Study: Parental unemployment adversely affects children

30 Mar

In 3rd world America: The economy affects the society of the future, moi said:

So what future have the Goldman Sucks, cash sluts, and credit crunch weasels along with we don’t care, we don’t have to Washington Georgetown and Chevy Chase set – you know, the “masters of the universe” left those on a race to get through college? Lila Shapiro has the excellent post, Trading Down: Laid-Off Americans Taking Pay Cuts and Increasingly Kissing Their Old Lives Goodbye at Huffington Post:

This government, both parties, has failed to promote the kind of economic development AND policy which creates livable wage jobs. That is why Mc Donalds is popular for more than its dollar menu. They are hiring people.

This economy must focus on job creation and job retention and yes, hope. Both for those racing through college and those who have paid their education and training dues. “You deserve a break today at Mc Donalds,” the only employer who seems to be hiring.

Nirvi Shah writes in the Education Week article, Parents’ Unemployment Affects Students at Home, School:

About 6.2 million children lived in families with unemployed parents in 2012, and that number rises to 12.1 million American children—about one in six—when including families with unemployed or underemployed parents during an average month of 2012. That’s a decrease from 2010, when the figure was about 13.5 million children, but a huge increase from 2007, when the number was 7.1 million children.

These children may especially feel the effects of their parents’ unemployment in their education, the report says:

One of the earliest signs that children are not doing well is their school performance. Several studies have documented lower math scores, poorer school attendance, and a higher risk of grade repetition or even suspension or expulsion among children whose parents have lost their jobs. …[P]arental job loss increases the chances a child will be held back in school by nearly 1 percentage point a year, or 15 percent.

But the effects of parental job loss can persist as children age: The report notes that low-income youth whose parents lose a job have lower rates of college attendance. Looking back at the recession of the 1980s, boys whose fathers lost jobs when manufacturing and other plants closed at that time grew into men who had annual earnings that were about 9 percent lower than similar men whose whose fathers did not lose those jobs.

Here is the press release from First Focus:

For Kids, Jobless Benefits Miss the Mark
Press Release

March 25, 2013

Madeline Daniels
(202) 999-4853 (office)

Washington – Federal benefits are largely failing to reach children affected by unemployment, according to a report released today by the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus.

“One in six children live with an unemployed or underemployed parent, so our leaders should be doing everything they can to prevent kids from falling through the cracks,” said First Focus president Bruce Lesley.

Unemployment from a Child’s Perspective, authored by Julia Isaacs of the Urban Institute, examined the reach of three federal initiatives designed to help the families of the unemployed; Unemployment Insurance (UI), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); and found:

  • UI reaches just 36 percent of children with at least one unemployed parent.
  • More than one fourth (29 percent) of children with unemployed parents have incomes limited enough to be eligible for and receive SNAP and/or TANF, but did not receive the larger UI benefits in the last year.
  • The remaining 35 percent of children impacted by parental unemployment do not receive any of these three benefits designed to support unemployed or low-income families.

Families experiencing long-term unemployment and the exhaustion of available federal unemployment benefits are particularly vulnerable to economic stress. This group has more than tripled since before the recession to 2.8 million children, or almost half of all children living with an unemployed parent. Poverty nearly tripled among parents who remained out of work for six months or longer.

While 9 percent of children experience parental unemployment overall, children from families of color are disproportionately impacted:

  • 14 percent of African-American children live with at least one unemployed parent.
  • 11 percent of Latino children live with at least one unemployed parent.
  • 7 percent of Caucasian children live with at least one unemployed parent.
  • 6 percent of Asian children live with at least one unemployed parent.

The analysis also shows that economic stress can have significant consequences for children. Job loss can have a negative impact on family dynamics through increased parental irritability, depression, and higher levels of family conflict. Family unemployment has a marked impact on children, including documented lower math scores, poorer school attendance, higher risk of grade repetition, and suspension/expulsion.

The report cites recent threats to federal funding for unemployment insurance, SNAP, and TANF. The federal budget resolution passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives would make deep cuts to SNAP and other anti-poverty initiatives.

“This is an important reminder that kids are still recovering from the recession, and parents should expect their lawmakers to deliver a federal budget that invests in our children,” said Lesley.


March 25, 2013

By Julia Isaacs, The Urban Institute

Download this Resource

Moi wrote in 3rd world America: Money changes everything:

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation wrote the informative Washington Post article, How to attack the growing educational gap between rich and poor:

In fact, research published by The Century Foundation and other organizations going back more than a decade shows that there are an array of strategies that can be highly effective in addressing the socioeconomic gaps in education:

* Pre-K programs. As Century’s Greg Anrig has noted, there is a wide body of research suggesting that well-designed pre-K programs in places like Oklahoma have yielded significant achievement gains for students. Likewise, forthcoming Century Foundation research by Jeanne Reid of Teachers College, Columbia University, suggests that allowing children to attend socioeconomically integrated (as opposed to high poverty) pre-K settings can have an important positive effect on learning.

* Socioeconomic Housing Integration. Inclusionary zoning laws that allow low-income and working-class parents and their children to live in low-poverty neighborhoods and attend low-poverty schools can have very positive effects on student achievement, as researcher David Rusk has long noted. A natural experiment in Montgomery County, Maryland, showed that low-income students randomly assigned to public housing units and allowed to attend schools in low-poverty neighborhoods scored at 0.4 of a standard deviation higher than those randomly assigned to higher-poverty neighborhoods and schools. According to the researcher, Heather Schwartz of the RAND Corporation, the initial sizable achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students in low-poverty neighborhoods and schools was cut in half in math and by one-third in reading over time.

* Socioeconomic School Integration. School districts that reduce concentrations of poverty in schools through public school choice have been able to significantly reduce the achievement and attainment gaps. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, where a longstanding socioeconomic integration plan has allowed students to choose to attend mixed-income magnet schools, the graduation rate for African American, Latino, and low-income students is close to 90 percent, far exceeding the state average for these groups.

* College Affirmative Action for Low-Income Students. Research finds attending a selective college confers substantial benefits, and that many more low-income and working-class students could attend and succeed in selective colleges than currently do. Research by Anthony Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose of Georgetown University for the Century volume, America’s Untapped Resource: Low-Income Students in Higher Education , found that selective universities could increase their representation from the bottom socioeconomic half of the population from 10 percent to 38 percent, and overall graduation rates for all students would remain the same.

In addition to these ideas, Century Foundation research by Gordon MacInnes has highlighted promising programs to promote the performance of low-income students in New Jersey. Forthcoming research will suggest ways to revitalize organized labor, a development that could raise wages of workers and thereby have a positive impact on the educational outcomes of their children. We will also be exploring ways to strengthen community colleges as a vital institutions for social mobility.

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.


Hard times are disrupting families        

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education

3rd world America: Money changes everything                                        

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