Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Why children who have married parents thrive: Government report says couples who wed are more likely to raise a successful family

This runs counter to a couple of recent poorly-done studies saying that the children of Lesbian couples do OK.  The report behind the article below does not seem to be online so I wrote to the main author, Professor Gordon Harold, asking for a copy of at least the methodological part of it.  A week later, he has not favoured me with a reply.  That does suggest that the report is flawed but I reproduce the article below for what it is worth

Marriage matters and is a central factor in children’s chances of success in life, according to a Government report. Children do worse if they are brought up by a lone parent or by parents who are not married, researchers found.

The large-scale report rejects the idea that marriage is no more than a lifestyle option or a choice favoured by better-off couples, and presents powerful fresh evidence that a couple who commit to each other with a wedding are much more likely to have a successful family.

It comes amid warnings by critics that David Cameron’s drive to support the institution of marriage is slipping off the Whitehall agenda.

Produced by a team of academics from Sussex University for the Department of Work and Pensions, the analysis is aimed at identifying ways to improve relationships between couples and the life chances of their children.

The findings said: ‘Evidence shows that child outcomes tend to be worse on average in lone-parent and non-married families.’

The researchers added that it is difficult to separate out the effects of having married parents on the health and behaviour of children. ‘Family structure, family breakdown and family relationship quality are all closely intertwined, making it difficult to distinguish the causal effect of each factor,’ the report concluded.

The 134-page report, written by a group headed by Professor Gordon Harold, was based on a review of existing evidence and analysis of the Understanding Society survey, which follows the lives of people in 40,000 homes.

It was available to ministers two weeks ago, when Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb made his first major speech in the post.

But despite the new evidence available to his department, Mr Crabb chose to cut planned references to the importance of marriage from his speech.

In a move taken to indicate a lessening of enthusiasm from promoting marriage in the Government, he dropped passages in which he had intended to warn that it is not good for children to be brought up in lone parent family, and which asserted that ministers do a ‘huge disservice’ if they are ‘neutral on family structure’.

The endorsement of the positive effects of marriage on family life follows decades of earlier evidence which has suggested both that married parents are much more likely to stick together and thrive than other couples, and that their children will do better than the children of other couples.

It provoked fresh demands from marriage campaigners for greater help for married couples in the tax and benefit system.

Mr Cameron introduced a tax break for less well-off married couples last year, but the concession is worth little more than £200 a year at the most.

Laura Perrins, co-editor of the Conservative Woman website, said: ‘This report demonstrates yet again, the negative impact family breakdown has on children’s education and emotional well-being.

‘We also know that married families are much more likely to stay together than cohabiting ones. If this Government cared about children it should care about marriage and stop punishing it in the tax system.’

Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation think-tank, said: ‘Any acknowledgement by the Department of Work and Pensions that non-married families tend to have worse outcomes should be a moment to savour, even if the admission is grudging.

‘However they spoil it somewhat by questioning whether the relative disadvantages faced by non-married families take into account background factors.

‘I should be happy to point them to a number of mainstream social science journals which have investigated this specific issue for decades. The clear answer is that both background and marriage matter.’

The reports follows a number of signs that enthusiasm for marriage is waning in Whitehall following the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2014 and Mr Cameron’s declaration in the same year that ‘it is important that the Government sends a strong signal that we back marriage’.

Last week the Office for National Statistics dropped indicators showing the effects of marriage from its child mortality figures, which are regarded as a central pointer to the nation’s health and well-being.

Figures showing the number of marriages in England and Wales in 2013 are to be published this week, nearly two years and four months after the last 2013 weddings took place, and nearly two years after the last set of ONS annual marriage figures.


How low can the RSPCA go? Animal "charity" seizes nurse's cats while she's in hospital and looks on as her pet sheep are slaughtered to feed hunting dogs

A retired nurse rushed to hospital with a serious illness returned home two weeks later to discover that her cats had been rehomed by the RSPCA and her pet sheep had been shot.

