09 Dec Want a better community? Don’t Forget Education AND the Family
For much of my high school experience I attended a private international school in Bangkok, Thailand. The expectations to succeed were high. My classmates were driven and my teachers were inspired. The work was rigorous, but not beyond my capabilities. It was my experiences at this school that I learned how to learn and to be diligent. It was school that instilled within me a desire to attend college and enter into the workforce to provide for myself and others.
However, in my senior year I moved back to the United States. My teachers no longer expected much of me. My classmates seemed to lack a natural drive to learn. My old motivated self became bored and apathetic. Despite this, I had a 4.0. My grades were higher than they had ever been. I knew I did not deserve it. The praise I received from teachers or my parents for my grades meant nothing. I had only met minimum requirements and had learned little in comparison to my previous high school years.
In 2010, 7,000 students in the United States dropped out of school every day. Society has changed and high school drop outs can no longer earn a living wage. This not only effects their individual futures but also is “…responsible for substantial financial and social costs to their communities, states, and country in which they live” (High School Dropouts in America, 2010). Education in the United States is lacking and the consequences are seen within the family and in society.
Poor education negatively affects families in the United States. There is a relationship between intact families and education. Patrick Fagan’s study, “Marriage, Family Structure, and Children’s educational attainment” showed that adolescents from intact biological families were less likely to have low achievement scores, lower expectations for college and lower grades. Families that are not intact have “higher levels of…academic failure and school dropout…The United States experiences increased costs in education…” (Fagan et al. 2011). Individual families and the nation as a whole is affected by poor education. Another article citing Fagan’s research reported the findings of a U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 Community Survey that described a relationship between poor education and intact families. It found that “Large urban counties whose populations are less educated, less affluent, and contain high concentrations of minority groups tend to have lower proportion of two-parent families” (Jones, 2008). Families and children that are less educated tend to live in less intact families.
Lance Lochner’s study, “The Impacts of Education of Crime, Health, Mortality and Civic Participation” observed that poor education negatively affected the morals within the family and within society as a whole. Lochner said the social benefits of education on “…crime and mortality reduction appear to be sizeable…for example, estimates suggest that increasing the high school graduation rate in the United States in 1990 would have resulted in nearly 100,000 fewer crimes, providing an annual benefit valued at more than $2 billion. Social benefits from reductions in mortality are likely to be of similar magnitude” (Lochner, 2011). Greater crime rates results in greater expenses. According to his research, an increase in budget cuts will lead to increased crime rates. In relation to health, Lochner reports that “an additional year of high school improves self-reported health outcomes by 15-30%” (Lochner, 2011). U.S. based studies also estimate that civic participation increases in society when there is an increase in education. An additional year of schooling significantly increases voter registration and voting, “with most impacts ranging from 30% to 40%” (Lochner, 2011). The level of education influences crime, health, mortality, and civic participation. When children are successful in school, these learned values and morals will benefit families and society.
Because I was fortunate enough to experience an education that benefited me and my future decisions, I want others to have the same opportunity. Education begins in the home. A stable marriage and a family that is committed to each other is the environment best suited for a child’s learning. Education contributes to a better society and a better future. Helping all nations to strengthen families will help alleviate problems associated with education.
Fagan, P., Have, L., Chen, W. (2011, September 19). Marriage, Family Structure, and Children’s Educational Attainment. Retrieved from http://marri.us/marriage-structure-education
High School Dropouts in America.(September, 2010). Alliance for Excellent Education. Retrieved from http://all4ed.org.
Lochner, L. (December, 2011). The Impacts of Education on Crime, Health, and Mortality and Civic Participation. Center for Human Capital and Productivity.