Saturday, March 21, 2015

Responsible Parenting and Number of Kids

 In G2A Performance Factors we never did really talk about the topic, however it did take an interesting twist. Jerry explained that "Poor folks don't have the means for home or online schooling, to move elsewhere, nor to pay for private/parochial schools. They may not even have money to pay for transportation for alternate enrollment or non-public charters." I find this interesting because of the causality / correlation , why are poor people poor concepts, and since Jerry is usually a big fan of accepting personal responsibility. (ie ProLife)

So here are my thoughts / questions in no particular order:
  • Unlucky kids have negligent, irresponsible or unqualified Parents, this results in the child not receiving good parental support, guidance, discipline and/or advocacy.
  • Doesn't having more kids than you can afford to raise on your own income automatically  qualify one as an negligent, irresponsible and/or unqualified.
  • Doesn't having one or more unplanned pregnancy(ies) and keeping the baby(ies) while you are young, unmarried and/or immature automatically  qualify one as an negligent, irresponsible and/or unqualified. (see Atlantic link)
  • TP says "most women who receive welfare from the state have a similar number of children as those who don’t".  Of course they think that is okay.  Personally I think that is terribly troubling for the children of the welfare recipients.
  • My wife and I thought about having a 4th and decided for many practical reasons that 3 was what we could effectively handle.  And that is with 2 highly engaged and relatively capable Parents sharing responsibilities.
  • So Jerry seems to say that the poor should get special dispensation from the Public School system because of their economic state, even though the school system works pretty well for people with responsible Parents who are in a long term stable relationship. Be it marriage or life partners.
  • Thoughts?
Atlantic Luxury of Waiting
Freakonomics: Kids - Normal or Inferior Goods?
Think Progress: Welfare Caps
HP Poor People Do Not Deserve Children

"It's harder to plan when you're poor. People without college degrees tend to be poorer, and poverty has been shown to tax the brain’s capacity for rational decision-making.

To a wealthy person, of course it doesn’t make sense for a high-school dropout to have a kid by herself. But as Maria Konnikova wrote in the New York Times this weekend, poverty actually robs you twice: First by making resources scarce, and second by making it harder for the poor to plan long-term. “The demands of the moment override the demands of the future, making that future harder to reach,” she writes." Atlantic

"Reminder: When you get rich you buy more of a “normal good,” and less of an “inferior good.” And yes, the language of economics can be a bit cold." Freak

In a related paper, Alice Schoonbroodt and Michele Tertilt say that, “There is overwhelming empirical evidence that fertility is negatively related to income in most countries at most times.” They are right. Whether you cut the data across countries, through time, or across people at a point in time, the same fact arises: The richer you get, the fewer kids you have. Yep, kids aren’t normal." Freak

"The caller said, "People who are poor do not deserve to have children. I've seen these people with 1,2, 5 children. If you can't afford to feed them, don't have them."It's easy to dismiss this as the ravings of a lunatic but the truth is that this mentality is all too pervasive, even though it is repulsive both as a matter of public policy and as a moral value." HP



41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never understood this correlation causation thing. Correlation may not prove causation but it certainly is evidence of it. And for a lot of pursuits in this life, it's evidence enough. In a world where it's absolutely necessary to reach conclusions, and where causation is often difficult to prove, correlation is what we must settle for.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

You make a lot of inferences from my past comments, but that's OK. What you are not connecting is that my belief in personal responsibility doesn't end with the parent who made a bad decision, say to have a kid out of wedlock. We cannot penalize the KID for that decision, after the fact, and we shouldn't be further punishing the parent by disallowing her from doing the right thing-- making BETTER decisions-- AFTER the mistake was made. Then of course we have the responsibility that falls on the schools to educate that kid REGARDLESS of the parent's marital status. And the responsibility all of us have to make sure our education system is providing equal opportunity to everybody. I cannot imagine you can claim that today.

John said...

Hiram,
What does the correlation between black students and academic failure guide you to do?

My point is that without causation, one is only guessing.

Anonymous said...

"What does the correlation between black students and academic failure guide you to do?"

The same thing that it tells me about white kids who fail. That some kids don't study enough.

--Hiram

John said...

Jerry,
This statement sounds very socialistic. (ie equal outcomes)

"responsibility all of us have to make sure our education system is providing equal opportunity to everybody"

Actually we owe citizens a "Uniform system of public schools – The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools. The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state."

