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Family Background Essay

Shannon Leigh Riney

❶To hold a government job and maintain a household with three children was unheard of for most women. I am a student of the 9th class.

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A year after having her first son, she and her husband packed up for their first assignment in Selma, Alabama. My grandmother recalls seeing real segregation for the first time in Alabama, where the Martin Luther King Jr.

Selma to Montgomery walk was still fresh in mind. She found it no place to raise children, so once my mother was born and my grandfather was deployed to Vietnam, she moved back to Glen Burnie to live with her mother. My mom was seven-months-old when my grandfather was deployed, and his service in the war ended when she was three-years-old.

Many men were called to serve, even though the Vietnam War was hugely unpopular. My grandmother recalls some of the harsh remarks she would get from protestors when they found out she was a military wife.

My grandfather flew cargo planes filled with soldiers, dead and alive, supplies, and medicine to and from Vietnam; much of this experience scarred him and it is something we rarely talk about. When my grandfather came home, they had their youngest son a year later. For her first ten years of marriage, my grandmother was a housewife. However, she went back to work as a secretary at the Pentagon. She soon worked her way up to an Admin Officer after taking college courses, although never earning a degree.

To hold a government job and maintain a household with three children was unheard of for most women. One thing my grandmother always stressed to her children was to get an education. My grandfather was born in Baltimore, Maryland in the winter of His mother emigrated from Moravia, a small country next to Czechoslovakia, at fourteen-years-old and moved to Pennsylvania. She started working as a nanny to a wealthy family in New York City within the year and sent money to her parents in Pennsylvania.

Many immigrants, no matter what age, went straight to work to provide for their families. Her father worked as a coalminer until the day he died, his work ethic has been passed down to his daughter and to his grandson, my grandfather. On a train ride back to Pennsylvania, she met a man much older than she, and they married. Her husband was a second-generation immigrant from Ireland. His father married his mother, who had a daughter from a previous relationship and they divorced when my great grandfather was a baby.

His father left for a Church of Scientology equivalent and his mother remarried. Not only was having a child out of wedlock uncommon, but also divorce was fairly uncommon during this time period c. When his mother fell ill, he went AWOL and left for home to take care of her. This was not discovered until well into his eighties. After marrying my great grandmother, the couple moved to Baltimore, Maryland for jobs.

Anna, my great grandmother, never went to the doctor when pregnant with my grandfather, and, because of this, was unable to birth children after having her first. Her husband worked many odd jobs including a dance instructor, a coalminer, and a librarian. My grandfather went to an elite high school for boys and entered the ROTC program at the University of Maryland upon graduation and earned a degree in electrical engineering.

While in the Air Force, he earned his masters degree in business. When his mother was 63 years old, she died from diabetes. My mother was born in My mother recalls how heavily her own mother enforced education, and went on to receive a degree. She plans the family budget.

She is not very modern. She is a religious woman. She goes to the temple every morning. On sacred days, she takes us all to the temple. She is a vegetarian and observes fast on every Tuesday. My grandparents always praises her.

She, on her part, serves them as their daughter. I spend a lot of time with my mother and play indoor games with her. She is so close to my heart. I am a student of the 9th class. I am good at studies. My father loves me very much. I love my younger brothers and sisters and help them in their studies.

My younger brother, Bablu, is very naughty. He tears pages from my books and spoils my exercise books. All of us love him. He is fond of talking and playing outdoor games. In this essay I look at four family variables that may influence student achievement: I then consider the ways in which schools can offset the effects of these factors. Better-educated parents are more likely to consider the quality of the local schools when selecting a neighborhood in which to live.

In addition, highly educated parents are more likely than their less-educated counterparts to read to their children. They are more likely to pose questions instead of directives and employ a broader and more complex vocabulary.

Estimates suggest that, by age 3, children whose parents receive public assistance hear less than a third of the words encountered by their higher-income peers. As a result, the children of highly educated parents are capable of more complex speech and have more extensive vocabularies before they even start school.

A cohesive social network of well-educated individuals socializes children to expect that they too will attain high levels of academic success. It can also transmit cultural capital by teaching children the specific behaviors, patterns of speech, and cultural references that are valued by the educational and professional elite.

Teasing out the distinct causal impact of parental education is tricky, but given the strong association between parental education and student achievement in every industrialized society, the direct impact is undoubtedly substantial. Even small differences in access to the activities and experiences that are known to promote brain development can accumulate. More-affluent parents can also use their resources to ensure that their children have access to a full range of extracurricular activities at school and in the community.

Working multiple jobs or inconvenient shifts makes it hard to dedicate time for family dinners, enforce a consistent bedtime, read to infants and toddlers, or invest in music lessons or sports clubs. Even small differences in access to the activities and experiences that are known to promote brain development can accumulate, resulting in a sizable gap between two groups of children defined by family circumstances.

It is challenging to find rigorous experimental or quasi-experimental evidence to disentangle the direct effects of home life from the effects of the school a family selects.

While Coleman claimed that family and peers had an effect on student achievement that was distinct from the influence of schools or neighborhoods, his research design was inadequate to support this conclusion.

All he was able to show was that family characteristics had a strong correlation with student achievement. Separating out the independent effects of family education and family income is also difficult. However, a recent study by Gordon Dahl and Lance Lochner, exploiting quasi-experimental variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit, provides convincing evidence that increases in family income can lift the achievement levels of students raised in low-income working families, even holding other factors constant.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 2. Black children are 7. Incarceration removes a wage earner from the home, lowering household income. One estimate suggests that two-thirds of incarcerated fathers had provided the primary source of family income before their imprisonment.

As a result, children with a parent in prison are at greater risk of homelessness, which in turn can have grave consequences: Quantifying the causal effects of parental incarceration has proven challenging, however.

A recent review of 22 studies of the effect of parental incarceration on child well-being concludes that, to date, no research in this area has been able to leverage a natural experiment to produce quasi-experimental estimates. Just how large a causal impact parental incarceration has on children remains an important but largely uncharted topic for future research. While most American children still live with both of their biological or adoptive parents, family structures have become more diverse in recent years, and living arrangements have grown increasingly complex.

In particular, the two-parent family is vanishing among the poor. Approximately two-fifths of U. Many parents today choose cohabitation over marriage, but the instability of such partnerships is even higher.

In the case of nonmarital births, estimates say that 56 percent of fathers will be living away from their child by his or her third birthday. Census Bureau reports that 1- to 2-year-olds who live with two married parents are read to, on average, 8.

The corresponding statistic for their peers living with a single parent is 5. These effects are largest for boys.


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