I am a former resident of metropolitan Washington and a former public-school teacher in the Englewood district of inner-city Chicago. Of my 30 students in one class, only one had both birth parents in the home. That student was by far the smartest, most promising student in my class.  

Today there is so much concern about the quality of our public schools. There are so many suggestions on how to fix them, too — from giving them more money, to offering more equipment, to hiring more personnel, and so many more suggestions.

I attended public school in Chicago, where there were usually more than 40 students to a class. However, each of those classes generally had 80 parents waiting at home for their kids every night. I am a pretty smart guy (I have two master’s degrees and am currently working on my doctorate), but I have no idea how to solve the problem of a child who comes home to only one parent (or none, in the case of single parents who may still be at work at the time).

There are statistics galore delineating the expected results for an inner-city student who comes from a single parent family. They include lower graduation rates, higher arrest rates, lower life expectancies, lower likelihood of attending college, higher instances of drug abuse and higher likelihood of gang involvement. Those are just a few.

From city halls, to school boards, to teachers unions to any and all of our current political candidates, all parties with a vested interest in fixing this problem should be offering real solutions.


Hanover Park, Illinois

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