Now the current uniform system of Public Schools work fine for most Minnesotans. It seems to fall apart almost exclusively when the Parents of the students fail to fulfill their obligations of being a responsible and/or supportive Parent.

John said...

Hiram,
So since more Black kids fail than White kids, then apparently Black kids must not study as much?

So then are the poor academic results of Black students, a failure on their part or their Parents fault?

I think this why we need Causation. Otherwise we fall into stereotypes.

John said...

Jerry,
Next you will be telling me that the responsibility of government programs is to ensure "equal opportunity" to everyone. It seems you want government to take responsibility for the lazy, irresponsible, and not too smart.

This does not sound like a Conservative viewpoint. Are you sure you are not a closet Liberal?

John said...

Let's play with a stereotype: as unmarried welfare mom who did not graduate high school has 3 mixed race sons from 3 different fathers. She does not know much about parenting and in no way prepares her brood for school. In fact a couple of them have special needs because of substance abuse problems of a parent.

So at 5 years these very challenging boys enter school, with no knowledge, no skills, poor communication skills, and poor behavior skills. And to make things worse, Mom is still dumb, irresponsible and broke. Therefore the boys are drug from school to school as she hooks up with different men and/ or finds different places to live.

I think she loves and wants to care for her boys, however she does not have the knowledge, discipline and/or skills to do so.

From your view, do you really expect the schools to ensure these "gypsy" boys graduate from high school with B's? (ie equal opportunity)

Laurie said...

What is the point of complaining about parents.

Why not focus on what the low achieving students need such as extended school year, maybe extended school day, maybe more intervention teachers. I'd like to have all 3 of those things at my school.

John said...

Laurie,
We spend a ton of words talking about how to fix schools and help unlucky students.

I think discussing this primary root cause of the achievement gap problem is worth a few words.

On the average, how many kids do your poor Somali parents choose to have? Are they typically two parent families or single?

Laurie said...

Somali families are large and some have only one parent. I think large families are part of their culture and that it may take a couple of generations to change.

John said...

So let's summarize this part of the problem... Most middle and upper income academically capable people tend to have 0 to 3 children, and they wait until they are more mature, more financially stable and likely married or in a stable relationship. On top of this they have more money and better jobs because they are more academically capable, speak English well, fit in at businesses, etc. Even with all this, parenting is hard.

Where as many of the children in Minneapolis come from households that are somewhat the opposite of above. Be they families that have more kids than they can "afford" for cultural or religious reasons. Or the young women who have kids to be a Mom, or are just irresponsible / addicted.

Now this seems like a "structural" problem... The parents with lucky kids are having fewer children, and
the parents with unlucky kids are having more children. No wonder the schools are struggling.

Laurie said...

If schools are holding steady in their test scores as their student population becomes more at risk they are doing pretty well,

John said...

Is there any way to reverse this?

Is there anyway we can encourage low income and/or academically challenged people to:

- delay having children until they have gotten a GED.

- delay having children until they are in a long term healthy relationship.

- delay having kids until they have some kind of stable income.

- limit themselves to 1 or 2 kids, or whatever they can afford.

John said...

Laurie,
That is my typical point, the school system can improve but I think they are only 20% of the problem...

The lion's share rests with the Parent's and the communities. That of course is why the poor scores are restricted to certain neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

"So then are the poor academic results of Black students, a failure on their part or their Parents fault?"

I think what parents do influences how their kids do in school, but that's just a correlation. I can't prove causation.

The problem with causation isn't that you need it, it's that you don't have it. Nor can we afford to set around and do notthing until we get it.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

"Is there any way to reverse this?"

YES! Stop allowing the schools to shirk their duties and actually educate these kids so we don't produce another generation of poor-decision-making baby-makers. All that blaming the parents does is allow the schools to continue to do a crappy job of creating equal opportunity -- NOT equal results-- to allow poor kids to escape poverty as adults.

Unless you are willing to say that kids fail BECAUSE they are poor and black, then 100% of the blame has to fall on the schools. It isn't fair to blame a kid, or his parents, for not having what you never gave him.

jerrye92002 said...

"...a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state."

Anybody want to suggest that we have what is constitutionally mandated here? Are all kids "throughout the state" educated "thorough[ly] and efficient[ly]"?

