Some interesting things I've encountered in the news lately; articles about education and having kids are in my field of view recently, mostly because I teach at a community college (which has enrolled a large variety of type of student), was a non-traditional student myself; and Ed and I are making plans to start adopting beginning in the next year or so:
- "Within just weeks of the law [that decriminalized child abandonment] passing, parents started dropping off their kids. But here's the rub: None of them were infants. A couple of months in, 36 children had been left in state hospitals and police stations. Twenty-two of the children were over 13 years old. A 51-year-old grandmother dropped off a 12-year-old boy. One father dropped off his entire family -- nine children from ages one to 17. Others drove from neighboring states to drop off their children once they heard that they could abandon them without repercussion." The article, one that goes on to state that "American culture can't accept the reality of a woman who does not want to be a mother. It goes against everything we've been taught to think about women and how desperately they want babies. If we're to believe the media and pop culture, women -- even teen girls -- are forever desperate for a baby. It's our greatest desire."
- Career choice can affect one's chances at a stable marriage, which is not especially surprising. Those who have jobs that require constant, consistent travel, or one that emphasizes authoritarian positions with rigid hierarchies (the police, military, etc.) tend to fare worse than those who have jobs in which people care for others, like education and health care.
- In tandem, one of the points made in the previous article is that one's completion of one's education lowers the rate of divorce. In 2008, Utah had the seventh lowest divorce rate in the country, at 9.4%. The state-wide LDS population hovers at about 50%, and culturally speaking, within the state of Utah there's intense pressure for people to marry and start having as many children as quickly as possible. I see that many of my students are already married, which, of course, is not my business. (I have students who range in age from just out of high school, to older than I.) I don't think it necessary for students who have worked for 25 years to get their college degree before they marry, but when I see a 20-year-old married, I wonder how she's had the time to establish herself yet - or at least finish a basic level of post-secondary education: "According to Utah Valley University scholar Susan Madsen, women who put off completing college until after their children are grown rarely get around to earning a degree."
- "Pregnancy...is not considered a disability. Instead, pregnant women are protected by the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal to fire a woman just because she becomes pregnant. But employers can still refuse to accommodate pregnant women's basic, temporary medical needs at work...essentially forcing them to choose between keeping their job and ensuring the health of their unborn child and themselves."