Teaching the Success Sequence to Help Every Child Succeed in School and in Life: Model State/District School Board Policy

Education

Teaching the Success Sequence to Help Every Child Succeed in School and in Life: Model State/District School Board Policy

Nov 16th, 2023 7 min read

Whereas, couples who have children within marriage “have higher family incomes and lower poverty rates than their unmarried counterparts”;[1] and

Whereas, over the past 44 years, the number of children living with married parents has declined by 12 percentage points;[2] and

Whereas, approximately 25 percent of all children today do not have married parents;[3] and

Whereas, children “raised by married parents are more likely to flourish compared to children raised in single-parent families”;[4] and

Whereas, children “raised in stable, married-parent families are more likely to excel in school, and generally earn higher grade point averages” than children who are not;[5] and

Whereas, children raised by married parents are about twice as likely to graduate from college than children who are not;[6] and

Whereas, children not raised in a home with married parents are twice as likely to end up in jail or prison before reaching 30;[7] and

Whereas children raised by a single parent are more than three times as likely to live in poverty than children raised by married parents;[8] and

Whereas, the strongest negative community predictor of children from low-income families realizing the American Dream, which includes going from poverty as children to affluence as adults, is the share of single parents in a community;[9] and

Whereas, married people are more likely to report being happy than unmarried people;[10] and

Whereas, among Millennials who finished high school, entered the workforce, and were married before having children, 97 percent did not live in poverty when they reached adulthood;[11] and

Whereas, 96 percent of black Americans and 97 percent of Hispanic Americans in this age bracket, along with 97 percent of white Americans who attained a high school degree or more, entered the workforce, and were married before having children, were not in poverty in their thirties;[12] and

Whereas, young men and women today who are married are nearly twice as likely to be “very happy” as adults who are not married;[13] and

Whereas, young adults who complete at least a high school degree are more likely to avoid poverty and have larger household income than those who do not.[14]

Be it resolved, that in order to help students to avoid poverty in adulthood, succeed in the workplace, have healthy family relationships, and flourish in life, the [state school board] requires public school boards in [state] to adopt instructional materials, including a high school course that includes evidence using the best research methods available describing the positive personal and societal outcomes associated with the “success sequence”—meaning earning at least a high school degree, working after graduating high school or pursuing postsecondary studies, and getting married before having children; and

Be it further resolved, that prior to high school graduation or receiving a general education degree, students must complete at least one course incorporating evidence using the best research methods available describing the positive personal and societal outcomes associated with the “success sequence”—meaning earning at least a high school degree, working after graduating high school or pursuing postsecondary studies, and getting married before having children; and

Be it further resolved, that the [state board of education] shall designate a committee that includes members of [school boards of public schools in this state/curriculum coordinators of school districts in this state] and parents of children attending K–12 public schools in this state to review the grade-level standards and expectations and instructional content that includes annual discussion of the success sequence; and

Be it further resolved, that the [state superintendent of education/school district superintendent], as needed, may develop proposed revisions to the grade-level standards and expectations and instructional content and submit the standards and expectations for review and comment by K–12 educators in this state or district, representatives of postsecondary institutions who have expertise in the content described in this section, business leaders, and public citizens. After considering any comments, the [state superintendent of education/school district superintendent] shall submit the proposed changes to the [state board of education/school district board] for consideration; and

Be it further resolved, that the [state board of education] shall adopt rules to administer this section. The rules shall be consistent with evidence using the best research methods available describing the positive personal and societal outcomes for individuals who complete at least a high school, work after graduating high school or earn a terminal degree, and get married before having children.


[1]Brian Goesling, Hande Inanc, and Angela Rachidi, “Success Sequence: A Synthesis of the Literature,” Administration for Children and Families, OPRE Report No. 2020-41, December 2020, p. 15, https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/opre/Success_sequence_review_2020_508_0.pdf (accessed November 16, 2023).

[2]AEI–Brookings Working Group on Childhood in the United States, “Rebalancing: Children First,” p. 12, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/ES_20220228_Rebalancing_Children_First.pdf (accessed November 16, 2023).

[3]Ibid., p. 22.

[4]Ibid., p. 27, and Melissa S. Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling Behind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023), p. 45.

[5]AEI–Brookings Working Group on Childhood in the United States, “Rebalancing: Children First,” p. 28.

[6]Ibid, p. 28; Brad Wilcox, Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization (New York: Broadside Books, 2024), p. 72; and Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege, p. 62.

[7]Wilcox, Get Married, p. 67, and Cynthia C. Harper and Sara S. McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration,” Journal of Research on Adolescence, Vol. 14, No. 3 (September 2004), p. 382.

[8]Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege, p. 44, and AEI–Brookings Working Group on Childhood in the United States, “Rebalancing: Children First,” p. 29.

[9]Raj Chetty et al., “Where Is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 129 No. 4 (November 2014), p. 1618, https://academic.oup.com/qje/article/129/4/1553/1853754 (accessed November 16, 2023).

[10]Steven Stack and J. Ross Eshleman, “Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 60 (1998), pp. 527–536; Arne Mastekaasa, “Marital Status and Subjective Well-Being: A Changing Relationship?” Social Indicators Research, Vol. 29, (1993), pp. 249–276, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01079515 (accessed November 16, 2023).

[11]W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang, “The Power of the Success Sequence,” American Enterprise Institute, May 26, 2022, p. 2, https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/the-power-of-the-success-sequence/ (accessed November 16, 2023).

[12]Ibid., p. 3.

[13]Wilcox, Get Married, p. 52, and Patrick Fagan et al., “The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts,” The Heritage Foundation, April 2002, p. 25,

https://www.heritage.org/sites/default/files/2017-09/positive_effects_of_marriage.pdf (accessed November 16, 2023).

[14]Goesling, Inanc, and Rachidi, “Success Sequence: A Synthesis of the Literature,” p. 16.

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