No one denies that children from stable homes with active parental involvement and middle-class income generally have a leg up on other students. But that doesn't mean we should dismiss low-income children from broken homes as being destined for academic failure. A major reason we have a public school system is specifically to provide educational opportunity to those students so they don't have to struggle as adults.
“With few exceptions,” Willner writes, “schools do not get to choose the parents of their students.” True, but a more common complaint is that a child's public school choice is determined by geography, not quality. That's why many parents, including struggling single parents, make great effort to ensure they live in a good school district to increase their children's chances of success. It's clear that parents disregard those who claim demographics are destiny and school management irrelevant when it comes to students' educational outcomes.
State policymakers should do the same.