Our urban schools have a difficult task in bringing the unfortunate kids up to where the fortunate ones naturally are. But most of them simply dangle that prize several feet above those kids' heads. Laurie repeatedly demonstrates that schools know how to do better but most do not do it.

Blame the parents ONLY AFTER you have done as much as you possibly can with the kids, and told the parents how they can help. Don't blame the parents for not knowing what you haven't told them, or the kids for not knowing what you never showed them.

John said...

Jerry,
You seem to want "equal results" not "equal opportunity"...

From what you say above, it seems that you want Public Schools to teach Parents how to Parent.

And repeatedly our Public schools have said that they want funding to:
- start these kids much earlier (early education)
- keep these kids in school more hours per year

Both of which you resist.

By the way, I am happy to say kids fail because they have poorly educated, irresponsible, unmotivated, undisciplined, negligent, not mainstreamed, and/or incompetent Parents.

The irony of course is that these Parents are often poor because they are poorly educated,irresponsible, unmotivated, undisciplined, negligent, not mainstreamed, and/or incompetent Parents.

Now that is some wonderful logical causation. And it reminds us that this has nothing to do with Race, Poverty, etc, it has to do with individual Parents and the life choices they are making.

jerrye92002 said...

Once again, you seem willing to let the schools off the hook because a few parents may have been irresponsible in the past or, through little fault of their own, ended up uneducated and in poverty. [BTW, a question: how do some parents end up undereducated in the first place? Is it not the schools that failed the parents that are now failing the kids? When do we "break the cycle"?]

I am simply not willing to say that 50-80% of kids in certain schools are doomed to fail because they have "bad parents." As you are fond of pointing out, HCZ does parent education along with whatever they do to educate the kids, and it works. The public schools don't have both hands tied behind their backs, here. Maybe they can't do it all, but they first must quit blaming the parents for not making choices when they do not OFFER any choices.

As for funding for these additional programs, I say the same thing every time somebody asks for more. "What did you do with the last $2 Billion we gave you?" Sure, all those things look good on paper, but shouldn't we be asking the schools to show they are doing better with what they already have (highest in the world) before giving them more?

John said...

"a few parents may have been irresponsible in the past or, through little fault of their own, ended up uneducated and in poverty"

Since there are just a few of these folks and it was not "their fault", maybe we should do as the Liberals ask and give them more welfare / early ed so that they can raise their children better. And maybe pay for those couple of abortions per year.

Oh, I forgot that you are not a big supporter of Medicaid, ACA, abortion and/or Welfare benefits.

So how do rationalize:

- wanting to force Parents to give birth to the children they irresponsibly conceived

- insisting that your tax dollars not be used to raise their kid.

- then insisting that the schools are responsible to ensure those poorly supported kids are fully academically capable

Does it ever get confusing keeping these internally inconsistent beliefs straight?

- Society can force you to have a baby if you are irresponsible and conceive one when you are not prepared.

- But society shouldn't help you raise it because you need to held accountable.

- But society's school system shall make this child normal and successful, no matter how irresponsible the Parents are.

- Even though we will not fund, support or allow society's school system to seriously interact with the child until it has been conditioned for 5 years by the irresponsible Parent(s) who conceived the unwanted child.

You really need to study the HCZ Programs a bit more.

John said...

I do agree with you that improvements need to be made in the school system, if they were more effective and efficient they could offer more services with the same money.

jerrye92002 said...

I think where you are getting lost is the idea that handing out free abortions and free health care and free cash welfare encourages responsible parenting, somehow, when I think it should be obvious that the opposite is true. Paying for irresponsible behavior simply gets you more of it. Now, after "poor choices" are made, the parent should suffer some consequences, like not living in perpetual idleness, but we should be looking to break that cycle as quickly as possible and not allow that "lifestyle" to be passed on to the kid. Now, educating the parent "the hard way" about responsible choices is one thing, but educating the kid the "easy" way (in the schools) is quite another.

Again, you seem determined to reward bad choices, and then punish the kids for the bad choices their parents made, while letting the schools completely off the hook. How about this compromise: We'll have welfare reform that provides necessary benefits for a fixed period but requires vocational training and work, while offering parent and other "good living" education (maybe through churches). Then, we will put a voucher in the hand of every parent and let them choose a school for their kid, including the publics. Educate parents about that choice. Those public schools doing a "good job" will continue right on, and those that are failing will go "out of business" as soon as enough alternatives pop up in the "marketplace." This will make both the parents and the schools more responsible, rather than one blaming the other as we currently have.

jerrye92002 said...

