Start A Petition

Blaming Decline in Family Values for Soaring Inequality -- Paul Krugman

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, americans, children, culture, dishonesty, education, environment, ethics, family, freedoms, government, law, media, politics, religion, rights, safety, society, violence, women )

- 2248 days ago -
All the talk on the intellectual (or pseudo-intellectual) right seems to be about Charles Murray's book "Coming Apart: The State of White America," which asserts that the problem with blue-collar whites is ... declining family values.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B (276)
Thursday February 23, 2012, 1:30 pm
Photo Credit -- Sonya Robison, who is facing a foreclosure suit, holds her son Sean-Charles, 1, while daughters Christina Kay, 3, right, and Sophia, 2, play in their bedroom, in Yoder, Colo., Oct. 21, 2010. As instances of botched paperwork in mortgage foreclosures become better known, more and more homeowners have been stepping forward to say that they were victims of bank snafus and in many cases, demanding legal recourse. (Photo: Kevin Moloney The New York Times)

David Frum, who may really be the last honest conservative, published a terrific takedown recently in The Daily Beast. He writes:

“To understand what Murray does in ‘Coming Apart,’ imagine this analogy: A social scientist visits a Gulf Coast town. He notices that the houses near the water have all been smashed and shattered. The former occupants now live in tents and FEMA trailers.

“The social scientist writes a report:

"The evidence strongly shows that living in houses is better for children and families than living in tents and trailers. The people on the waterfront are irresponsibly subjecting their children to unacceptable conditions.

“When he publishes his report, somebody points out: ‘You know, there was a hurricane here last week.’ The social scientist shrugs off the criticism with the reply, ‘I’m writing about housing, not weather."

by: Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co. | Op-Ed | Truthout

Please read full article.

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 23, 2012, 7:12 pm
Seems to me the forcing of woment to go to work if the family is to survive
does destroys family values. Destroy the family, you destroy the nation.

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 4:37 am
How about the decline in education?

1895 8th Grade Graduation Test

Imagine this...

What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie,""play," and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S.History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name event s connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)
[Do we even know what this is??]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco ..
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclinationof the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!


Craig Zimmerman (86)
Friday February 24, 2012, 5:27 am
In my opinion, the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960's has done incredible damage to the family structure in America.

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 7:19 am
But it shore were fun!

Kit B (276)
Friday February 24, 2012, 7:22 am

Moving on to the reality of the year 2012, perhaps we look at education for the world of today and tomorrow. In many schools students do not have or use text books, rather they are using computer programs. I have no problem with students using the most updated technology, the problem lies within the political realm interfering with teachers attempting to teach and interact with their students. Administration, changing curriculum every few weeks.

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 7:33 am
Among other government interferences the Department of Education has long since served it's usefullness and should be disbanded. That was a Jimmy Carter "innovation".

Kit B (276)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:05 am

History of the Role of the Federal Government in Public Education: Timeline

Event - Date - Explanation

Land Ordinance & Northwest Ordinance - 1785/1787 - Requirement of a system of public education to be established in each township formed under a specified formula. Regulated monies raised via taxes and selling or renting land.

Land Grants - 1841/1848 - Congress granted 77+ million acres of land in the public domain as endowments for support of schools. Federal government also granted surplus money to states for public education.

Early philosophy – first six presidents - Discussion of a national university and urging of federal involvement in public education. Seen as critical to preparation for citizenship in a republican form of government.

First Morrill Act otherwise known as the Land Grant Act - 1862 - Donated public lands to states to be used for the endowment to support and maintain at least one college with specific purpose of teaching branches of agriculture, mechanic arts and industrial education.

The original Department (Office) of Education established - 1867 - Began to collect data – information on schools and teaching that would help states establish effective school systems.

Second Morrill Act - 1890 - Gave the Office of Education responsibility for administering support for the original system of land-grant colleges.

Smith-Hughes Act - 1917 - Promoted vocational schools

Lanham Act, Impact Aid laws - 1941- 1950 - Eased the burden on communities affected by presence of military and federal installations: payments to school districts.

GI Bill - 1944 - Provided post secondary education assistance to GIs returning from World War II

George-Barden Act - 1946 - Provided funding for agricultural, industrial and home economics training for high school students

National Defense Education Act - 1958 - In response to Soviet Sputnik. NDEA included support for loans to college students in science, mathematics and foreign languages.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act - 1965 - Established comprehensive set of programs including Title I of federal aid to disadvantaged.

Title IX - 1972 - Prohibited discrimination in education based on gender.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - 1973 - Prohibited discrimination based on disability.

Department of Education cabinet level agency - 1980 - Recognized the important role of public education in our country.

