Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How Did You Score on Parenting?

Saturday's post listed 16 factors that may or may not have an effect on your child's academic success or failure (according to findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study -ECLS which was used for regression analysis on that data).

To follow please find the information derived from all this data:

1) The child has highly educated parents - YES
Family that is educated places a high value in education. People with higher IQs tend to be those that continue on to higher education and IQs are hereditary.
2) The child's family is intact - NO
This didn't seem to have effect on children's academic abilities
3) The child's parents have high socio-economic status -YES
This is strongly correlated to test scores. Successful parents are more likely to have successful children.
4) The child's parents recently moved to a better neighborhood -NO
The move may actually be disruptive force, and showed not improve a child's chances in school.
5) The child's mother was 30 or older at the time of the birth of her first child-YES
The reasoning is this is a women that took time to get advanced education before she had children (doesn't mean she is a better mother, but has put herself in a more advantageous position)
6) The Child's mother didn't work in between birth and Kindergarten. -NO
This choice had no effect on children's grades -daycare kids and SAHM kids tested the same.
7) The Child had low birth weight. -YES
This has a negative effect on future grades. "Low birth weight babies tend to do poorly in school"
8) The Child attended Head Start. -NO
(We can talk at a later date if this should continue to receive federal funding in light of this information) "Head Start does nothing for a child's future test scores". The Reason: "Instead of spending the day with his own undereducated, overworked mother, he spends the day with someone else's overworked, undereducated mother." *Fewer than 30% of Head Start teachers even have a Bachelor's degree.
9) The Child's parents speak English in the home. -YES
10) The Child's parents regularly take him to museums. -NO
"Broadening your child's cultural horizons" has no effect on later grades.
11) The Child is adopted. -YES
Like low birth weight, there is a strong correlation between adopted children and low test scores. Why? IQ is hereditary. Women who give up their babies "tend to have lower IQs". Also women who are planning to adopt tend to be very lax with pre-natal care.
12) The child is regularly spanked. -NO
(Remember -this says spanked, not beat) This has no negative effect on tests and success.
13) The Child's parents are involved in the PTA. -YES (Damn!)
"A child whose parents are involved in the PTA tend to do well in school"
14) The Child frequently watches television. -NO
Despite conventional wisdom, watching a lot of TV doesn't lower grades or intelligence.
15) The child has many books in the home. -YES
16) The child's parents read to him nearly every day. -NO

It would seem that what parents ARE makes a difference and what parent's DO does not.

All this information is from the very comprehensive, very informative book Freakonomics. I now have a love-hate relationship with this book as it has guilt-tripped me into joining the PTA...Which is about as appealing as voting Dem...

(Next time I'll do how your name does/doesn't effect your life success)

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