Five cats were removed the same day that Irene Brown was found unconscious by police at her home after being struck with meningitis.

A sixth cat was put down due to its age. Her three sheep were shot the next day in the presence of an RSPCA inspector and their remains fed to the hounds of a local hunt.

There is no suggestion that any of the animals kept by 68-year-old Miss Brown were mistreated or neglected, but when she was released from hospital after fighting for her life, they were all gone.

Two of the five cats taken away were legally owned by a local animal sanctuary – they had placed the animals with Miss Brown because they regarded her as an exemplary carer. The sanctuary said both pets were microchipped.

Later, Miss Brown said the RSPCA inspector who took the cats away refused to hand them back as they were now in ‘new loving homes’.

Last night, a tearful Miss Brown told The Mail on Sunday: ‘My cats are my life and I’ve always cared a lot more about my pets than people. I couldn’t believe my sheep had been slaughtered. The RSPCA have behaved without any respect for me or my animals.’

The charity insists it did not ‘authorise’ the killing of the sheep, but witnesses said an RSPCA inspector stood by as they were killed.

Miss Brown collapsed at her home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, last December and police, alerted by neighbours, broke in. RSPCA officials were summoned and Miss Brown’s sister – who does not live nearby – ‘signed over’ the cats to the charity.

‘It wasn’t her decision to make, and the RSPCA shouldn’t have done it either,’ Miss Brown said.

Snowball, at 22 by far eldest of the six cats, was put to sleep, which Miss Brown had no issue with.

‘But the other five were healthy cats which were well looked after and some kind of temporary care could have been arranged, but they were all just taken away,’ she said.

Three Lincoln Longwool pure-bred sheep – named Nilla, Daisy May and Tiny Rambo – which were kept in the field behind her house, were to be dealt with the next day.

An 81-year-old retired vet arrived at the property, accompanied by a licensed slaughterman from a local hunt – and the RSPCA inspector.

Lisa Duffy, who keeps horses in an adjacent part of the field, couldn’t believe what she was seeing – especially as she had already agreed with Miss Brown’s sister to look after the sheep herself.

‘My husband drove down with our young kids to see what was going on when a van arrived. The RSPCA woman was in the field with two men. She told us they were “taking the sheep” and we assumed they’d been found a new home.

‘I offered her two bags of sheep nuts [feed] and she said they wouldn’t need them. The next thing, the vet told me to get the kids away, and we just heard bang, bang, bang and the carcasses were loaded into a van. It was shocking.

‘I knew how upset Irene would be. I was happy to look after them for as long as necessary.’

The hunt has since apologised to Miss Brown and, as a gesture of goodwill, bought her three replacement sheep. But no such apology has come from the RSPCA and there has been no offer to return her cats.

When she asked for Simba, Sooty, Nala, Fluffy and Fian back, Miss Brown says she was told by the RSPCA inspector that her home was an ‘unsafe environment’ as it was ‘cluttered’.

She maintains the house was in disarray after the emergency services moved furniture to get her out of the property.

‘After clearing up, I spoke to the inspector a second time. She said three of the cats had been rehomed and the other two were about to be rehomed,’ Miss Brown said. ‘She said the new owners had grown to love them, but I’d had them for four years.’

Roseanna Richardson, owner of the Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary, confirmed they had rehomed three cats with Miss Brown, but routinely retained legal ownership.

‘We’ve inspected Irene’s house and never had any issues about her suitability,’ Ms Richardson said. ‘It might be a little cluttered but to suggest that presents a danger to the cats is laughable. I was shocked to find out what has happened – we would have happily looked after the cats or the sheep here.’

The RSPCA said: ‘We were asked to rehome these cats in response to an urgent request by the police and family.

'The family was given a number of options of care for the cats but after considering them, they asked us to rehome them. All of this was done in the best interests of the animals and with all necessary approvals, in the presence of police.’


