Family Scholars Blog is up to their old tricks again, touting some discredited old advocacy research as if it were bright, shining, and new:
Family structure clearly influences educational outcomes for U.S. children. The weakening of U.S. family structure in recent decades, driven primarily by high and rising rates of unwed childbearing and divorce, has almost certainly weakened the educational prospects and achievements of U.S. children. Put more positively, there is a solid research basis for the proposition that strengthening U.S. family structure in the future — increasing the proportion of children growing up with their own, two married parents — would significantly improve the educational achievements of U.S. children…
Lower levels of income account for some of the differences in educational outcomes between children living with their own married parents and those in other family structures. For this reason, improving the economic circumstances of one-parent families would probably improve children’s educational outcomes in those families.
In fact, educational outcomes for boys in single-mother families are much worse than for girls, but this fact gets no mention in their latest “research brief”, a very shoddy piece of work based on an advocacy research paper by some group in Alabama. Pumping more money into these families is not going to help the boys, but alternative custody arrangements will, and that’s what the data actually show.
See a related and only slightly less clueless article on the marriage gap by Kay Hymowitz in City Journal. Hymowitz observes a big difference between highly-educated and poorly-educated women with respect to views on marriage, but fails to register the shortage of well-educated men in poor communities. So we have a self-reinforcing system in the poor and mostly ethnic communities: high rates of single-parent families lead to low numbers of well-educated boys, which lead to low rates of marriage, etc. It really shouldn’t take a network inventor to figure this stuff out.