*grump* I’m annoyed, generally speaking, at whatever it is that’s stuck in people’s heads that says that the “answer” to the problems of high divorce rates and a general increase in the number of single-parent families is “marriage education”. Despite clearly stating that “many government programs fail and that the evidence that pro-marriage programs will produce benefits is thin,” a recent Brookings Institution Policy Brief (PDF) advocates for spending some gross amount of money on identifying those “marriage education” programs which are at least somewhat effective so that we can put even more money into implementing those programs.
While generally, I feel that proven efficacy should be a criteria for public funding of various social promotion initiatives (let’s not discuss Head Start, shall we?), the utter lack of recognition that there are alternatives to marriage that successfully provide children the structure and support of two-parent families galls me. Instead of dropping 1.5 billion welfare-reform dollars on promoting marriage, why aren’t we advocating for programs to support succesful co-parenting or looking at options for single parents to combine households? Why isn’t there more outrage against the focus on the Judeo-Christian ideal of marriage, which, by the by, The Powers That Be(tm) seem to by simultaneously trying to limit to male-female couples only?
Yes, yes, I know.. the progressive in me is not reflective of the majority opinion of the nation. But it still angers the researcher in me that so many people can back a call for research-based programs only to hamstring the research by forcing too narrow a focus for possible solutions. The world would be a better place if we could set aside ideology and actually honestly explore what might be best for children and their families, whatever their structure.