On Top of the News
The Terrible Loneliness of Growing Up Poor in Robert Putnam’s America
3/8/15 | Washington Post
Behind the Headline
One-Parent Students Leave School Earlier
Spring 2015 | Education Next
In a long article in Sunday’s Washington Post, Emily Badger writes about Robert Putnam’s new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. The book documents the decline in equality of opportunity in the U.S. using both anecdotes and data. It makes vivid the gap between “children born to educated parents who are more likely to read to them as babies, to drive them to dance class, to nudge them into college themselves — and children whose parents live at the edge of economic survival.”
Spend any time listening to Putnam talk, and suddenly evidence of the phenomenon he’s describing pops up everywhere. It’s on the bus, when a frazzled young mother doesn’t have the patience to play “I Spy” with her child. It’s in the news, when another study confirms that children from single-parent homes finish fewer years of school. It’s at the local school board meeting, where taxpayers don’t want to pay for full-day kindergarten.
The study on the impact of single-parenthood on educational attainment was published in Education Next last month: “One-Parent Students Leave School Earlier: Education Attainment Gap Widens,” by Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, Greg J. Duncan and Ariel Kalil.