"I do agree with you that improvements need to be made in the school system,..."

We keep agreeing on that but never seem to go beyond it. I am reminded of the old "light bulb" joke about psychiatrists, rewritten to apply to the schools: How many schools does it take to change academic outcomes? Answer: Just one, but the school really has to WANT to change. I see a lot of lip service and not very much in way of results. I'm impatient. Shall we talk about reconstituting schools again?

John said...

"we should be looking to break that cycle as quickly as possible and not allow that "lifestyle" to be passed on to the kid."

Your inconsistency is showing again. Per the above comment you should fully support early childhood education and it's funding. And you should encourage society grading parenting and punishing the irresponsible, negligent, uninformed, lazy, undisciplined, etc parents.

Instead you want to double down on these questionable Parents by giving them more responsibility for their kids.

John said...

So back to the questions:
Is there any way to reverse this?

Is there anyway we can encourage low income and/or academically challenged people to:

- delay having children until they have gotten a GED.

- delay having children until they are in a long term healthy relationship.

- delay having kids until they have some kind of stable income.

- limit themselves to 1 or 2 kids, or whatever they can afford.

And if we fail to change Parental behavior pre-conception, then how can we encourage these questionable Parents:

- to abort the pregnancy <12 wks

- to give the child up for adoption

- to become self sacrificing, disciplined, responsible, intelligent, etc parents

jerrye92002 said...

"Your inconsistency is showing again. Per the above comment you should fully support early childhood education and it's funding."

The only inconsistency here is theoretical. Theoretically, if we started education earlier we would get better results, certainly with those kids not receiving a lot of educational enrichment and preparation at home. But as a purely practical matter, it doesn't work. We know that Head Start is a failure. We know private pre-school is largely successful. The kids who need it but aren't getting it, therefore, are going to be shunted into the public preschools that are going to fail them. There's no point in putting more public money into something that won't solve the problem. In fact, international testing shows that the longer our kids stay in public schools, the poorer their results relative to the rest of the world. Even the class size studies show that the helpful effect of small kindergarten class sizes are "drowned out" by 3rd grade. I would expect pre-K advantages to dissipate just as quickly unless something changes in the way we educate.

jerrye92002 said...

"Is there anyway we can encourage low income and/or academically challenged people to: - delay having children until they have gotten a GED. etc..."

YES! Educate them! People with better educations make better decisions, postpone children and raise them better, have fewer children, etc, etc. You don't need external incentives and you certainly don't want to start mass sterilizations or incarcerations of young women, which some of your comments suggest.

It took us a long time getting into this fix, and it's going to take us at least 18 years to get out of it, assuming we started TODAY. Why haven't we done it? Wouldn't it be great if, say, MPS announced that, starting in the fall, every kindergarten kid would be reading at grade level EVERY year thereafter? Anything they can do for the older kids would be great, but more difficult still.

Sean said...

There are less extreme public policy measures that can help with this. For instance, the ACA's contraceptive mandate. By making long-acting reversible contraception affordable to all women, you reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

But some, it seems, would rather moralize and demonize women's choices than support simple, beneficial policy changes.

John said...

Hi Sean,
I agree that proactive birth control should readily available. Remember my totalitarian proposal would be that all young adults be forced on birth control until they can pass a Parenting test... And maybe show financials means to adequately raise a child...

John said...

Jerry,
I don't think anyone will count 10 hours per week of Headstart as adequate Early Ed, especially when the kids are being indoctrinated by their disfunctional Parents and Community some 158 hours per week and during the Summer/ Holidays.

If you think "we should be looking to break that cycle as quickly as possible and not allow that "lifestyle" to be passed on to the kid."

Then the healthy normal people need access to the child as much or more than the irresponsible and/or negligent people. Or we need to work with the irresponsible and/or negligent people so they stop indoctrinating the child with self limiting beliefs, behaviors, habits, etc. HCZ Community

jerrye92002 said...

"I don't think anyone will count 10 hours per week of Headstart as adequate Early Ed..."