Tenn. Latest State to Pass Conscience Protections

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a provision this week that gives therapists the legal right to reject clients based on ideological and religious objections. According to The Tennessean, the measure “says no licensed counselor or therapist must serve a client whose ‘goals, outcomes or behaviors’ conflict with the counselor’s ‘sincerely held principles.’” The law furthermore “shields from civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution and sanctions by the state licensing board counselors who refuse to provide services — provided they coordinate a referral of the client to another counselor who would serve them.”

An “extremely disappointed” spokesman for the American Counseling Association, Art Terrazas, says the law marginalizes individuals suffering from gender disorientation pathology and charged that “Haslam has ignored the lessons learned in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi and has elected to sign this dangerous bill into law. Plain and simple, this bill codifies discrimination.” In reality, discrimination is what Tennessee outlawed.

Recall a few years ago California banned gender conversion therapy — a ban the Obama administration would love to repeat nationwide. Last April, Obama senior aid Valerie Jarrett ridiculously claimed, “The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.” Actually, studies show the vast majority of children struggling with gender identity and homosexuality eventually accept the created order even without outside help. Nevertheless, Jarrett added, “[T]his administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

The administration’s position encourages discrimination by forcing counselors to agree with their clients' viewpoint — as if gender disorientation pathology shouldn’t be just socially acceptable but also considered normal. As Gov. Haslam put it, “The substance of this bill doesn’t address a group, issue or belief system. Rather, it allows counselors — just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers — to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle.” How is that discriminatory? Progressives approve of banning things that go with conscience — unless, like in Tennessee, it’s to protect the conscience of therapists whose viewpoints aren’t considered “inclusive.” They sure have a distorted definition of what inclusiveness means.


Sydney's finest Asian Australian students still missing out on leadership roles

The whine below from a Left-leaning newspaper relies on the absurd doctrine that the proportion of people in every occupation should mirror the proportion of various ethnicities in the overall population -- "disparate impact", as Americans call it. So if 10% of the Australian population is Asian, then 10% of the people in management should also  be Asian. 

It's the sort of rubbish you are always getting from Leftists.  They can only think in terms of big groups.  Consideration of the individual is of no interest to them. So what they overlook is that Asians may prefer to go into the professions rather than business management or the bureaucracy.  Judging by the numbers of Asian medical practitioners I have encountered, I have no doubt that Asians are OVER-represented in the professions -- which is as it should be.  It shows that people have a choice and exercise the choice that suits their own individual preference

Another thing ignored below is that academic succcess is not a good predictor of business success.  Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout.  And people who are highly successful academically may not even be INCLINED to go into business or the bureaucracy. So  it is probably for that reason that Asians seem to pop up as working scientists all the time -- often making notable contributions to knowledge.  You have just got to look at the author list on academic jornal articles in the sciences.  There is almost always at least one East Asian name there, no matter where the research was carried out.  Since scholarship has been highly respected in China for a couple of thousand years or so, that should be no surprise.

For the past 20 years in a row, one Sydney high school has taken out the top HSC results in the state. At James Ruse High in Sydney's north-west, an ATAR of above 99 is so expected that it became its own satire song.

"100 ATAR, 100 ATAR, 100 ATAR," year 12 students rapped in a take on Psy's Gangnam Style. "99.95, not good enough".

It is also a school where up to 80 per cent of students come from a language background other than English, most of them from Asian families, according to the NSW Department of Education.

And yet, the statistics show that despite students of Asian origin dominating the academic scale at schools like James Ruse Agricultural High around the country, few rise to the top of the political, business and academic pile.

Australians of Asian descent make up to 12 per cent of the country's population but only four members of the federal Parliament. Of the 17 government departments only one counts a leader of Asian descent as its head.

The statistics are similarly damning in the private sector. Only 1.9 per cent of executive managers and 4.2 percent of directors come from Asian backgrounds, according to a 2013 Diversity Council Australia study.