Educational Testing Service (ETS) and NAEP - 1983 - Federal government transferred responsibility for administering the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to ETS: the nation’s report card.

Nation at Risk - 1983 - Report indicating that the USA was falling behind in education achievement.

President G.H. Bush - 1989-1992 - “Indian Education Bill of Rights”
K-12 Drug awareness model

Advisory committee on Hispanic education

America 2000 education reform program

Work began on national standards

President W. Clinton - 1993-1999- Academics 2000 offered grant to states / local school districts for innovation. Teach for America.

President G.W. Bush - 2001-2008 - Reauthorization of ESEA –No Child Left Behind.

President Barack Obama - 2009 - President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform – Reauthorization of ESEA.

Race to the Top: Grants awarded to states with innovative ideas that accepted the Common Core Standards.

Produced by the LWVUS The Education Study: The Role of the Federal Government in Public Education

Kit B (276)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:06 am

It's often important to actually know what one is talking about before placing foot directly in mouth.

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:17 am
Thank God for your encyclopedia Britanica!

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:20 am
The United States Department of Education, also referred to as ED or the ED for (the) Education Department, is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government. Recreated by the Department of Education Organization Act (Public Law 96-88) and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 17, 1979, it began operating on May 16, 1980.[2]

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:21 am
Now surely you remember that.

Kit B (276)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:22 am

Thanks to Google and a little intitative one can actually find facts before showing their ignorace. If you bothered and of course you did not, none of the FACTS listed above are from the Britancia, just a little online research.

. (0)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:29 am
Nope, not "Britancia", rather your trusty encyclopedia Britanica.

Kit B (276)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:33 am

About ED: Overview and Mission Statement

ED's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

***ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies. ED's 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget are dedicated to:

•Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds.

•Collecting data on America's schools and disseminating research.

•Focusing national attention on key educational issues.

•Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.
Contact ED staff. See performance plans and accountability reports and ED's strategic plan. Find out about ED's offices and structure. Learn about ED's mission, initiatives, senior staff, and website.

Reagan and the Department of Education -

In the category of "the more things change the more they stay the same," it is interesting to look back at Ronald Reagan's education views on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The issues that were controversial back then -- merit pay, standardized testing, vouchers -- remain so today.

Reagan may best be known for his oft-stated desire to eliminate the Department of Education. What some may forget is that he changed his mind. Here are some of his positions on education issues:

Department of Education

When he was running for president in the 1980 election, Reagan called the newly created department "President Carter’s new bureaucratic boondoggle." He said he wanted to eliminate it and give “control” back to states and localities. Then in 1983, he changed his position after the release of the report “A Nation at Risk,” which warned of a “a rising tide of mediocrity.” With education becoming a political issue, Reagan told his secretary of education, Terrel Bell, to pursue excellence in education.

Standardized testing/accountability

A key tool for the Reagan administration to advance its education agenda was with standardized tests. In fact, rising test scores became linked to federal aid, but, according to a historical analysis of the history of American public education, the effort did not result in improvement in schools, just more testing.

By 1984, some schools started to admit that they were seeing higher dropout rates. "For the first time, we are seeing high-school dropout rates increasing," former state commissioner of education in Massachusetts, Greg Anrig, said. "Does this mean we are getting higher standards, or does the threat of tests encourage teachers just to get rid of kids who might not pass? In other words, are we having more push-outs? And doesn't that tend to hurt minorities?"

Reagan’s second education secretary, William Bennett, continued to pursue a policy that focused on standardized testing. Bennett’s philosophy was that the department’s central role was to collect and disseminate program evaluation data. That approach sounds remarkably similar to education policy over the past decade.
***(excerpt from "Ronald Reagan's impact on education today
By Valerie Strauss | The Washington Post )

Caitlin M (104)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:33 am
First of all, I'm a little intimidated by this statement at the end of the article: "Truthout has licensed this content. It may not be reproduced by any other source and is not covered by our Creative Commons license." So if we quote it here, is it a problem?? I'm going to chance it as Kit has, but I'm just wondering!

Secondly: Has anyone here read the article? Instead of spouting the traditional rightist take on the subject, what about considering what the article says and sums up with this:

"So here’s a thought: maybe traditional social values are eroding in the white working class — but maybe those traditional social values aren’t as essential to a good society as conservatives like to imagine."

That's a good question... a very good question considering some of the info given here. I'm surprised by some of the stats... some crime rates falling, teen pregnancy rate falling. That's pretty good news for those riff-raffs who have lost their "family values," isn't it?

