Comedian Bill Cosby again stressed parental responsibility in a speech at Stanford.
Bill Cosby blamed parents for the shortcomings of students during a speech Sunday to educators at Stanford University, continuing a theme the comedian touched on last week when he linked the behavior of some low-income blacks with the community’s school dropout rate.
“We need to stop fooling around,” Cosby told a gathering of about 1,700 people at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium. “The mother and the father born here didn’t learn to speak standard English — or math.”
Many parents are not doing their job, he told the group, which included 150 Bay Area educators honored for their work with low-income students. “I don’t know where we lost it, or how we lost it, but people are not parenting.”
Cosby’s remarks were well-received, though educators weren’t willing to put all the blame on parents. Debra Watkins, co-founder of the California Alliance of African American Educators, said, “We know slavery happened. We know kids are poor. We know they come to us woefully unprepared. But when they are in the classroom with the teacher . . . they are absolutely all you have and it is your responsibility to rise to the challenge.”
From a Los Angeles police officer comes a story of two cousins raised by their grandmother and her husband. Both fathers abandoned their sons; both mothers are drug addicts.
In 1970 there were 2.2 million children living in homes maintained by grandparents. By 1980 the figure had risen modestly to 2.3 million, or about 3 percent of all children under age 18. In 1997 there were 3.9 million such children, or 5.5 percent of all minors in the country. The report attributes this increase to “the growth in drug use among parents, teen pregnancy, divorce, the rapid rise of single-parent households, mental and physical illness, AIDS, crime, child abuse and neglect, and incarceration of parents.”
The 14-year-old has been arrested for the murder of his 11-year-old cousin. The body of the younger boy was found in a trash bin.