There are at least four significant variables related to family and school experiences that account for two-thirds of differences in state scores of student learning success according to a new report recently released by ETS (Educational Testing Services.) You may also wish to view a New York Times article on the report.
These variables are:
- Single parent families – Thirty-two percent of U.S. children live in single-parent homes, up from 23% in 1980. Forty-four percent of births to women under 30 are out-of-wedlock. 19% of children live in poverty and among black, American Indian/Alaskan native and Hispanic children the figure rises to 33%. The rate for “food insecure” female headed households is triple that for married couple families.
- Hours spent watching TV – comparison of eighth-graders in 45 countries found that U.S. students spend less time reading books for enjoyment — and more time watching television and videos —than students in many other countries. 35% of U.S. 8th graders spent 4 or more hours daily on weekday TV viewing. U.S. teens also spent almost one more hour daily using the Internet than students in other countries, and less time reading for enjoyment or doing jobs at home.
- Hours parents spend reading to kids – By age 4, children of professional families hear 35 million more words than children of parents on welfare. Sixty-two percent of high SES kindergartners are read to every day by their parents, compared to 36 percent of kindergartners from low SES groups.
- Number of school absences – One in five students misses three days or more of school a month. The United States ranked 25th of 45 countries in students’ school attendance.
How could we use this information to help our parents in the nurture of their children?
What ways could our schools or churches reach out in ministry to respond to these needs around us?