Another possibility to consider is that it's more the values of the so-called "upper classes" (meaning the "job creator" corporatists) that have gone awry rather than those of the common folk who have suffered at the hands of the greedy bastards. When a blue-collar job is taken away and given to people in another country because it's possible to pay slave-wages there... is it the blue-collar person's values which have changed? Nuh-uh!

So, let's decide to think about something before we spout the old party line or the long-held belief that just may be faulty. Thanks very much, Kit, for giving us the opportunity to think about it... even though we may not.

Caitlin M (104)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:38 am
Come on, people. Stop the pissing contest and get back to this article!

Kit B (276)
Friday February 24, 2012, 8:46 am

Caitlin, I pay a monthly fee to use Truthout and many other sources and when I take an excerpt from their articles or post in full at Care2, it is with the permission of the publisher and the author. As for taking excerpts from an article to make your point or illustrate a point from the article, I have yet to know of an author or publisher that minded - though understandably they do like to have the credits.

I think your point is well said, and does in fact address the situation of education in America. Other countries do not have smarter children, only a more direct focus on the actual content taught in public funded schools. One of the greatest problems we see in America is in the areas of science and math, this highly suspect desire to teach theology in place of or side by side with - science and math. Children can learn bible stories at the family church, a secular public school must focus clearly on the objectives of reading, writing, history and of course science and math, not biblical ideas.

Jose Ramon Fisher Rodriguez (13)
Friday February 24, 2012, 1:49 pm
Decline in family values, or maybe decline in community values and caring about those outside your fence?
Let me take this debate in another direction by sharing with you the origins of the word "idiot".
The word idiot comes from the Greek ιδιώτης, which meant "private individual" in ancient Greek and still means it today. However, Greek words with the "idiot" root in them are not insults. The private sector is the ιδιωτικός τομέας, private lessons are ιδιωτικά μαθήματα, privatization is ιδιωτικοποίηση. As to how it became associated with stupidity, people who cared only about their own (ίδια) matters and not those of the community or the state became known as "idiots", because it was considered stupid not to care about what was going on around you.
So maybe the real answer is... too many idiots.

Carmen S (611)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 7:19 am
thanks Kit

Ellen Emerson (14)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 8:00 am
Yes declining family values are what is causing all the problems in this country. Not people killing each other over money and drugs, not $20,000 a year income earners paying a higher tax rate than millionaires... it's people not going to church. Parents need to be more involved with their children and not expect over worked and under paid teachers to do their job - as parents - for them. You pop out kids it is your JOB to teach them right from wrong.

. (0)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 11:16 am
As a teacher, I can only reflect on what has been happening to my school system over the last 2 years. Over 40% of the children born in 2005/6 come from divorced homes. There has been a 30% increase in morning care, and a 45% increase in after care. Many are picked up after 6pm.
Yes a lot has changed, and I see none of it for the good.

Past Member (0)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 12:44 pm
Soaring inequality is caused by greed and organized crime, (including the organized criminals in our government)!

Jane H (139)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 1:37 pm
Equality of the sexes and economic independence for women has led us women to divorce alcoholic and drug addict men, wife beaters and others who are unsuitable for marriage, or not get married at all. This is one reason the culture has changed and for the better, although it is upsetting to "order". Men need to catch up to women.

Fred Krohn (34)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 2:00 pm
It was fun doing the math portion in 20 minutes - on a slide rule!

. (0)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 2:02 pm
Sounds quite reasonable Jane but few would argue that there has been an overall steady decline in family values. The reasons are numerous with an inadequate educational system as one aspect. And no it's not due to a lack of funding.

Kit B (276)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 6:13 pm

DEFINE: Family Values - and not by using some crap rhetoric from the political mouths. Define this over used phrase with real meaning - not some vague illusion from TV shows. It means very little over all, because the reality is a value to one family is different to another. When both Mom and Dad are now forced to work 2 jobs to just get through the month, there is little time and less energy for focus on the family, playing and teaching children.

Any one that knows any thing about education knows it is under valued and teachers are underpaid. The Federal government under GW, cut funding in a program called "no child left behind" which should have read, "all children left behind". I have spent so much time on this topic - extending what I learned in college and by teaching, that these cute quips only depict the total lack of knowledge and true concern for the children of America,

JL A (281)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 6:17 pm
Isn't the problem more the deficits in values, compassion and empathy among the elite whites?

. (0)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 6:41 pm
Therein lies the problem where some people need to have Family Values defined to them.

Kit B (276)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 6:49 pm

Thank you ever so much for proving my point.

. (0)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 8:50 pm
Taint easy but always happy to try and enlighten.

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday February 25, 2012, 11:19 pm
Thanks Kit--great post and comments.

It's usually easier to make a profit, especially a gigantic one, if you can feel virtuous about doing so, while at the same time blame others for its cost. It also helps it you use a minuscule part of that profit ( which seems large to many) for philanthropic purposes.

