Education system Essay
Single parents’ families headed by one mother have particularly come under attack. Fatherless families are blamed for rising crime, education failure the children in the work and dependence on the State Welfare. My aim to find out if the lack of a father figure is to blame for the failure of the children in the education system. I will also look at other factors of educational underachievement such as parental interest and poverty and material deprivation. I will explore Charles Murray’s view that single parent hood has contributed to creating a whole new strata of society, the under class. I will also look at how Abbot and Wallace criticise this view.
Context and Concepts It has been argued that the absence of a father figure weakness family control of children and deprives boys of a male role model. Charles Murray blames fatherless families for the emergence of an underclass; this blames the victims of poverty for their own deprivation. It has been argued that there is a genetically inferior underclass of people that gain welfare whose poverty is a consequence of their lack of intelligence and their cultural outlook rather than of any differences inopportunity and advantage caused by structure.
Charles Murray study. ‘Losing Ground’ (1984) aimed to distinguish, out of those who were poor, who deserved support through the public Welfare System and those who did not. He found that in inner city ghettos the inhabitants showed high levels of indolence, illegitimacy, drunkenness and criminality. These people according to Murray make up the underclass of society. He concentrates on the effect single parents have on the children in this group. In females-headed households he found that there was poor discipline and also the male didn’t have a male role model to aspire to.
They wouldn’t have anyone to show the child the values of work, ethic and morality of responsible parenthood. I believe Murray ignores the fact that many women struggle to bring up their children in dreadful poverty and that it is this poverty and not the lack of a male ‘role mode!’ which causes the problems he describes. Abbot and Wallace’s views are therefore also important to my study. They disagree with the statements made by the New Right and Charles Murray from a feminist perspective.
They believe that the New Right implies liberal economic policies with support for conservative social moral values’. They argue that Murry and his supporters represent a return to patriarchy and stand for such views as the woman belongs in the kitchen’. Abbot and Wallace criticise the New Right for attacking single parents while at the same time they punish families with two parents by taxation and encouraging single parent families, by Welfare systems. Also it is easier to obtain a divorce, have abortions and the laws on homosexuality all affect the rate of single parents.
Main Research Method and Reasons The research method I will use is a semi-structured interview, using this method I hope to produce both statistical and in depth data. I shall prepare a list of questions before hand so the interview will produce relevant data. By using this method I should gain a better understanding of the respondent’s perceptions and motivation and hopefully new ideas and perspectives should emerge which I haven’t thought of before.
I will also get a better idea on the individual personality and therefore increase my level of insight into the problem this should enable me to ask further relevant questions. All this should make my investigation more valid than a questionnaire could do and should provide me with detailed accounts of the problems of single parent hood. Because I will have considered the questions carefully beforehand I can be sure they will cover the areas I need and lean be sure that all respondents are asked the same questions. Therefore I can make comparisons between them am! Also the research can be repeated at another time by a different researcher which makes it reliable.
Having considered all of the above, I decided that a questionnaire wouldn’t be appropriate for the type of information I need which is in-depth answers and a questionnaire wouldn’t produce this. Individuals might interpret the questions incorrectly if I used a questionnaire and the responses to questionnaires tend to be limited. I feel that an observational study wouldn’t be a good choice as I would not be able to make generalisations and it would have to be carried out over a number of months which wouldn’t have been practical. Is also time consuming and hard to record the information accurately.
I shall interview both the children and the parents, so 1 can gain a better understanding of single parent hood; I shall gain different viewpoints and opinions. I will carry out several interviews with each individual. I will take my sample of 20 individuals from different local areas. I would use a snowball sample to reach my respondents. I would get in touch with groups such as Gingerbread and ask them to put in touch With people who would be prepared to answer questions for my research. As I am a college student it would be very difficult to access different areas of the country but if I was able to I would like to take a larger number of individuals from all over the UK this way the results would be more representative of the whole country rather than just a section.
Potential Problems I can see that there are potential problems with my method of obtaining data. I may not get as many volunteers as I would like and those who did come forward may not be typical single parents. On the other hand the respondents may be withdrawn or reluctant to reveal personal information about them selves, I would have to be aware of interviewer bias where the respondent might feel under pressure from my presence and answer questions in a way they might think I want them to be answered instead of what they truly believe. They might give false information as they feel they are being judged or are embarrassed this would cause problems with the validity of my research. Some people do not like talking to strangers, particularly about financial problems and respondents might be embarrassed to reveal the extent of their poverty, giving me invalid information.
As I am I female my attude towards this study might be biased and could sway the respondent’s answers, I do have opinions about this issue and 1 could lose objectivity because of it. As I can only interview people who live in the same district as myself, my results will be only representative of the area in which I live. I will not be able to generalize the whole country. Interviewing children could also cause problems, especially if they are very young. They might not have the knowledge of the type of information, which I am after or they might not understand the questions. The questions I ask the children will have to be catered specially for them.