The Center of the American Experiment published a report, Fragmented Families and Splintered Classes, that addresses growing class divisions in America. The report asked thirty-six writers — including Brad Wilcox and yours truly — to respond to the following questions:
- How might abridged mobility and starker class divisions play out for lower-income and minority men, women, and, in particular, children? What will it mean for their prospects?
- What about the commonweal itself? In what centrifugal ways might all this play out in the nation? In Minnesota?
- And getting to the core, what can be done to reduce out-of-wedlock births and divorce measurably in the first place?
Here is the essay that Brad and I wrote, in which we suggest that in order to stop the splintering of classes, ”we will need to improve—and in some cases, revive—institutions that serve the 70 percent of non-college-educated Americans, particularly those that direct them toward steady work, thrift, and marital commitment.”
I haven’t read the full report yet, but according to the prologue by Mitch Pearlstein, it includes contributions from a philosophically and politically diverse group of people. I look forward to reading it.
On a related note, one of the things that Brad and I did not mention in our essay are early childhood education programs, which are touted by some people as essential for strengthening low-income families. I confess I’ve never really given that much thought to these programs – but perhaps I should. There’s an early childhood education center just a two minute walk from Amber and I’s home here in Maytown, which provides preschool, daycare, and Head Start programs. Amber and I just talked to young married couple with three children that love it because it allows their children (all under the age of 4 ) a head start in eduaction, and it gives the parents flexibility to work. I recall David Brooks writing one time that early childhood education programs have proven results. If anyone knows of these studies, I’d be interested in looking at them.