This post is the third great one from you this issue; I am not allowed to send you a Green Star at the moment.

Lauren Berrizbeitia (68)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 12:48 pm
Nice try!

Ra Sc (8)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 2:09 pm
It's easier to blame people than to admit that there are larger problems that need fixing. Many people love to take the easy way out.

Lauren Berrizbeitia (68)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 2:45 pm
Sorry I wasn't clear in my first comment. Blame all social ills on the erosion of "family values." First, all families don't have the same values. Secondly, our society has been beaten up by so many things and we have no idea which came first- wars, economic collapse, racism, etc. It seemed like the republican trend of blaming all ills on the abandonment of Christian values, as defined by them. The American working class has been hard hit. Sorry.of all races

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 2:52 pm
Isn't it ironic that those that would scrap our education system are the ones in most need of it?

Kit B (276)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 3:52 pm

Exactly Lauren, we are each different and all have differing personal and family values. To continue to beat that old, worn-out drum of "family values" while the same people show disdain and attempt to devalue women, is theater of the absurd.

As Bill Maher said: "If you're working class and voting're stupid. Right he is - people that intentionally vote against their own best interest are stupid.

Mary M (29)
Monday February 27, 2012, 1:20 pm
There may be declining family values - but the facts remain the same. Higher rents, higher utility bills, health care now has to be paid out of pocket instead of employers helping, having a decent car, home fuel costs have gone up, and so, if you own a home, your school and real property taxes have also gone up. No one in today's economy can live on a one income earner these days. Well, if you are in the upper tax bracket of over $250K or $200K for that matter, perhaps you can deal with a one-wage earner while the other stays home. Reality is, for most of us we are lucky to be making $50K a year - some even less. We can not and probably wouldn't like going back to "Father Knows Best." days.

Gina M (0)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:05 pm
Kit B; Sooo right!!

marie C (163)
Monday February 27, 2012, 5:03 pm
Noted Very Interesting thank you Kit

Quanta Kiran (67)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 2:45 am

Michael T (82)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 8:53 am
Kit, your comment about All Children Left Behind reminded me of the Catholic version which is "No Child's Behind Left Untouched."

As the article points out social awareness of this white male christian patriarchal hegemony in the 1960's is what caused a shift in family values, as did subsequent economies which forced most families to have both parents working to support and feed those families. The article sets the stage for why values changed. It had to change as people had to adapt to things not under their control. It is not a decline, but a reaction to 1950's values that did NOT work for any but those in the majority. It is a shift. Returning to the GOP's version of pre-1960 family values would be a setback for all of us. But it is truly what they desire as it was for them a heyday of control and power over women, and minorities. That majority now represents, per the latest 2010 census, only 63.8% of the population and they are trying to hold on to the status quo by kicking everyone off the lower rungs below them from the upward ladder .

It is a sign of the former power holders who are aware their world is no longer, and out of nostalgia for it to reign again supreme they need to explain it as a problem of the groups lower down on that ladder not holding to the values that suppressed them and upheld by this declining majority. Over the next 30-40 years society can observe its last gasps to hold on to power. It isn't going to be pretty, as they are more involved, despite their claim to better values, with the 7 deadly sins than any other group.

Michael T (82)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 8:57 am
It is unlikely that anyone is going to be able to convince Phil of the error of his ways. He is another, whose play we will not be able to alter. There's a lot of let's do it, but let's do it right. That's the motto of the Baby Soul, many of whom could be found in the Ku Klux Klan of the past. It's because it is their limited version of what doing it right means.

Eddie O (95)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 9:57 am
Kit, if we don't keep robbing money from the educational system, and health care, we won't be able to build more and more bombs and weapons of mass destruction. Surely killing people, invading other countries, destroying our environment and planet are far more important than having an educated, healthy, society, isn't it?

In reality, thank you Kit for this post. You are obviously very knowledgeable in this area, and your compassion and commitment towards a more sane, healthier, happier planet readily show. Thank you for all your efforts for the sake of our country and this beautiful planet we live on.

What matters most is the HEART!

. (0)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 10:24 am
Speaking of family values, isin't it ironic -

The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the GREATEST amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service in Colorado , also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals" BECAUSE the animals may grow dependent and NOT learn to take care of themselves.

Food for to speak!

Kit B (276)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 12:32 pm

Micheal and Eddie, you both made excellent points, thanks for making your contributions to the article.

JL A (281)
Wednesday February 29, 2012, 5:00 pm
Is this a case of dwindling power trying to hold onto power by hook or by crook if necessary to regain lost power?
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Society & Culture

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.