At the entry level, discrimination, conscious or unconscious, is endemic. On average, a Chinese person must submit 68 per cent more applications to gain employment than a person of Anglo-Saxon descent, according to a 2011 study from the Australian National University.

"For 30 years, James Ruse has been pumping out very clever Asians," said University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence. "Where are they?"

For Dr Spence, self-interest is a powerful incentive. His newborn son, Ted, is half-Korean. His five children from a previous marriage are of Anglo descent.

"I want to make sure that he has much opportunity as my other children," he said. "If you say mathematician you probably think east Asian in Australia - if you say leader, you probably think white man."

"We are only now beginning to say that there is a real issue to face of particular ethnicities. The disparity between the educational success and their leadership attainment is evidence of a bamboo ceiling and the university needs to do its best to overcome it. There are settled cultural patterns that need to be challenged."

The unconscious bias goes right to the top. The country's Racial Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, has been asked if he worked in IT or Finance, or most recently, as an accountant.

In 2014, Dr Soutphommasane gave a speech that said "the bamboo ceiling" was well and truly above our heads. Not much has changed.  "But conversations are starting," he said on Friday. "People are beginning to recognise there's a problem."

Across academia and business, tentative steps are being made to talk about the touchy subject of race and what is happening to the 99.95 ATAR club when they walk out the school gates. Public leaders are few and far between.

The University of Sydney has adopted cultural inclusivity as one of the central tenets of its 2020 strategy. It has engaged partnerships with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Westpac and Telstra through its business school to set targets for ensuring Australian's of Asian origin reach leadership positions. PwC alone has a target of 11 per cent of its partners being of Asian origin by 2020.

It's the perceptions that Dr Soutphommasane, who was born to Chinese and Laotian parents, has spent his career battling against.

"Leaders are expected to be charismatic, assertive and outspoken," Dr Soutphommasane said on Friday. "At the same time, certain stereotypes of Asian-Australians persist. There is a perception that Asian-Australians are shy, timid and withdrawn.

"Put these together and you have an obvious problem. There can be an assumption that Asian-Australians make for better technicians than leaders. That they may not be able to master Anglo-Australian expectations of leadership."

Part of the problem lies in the limited number of public faces of Asian identity on our most public platform, television.

Bing Lee and Victor Chang are often rattled off as icons, but you are more likely to find that the public faces of Asian Australians are given as TV chefs like Poh Ling and Adam Liaw.

The ABC's outgoing managing director, Mark Scott, publicly acknowledged last week that the ABC had not done enough to promote cultural diversity on the public broadcaster.

"On broader diversity, we have a way to go, frankly," Scott told Buzzfeed. "I draw a parallel to the BBC: when I watch and listen to the BBC when I'm in the UK, I think the on-air talent really represents a diversity of modern Britain and I'm not yet sure we represent the diversity of modern Australia."

Dr Soutphommasane agrees. "Sadly, the issue doesn't appear to be treated with any urgency within Australian television," he said.

"The proof is in the programming: what you see on screen doesn't remotely reflect the reality of modern Australia. And you still have parts of Australian television that appear comfortable in their periodic fits of casual racism."

Dr Soutphommasane warned in 2014 that if the situation was not addressed the nation would create a class of professional Asian-Australian coolies in the twenty-first century.

"It would be neither just nor good to have a country where people may comfortably believe that a class of well-educated, ostensibly over-achieving Asian-Australians are perfectly content with remaining in the background, perennially invisible and permanently locked out from the ranks of their society's leadership," he said.

For Dr Spence, diversity starts with education. He is canvassing the idea of race targets in his faculties. "That will be challenging," he said. "Compared to gender, talking about race is much more problematic in the lucky country.

"But a diverse and contemporary Australia must be the country that lives up to our rhetoric. We have boundless plains to share, we need to make sure we live up that national anthem."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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