success formula mentioned above; finish high school, get a full time job and don’t have children before marriage and before age 21.