FatherTopics™: (Video) Are Dads the Missing Link in Education Reform?
24 million children without biological fathers in the home. This is a stat we at NFI mention a lot. The number can be so big that it loses its meaning. However, if you take time to break most societal ills down, you find that father absence is a big part of the problem. Fix the state of fatherhood and remedy many ills in society. Education isn't immune to the father absence crisis, both in America and globally.
We recently wrote a column for CNN titled, "The Missing Piece in Education Reform—Dads". You can read our blog on it here.
Vincent DiCaro, National Fatherhood Initiative’s VP of Development and Communication, recently appeared on FoxNews Live to discuss the father-absence crisis and just how critical a fathers' role is in education.
Gregg Jarrett interviewed DiCaro on the FoxNews Live show "On the Hunt" about the state of education reform and fathers' roles.
If you can't see the video, click here.
Jarrett points out that America's children seem to be in a deficit compared to other nations and asks the question, "What's hurting education in America?"
1) Children growing up in father-absent homes
DiCaro does well to point out that "The biggest change that has taken place in education over the last generation has nothing to do with schools, but everything to do with what has happened to the family... One in three of our children are growing up without their biological father in the home."
2) Decline in marriage
Jarrett asks what's to blame for the decline of father involvement; unwed mothers or divorce or both? DiCaro makes clear that both contribute to what ends up being a situation where dad is just not there on a regular basis. DiCaro points out, "Out of wedlock childbirths have gone through the roof. We're at about 40% of all births are out of wedlock." He continues by pointing out that divorce is obviously still at a high rate. But DiCaro also mentions the "general mentality in our country that fathers don't play a unique an irreplacable role in their children's lives."
Jarrett asks about father absence and race. DiCaro makes clear that the father-absence issue is a global one. DiCaro says, "Father absence is not unique to any one community...this is a problem happening across the board." DiCaro continues, "...it isn't just in the United States, there was a global study done from Child Trends called the "World Family Map"; the report found, across the developed world, "children in two-parent homes do better in school than children in single-parent homes and this happens independent of income...this isn't about the haves versus the have-nots in terms of money, but kids who have two parents, and kids who have only one."
Jarrett asks, "do you think the important role that a dad plays in education is underestimated?"
DiCaro says, "Absolutely. Us dads ourselves often underestimate our role. We often think, mom has that covered, she's going to the parent teacher meetings, she's helping with homework, so the kid's gonna be fine. But even if mom's doing these things, it's still critically important for dad to do them as well. You know, dads do things differently. We interact with our children differently. We play a unique and irreplaceable role in our childen's lives, and so we need to be just as hands-on with our kids' education, reading to them every day, helping them with their homework, going to the school, being there, present in the school; a man's presence in a school communicates a lot to his kids and other kids in the school as well.
As an organization, or someone who works with dads, we recommend NFI's "How to Help your Child do Well in School" brochure which offers 10 practical tips to help dad's involvement in this area.
For questions about National Fatherhood Initiative programs, please contact us here