After reading the January/February 2010 edition of NEA Today, which is put out by the National Education Association, I was absolutely appalled by the article which chronicled the travails of the family you see pictured on the cover.
Meet mom Juanell, and her four children, Chassity, Chauncey, Chaddwick, and Chancellor. The article lists their many challenges: Juanell can only find part-time work at big box stores; she has four children to take care of, including 10 year-old Chaddwick, who has autism; and most challenging of all is that, as the cover story headline says, the family has dealt with homelessness.
The article goes to great pains to verbally illustrate how awful homelessness can be - for a single mother raising her four children, for being one of the four children trying to do homework in a homeless shelter, for all the family members having to experience the humility and humiliation of admitting that they are homeless and need help. It truly was heartbreaking to read what these children had to endure. The author of the article also did her best to show what strong resolve and dedication Juanell, the mother, has toward caring for her children. Says Juanell in the article,
"Nobody wants to say they're homeless. I have a big issue with pride, believe me. But I look at my little people here and say, 'Okay, if it means they're going to get what they need....'"However, for all the detail that the article's author put into explaining the experiences and hardships faced by this homeless family, one blaring detail was totally and conspicuously missing: the Man of the House.
Where is the father? Was Juanell ever married? Did he leave? Did he ever show up? Was there a divorce or death? Is he in prison? Are the children all from the same father? Nothing was mentioned or even alluded to about the male component that was necessary for the existence of these children.
With that information being totally glossed over, the article naturally made no attempt to explain how having no father or husband in their lives contributed to the very homelessness this family was facing; no mention was made of any responsibility or poor decisions this mother may have had in her role toward making her family homeless. Making that kind of moral value judgement would totally rain down on the pity party that had been painted for the NEA Today readers to absorb.
The fact is that one of the surest ways to make yourself homeless or teeter on the edge of being homeless is to be an uneducated single mother who has lots of kids she can't afford. And the greatest tragedy of all this is what Juanell's choices can possibly do to her children.
According to Ann Coulter, who did much research concerning single parenthood for her book Guilty: Liberal "Victims" And Their Assault on America, choosing to become a single mother is a disaster for children and the country those children will populate as adults. For you Ann Coulter haters, these statistics are not her own; they are footnoted if you care to check:
Various studies have come up with slightly different numbers, but all the figures are grim. According to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teenage pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse, 80 percent of all prison inmates, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children...This neutral oh-woe-is-they stance that the article's author took toward Juanell and her four brood did a disservice toward addressing the issue of what can be done to stop this kind of homelessness in the first place, rather than dealing with the fall-out after the fact. In my opinion, a disservice was also done with the choice of the photograph gracing the magazine's cover. The directions from the photographer or whoever was in charge of the shoot just scream at me from the image: OK, I need you all to look condescending, smug, and victimized. I love it! Stay just like that! I get enough students disrespectfully rolling their eyes at me in my classroom; I don't need the daughter on the left doing that to me in my own home.
A study cited in the Village Voice produced similar numbers. It found that children brought up in single-mother homes 'are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape (for the boys), 20 times more likely to end up in prison, and 32 times more likely to run away from home.' Single motherhood is like a farm team for future criminals and social outcasts.
Good Day to You, Sir