A growing body of research indicates that children’s family background is an important predictor of their performance in school. Strong Families, Successful Schools builds on this research to explore the links between family structure, family income, and parental education and student performance at the county level in Florida. The data was collected between 2009-2015 and given that same sex marriage was only recognised in the state in Jan 2015 and nationwide in July 2015 it can be safely assumed that the findings apply to the effects opposite sex marriage rather than same sex marriage.
1.The share of married parent families in a county is one of the strongest predictors of high school graduation rates in the 67 counties across Florida, as well as recent growth in high school graduation rates in the Sunshine State.
2.The share of married families also is the strongest predictor of county school suspension rates in Florida in our models.
3.Moreover, the share of families headed by married couples is a more powerful predictor of high school graduation and school suspension rates than are income, race, and ethnicity in Florida—factors that tend to get more attention in media and policy circles.
4.The report also finds that parental education is the best predictor of county high school graduation rates in Florida, according to our models.
Although the report is just about one state in the US, it does provide clear evidence about the effects of marriage on child’s education outcomes and is consistent with the wider body of evidence that shows that kids do BEST with married mother and father.
In sum, Florida counties that enjoy strong and stable families also tend to enjoy more successful and safer schools. Accordingly, policymakers, educators, and civic leaders should work to strengthen families—as well as schools—across the Sunshine State.
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