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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Love, marriage, honor roll: Culture closes 'excellence gaps'

Culture explains why Asian-American students do so well in school, writes Helen Raleigh, who's Asian American, in The Federalist. It's not just a matter of "tiger" moms and dads who value hard work and high grades, she writes. It's the fact that Tiger Mom and Tiger Dad are likely to be married -- to each other -- and raising their children in a stable home.


Photo: Vantha Thang/Pexels

A new Fordham study on the "excellence gap" shows that Asian-American students excel even if they come from disadvantaged families, she notes. In math, 13 percent of the lowest-socioeconomic status Asian-American students (mothers didn’t graduate from high school) achieved the advanced level, outperforming blacks (3 percent) and Hispanics (6.8 percent) whose mothers were college graduates. Only whites with college-educated mothers (16.3 percent) did better.


Asian parents believe education is the "path to social and economic mobility," Raleigh writes. Even struggling immigrants see "money spent on their children’s education as the best investment."


"But the most important aspect of Asian American culture is the emphasis on family and marriage," she writes. "Eighty-two percent of Asian and Pacific Islander children under 18 in the U.S. live with both of their parents, while only 34 percent of black children live in a two-parent household."


Research shows that children raised in a two-parent family are significantly more likely to graduate from college and avoid poverty, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status, she writes.


“If we truly want to improve outcomes for children, we must have the moral courage to measure student achievement outcomes by family structure groups as routinely as we already do by race, class, and gender,” writes educator Ian Rowe in Agency.


Marriage bonds fathers to their children, argues Rowe. "While some argue that opportunities to pursue the American dream are divided by race, class, education, or gender, the brutal truth, I believe, is that today a parent's marital status has displaced all of those factors as the primary driver of child and intergenerational poverty."


Harvard's Raj Chetty's study of upward mobility, Where is the Land of Opportunity?, compared cities where Americans were likely to do better than their parents and those where few children escaped poverty, Rowe writes. Family structure, such as the percentage of single parents in the area, was one of the strongest predictors of upward mobility.


Supporting fatherhood is critical, says Richard V. Reeves, author of Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It. Marriage is desirable but not essential. "Responsible and engaged fatherhood" is a "moral obligation" whatever the relationship with the mother, he argues. Don't let men think they can walk away.


Paid leave for fathers, a fairer child-welfare system and better access to effective contraception for both men and women are doable, Reeves writes. By contrast, programs to promote marriage have had little success.


Liberals are afraid to talk about the importance of two-parent families, writes Nicholas Kristof in a New York Times column. He recommends an upcoming book by economist Melissa S. Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege.


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6 Comments


rdiethrich
Dec 26, 2023

Thomas Sowell has written extensively about the one factor that leads to success in school, and it gets totally ignored by everyone because it violates one of the sacred narratives of the American left. A child who comes from a home with two parents, whether, black , Asian, white etc. Period!

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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
Sep 13, 2023

Logically, an important factor in black child upbringing is the very high percent of black males raised without a father. 64% of black kids are raised in single parent households. But so are 42% of Hispanic kids. 15% of Asian kids are raised in single parent homes. But blacks have a violent crime rate several times higher than Hispanics -- and over TWENTY TIMES HIGHER than Asians. This huge difference in violent crime rates between races indicates that it's not primarily the single parent status that drives crime rates (and probably the academic success of a child). No one dares to honestly research this problem.

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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
Sep 13, 2023

Interesting fact: The average Asian female today earns more than the average male white. Perhaps Asian privilege? I think not. It IS cultural -- but the two-parent family IS a factor (and indeed the two-parent family is a major part of Asian culture).

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Guest
Sep 13, 2023

Why are you pointing this out? This is clearly racism with its unequal outcomes. Who cares that Asians are 2.5x more likely to have 2 parents in the household? It is clearly racism that is keeping these fathers not being in the home with the children. We should celebrate all households even ones where a mother has 5 kids with 5 different fathers. Joanne, you clearly need to be cancelled just for pointing out basic facts.

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Guest
Sep 14, 2023
Replying to

My response was jut going to be "uh......um.....RACISM.....uh....um.....WHITE SUPREMACY! " Well played.

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