So why are we spending a bloody fortune doing it? Why not give those parents a voucher to get private ECE IF they participate in ECFE (which should also be vouchered and run by private charity or enterprise). That's really what HCZ does, since they're 70% privately funded. And even for the poorest communities, I don't think that full-blown HCZ-style holistic community approaches are needed. They could be, and even publicly-funded, with better results for less money. But you need to offer people that choice, don't you?

jerrye92002 said...

"Remember my totalitarian proposal would be that all young adults be forced on birth control until they can pass a Parenting test.."

Sure glad you aren't in charge. I much prefer a return to good old natural consequences and personal responsibility. I agree with Obama that no woman should be "punished with a child," but adequate personal responsibility would prevent that-- through contraception if chosen-- and natural consequences would follow if not. It is sheer liberal nonsense to pay welfare for additional children conceived while the mother is receiving welfare because of "no man in the house." Likewise, there should be no (or at least only brief) welfare for any mother who won't name the father of the newborn, nor for the father, who ought to be responsible for the child (more natural consequences). Harsh, maybe, but preferable to totalitarian prohibitions.

jerrye92002 said...

"...irresponsible and/or negligent people so they stop indoctrinating the child with self limiting beliefs, behaviors, habits, etc."

That sounds a bit like faulty logic. Irresponsible/negligent people don't actively "indoctrinate" or anything else. Furthermore, I come back to the assertion that you cannot claim people are irresponsible until you offer them a choice that would make them substantially more responsible, and you cannot very well charge negligence unless you can establish that there is something they are ABLE to do (such as spending time with the kid, rather than two jobs), that they are deliberately neglecting. In short, my compassion for the poor leads me to do more than just trap them in welfare, joblessness, and hopelessly poor schools for their kids. In short, you don't break the cycle with the current education OR welfare system, you perpetuate it.

John said...

1. 10 hours may be better than 0.
2. So if Mom has a 2nd baby withou naming Dad, then it is okay to let the baby go hungry. And you think I am harsh...
3. Every Parent indoctrinates their child during the first years, whether they intend to or not. How would the 3 yr old know otherwise?

(indoctrinate: to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs)

jerrye92002 said...

1. But apparently it is not.
3. Of course, "children learn what they live." But you are blaming parents for not doing what they themselves were never taught to do. And may be unable to do, even if they do know better (which I believe they instinctively do).

jerrye92002 said...

2. Let us compare and contrast.

Option one: We mandate contraception for all unmarried women, and require that both parents pass a "parenting test" before being allowed to have children. Of course, after the first few "contraceptive failures," we will either mandate daily nurse visits to verify that the contraceptives are being used and used properly, or we will accept that every one of these "failures" produces a single-parent household doomed to a life of welfare and hardship passed on to the children. Meanwhile we can look forward to a lot of consequence-free casual sex and the spread of STDs, depending on the type of contraceptive mandated by law. Call this the totalitarian option.

Option two: We allow people to have sex whenever they choose, with or without contraception. They know, however, that if a child is conceived they will both have the responsibility for providing for that child, by law and as a "natural consequence," that government assistance will be strictly limited, and predicated on identifying the father. The child will have two parents for economic support and demonstrable personal responsibility "skills." Call this the freedom and responsibility option.

John said...

Would you make up your mind?

"they will both have the responsibility for providing for that child, by law and as a "natural consequence," that government assistance will be strictly limited,"

"you are blaming parents for not doing what they themselves were never taught to do. And may be unable to do, even if they do know better (which I believe they instinctively do)."

jerrye92002 said...

Sorry. I've tried, but I simply cannot see any inconsistency between those two statements. It seems to me that requiring that both parents take responsibility for the child (rather than dumping it off on government) would create far fewer irresponsible parents, almost by definition. And once we have established their responsibility, we can offer them training and resources to properly discharge that responsibility.

John said...

The difference is that I see both of these as "dumping it off on government".

Expecting society to spend extra money to feed, house, doctor, cloth, etc these children because the Parents are irresponsible, negligent and/or incapable.

Expecting society to set up special school systems, counselling, security, etc because the Parents are irresponsible, negligent and/or incapable.

jerrye92002 said...

Let me try again. Making government the solution of last resort by making government assistance available only AFTER BOTH parents have taken responsibility for conceiving the kid and for the care of the kid is NOT dumping it on government. Offering parents real assistance to get their kid and themselves out of poverty is dumping them OFF the government dole, not maintaining them in their poverty. In other words, all government aid ought to have strings attached, just like real charity does.