Last December I was in a church meeting and had an idea: I knew what I thought the biggest factor was in our problems with education as institution around here, but nobody was talking about it. Nevada’s huge divorce rate (and, based on informal observation, cohabitation rate), was creating a poor environment for learning. Awareness needed to be raised.
So in my spare time I worked on a letter asking local leaders to familiarize themselves with the problem and address it. A week and a half ago it was finished and I sent it out. I included excerpts from summaries of dozens of studies that backed up the obvious–family structure is a major factor in educational success.
But so far, zero response. I’m not sure what I expected. Is it asking too much that a city in an academic disaster take seriously a critical but neglected cause of that problem? I suppose the budget crisis is more glamorous to report on, and my issue can’t compete with the political drama these days.
Here’s the letter I sent, along with the 25 recipients, who maybe just haven’t gotten around to it, yet. Maybe I need to take more of a grassroots approach. Right now, I’m just sorry I spent half of my personal allowance for the month on postage for this!
March 31, 2011
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Education in Nevada is unacceptably unsuccessful. We are near or in last place for student proficiency, achievement, and graduation rates. Recent budget problems have many worried that things may get even worse. Our children’s future is in a state of emergency.
While many in our area wonder why students aren’t more successful, there’s one important factor that is usually ignored: too many students fall behind and fail because their parents aren’t married. Several other factors are often mentioned, such as poverty, but, as seen in the enclosed materials, a major cause of poverty is fractured families. Continue reading