Foley Interview Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.
The disintegration of the family in our society is a fundamental public-policy institution breakdown, according to Devin Foley of Intellectual Takeout and Better Ed. He asserts that family breakdown is causing instability for our entire society and for our public institutions-our policy institutions, our government and our schools.
High out-of-wedlock birthrates in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, especially among minority communities, highlight the destruction of the family, Foley states. He points to large achievement gaps between whites and minorities in Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools as results of both family breakdown and schools that don't work, despite high rates of spending per student. He says public schools cannot replace families.
But he praises three successful schools located in Minneapolis, but not part of the school district. They offer different models and assume a different role in their students' lives. He sees a critical need for school choice for families.
He takes a close look at millennials, saying that since a large number of them come from broken homes, they've learned that family doesn't really matter. He notes that half of all births to millennials are out of wedlock. He claims millennials are a lost, lonely and adrift generation. They have a strong longing for community at the local level, but because of the atomization of society, they don't know how to achieve it. He concludes by saying older generations should be horrified that as they age, the millennials will be the people in charge.
For the complete interview summary see:Foley interview
Response Summary:Readers rated these statements about the topic and about points discussed during the meeting, on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree):
1. Topic is of value. The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.
2. Further study warranted. It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.
3. Stable institutions tied to stable families. The stability of Minnesota's public institutions, including public policy organizations, is significantly related to the underlying stability of family life.
4. Societal shifts threaten families, institutions. But major societal shifts, including out-of-wedlock births now regarded in some quarters as the new normal, portend significant threats to family and public institutions.
5. Heavy indebtedness impedes family formation. The problem is accentuated by people enormously in debt choosing not to marry or have families because they are unable to support anyone other than themselves.
6. Traditional community ties often missing. People still long for community, but traditional threads that naturally draw people together, such as family, church and neighborhood ties, often are missing in their lives.
7. Some laws impede self-organizing. Some laws make it difficult for people to self-organize on commonalities that might draw them together, like religion and ethnicity.
8. Religious groups should question their response. Religious organizations ought to examine whether they're simply accommodating today's trends instead of exhibiting leadership to counteract them.
Greg Marcus (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
Anonymous (0) (7.5) (7.5) (5) (10) (7.5) (2.5)
Tom Rubey (0) (10) (10) (5) (5) (2.5) (10) (5)
5. Heavy indebtedness impedes family formation. Again, irrelevant unless considered along with how the government is incentivizing these breakdowns.
8. Religious groups should question their response. Although often ignored in Minnesota, there is still the establishment clause of the first amendment.
The examination of family breakdown and public policy without a thorough understanding and examination of the state's family law system is meaningless. There are government incentives that directly contribute to family breakdown ingrained in the family court system. Please contact me if you would like further background.
David Dillon (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)
Sheldon Clay (0) (0) (10) (10) (10) (0) (0)
2. Further study warranted. Leave it to the Center for the American Experience to study this stuff.
5. Heavy indebtedness impedes family formation. Yes, the problem with families is largely economic. The answer is to try and reverse the forces that are robbing more and more of the share of the economic pie from middle class and lower middle class families and funneling it to a very small segment of the wealthy (whose families seem to be doing quite well).
6. Traditional community ties often missing. Community ties exist - they just look different than they did a generation ago.
8. Religious groups should question their response. Seems to be an overgeneralization. Look at what Pope Francis is doing for the Catholic Church.
Denny Carlson (2.5) (7.5) (7.5) (0) (0) (2.5)
2. Further study warranted. I question why he was selected other than he is outspoken in his views and more than happy to share them.
3. Stable institutions tied to stable families. Stability of family life is critically important. I don't understand how the public policy organizations he represents are helping.
4. Societal shifts threaten families, institutions. I don't understand how an out-of-wedlock birth to two wonderfully caring adults, who also are economically advantaged, can be a threat to the family or society.
5. Heavy indebtedness impedes family formation. I don't agree with the assumption - too simplistic and wrong conclusion.
6. Traditional community ties often missing. I think people are finding community on-line, at their work place, and in the places they choose to gather.
7. Some laws impede self-organizing. I agree with separation of church and state. Which religions will he sanction as "good" and which ethnic groups will be acceptable and which will not?
8. Religious groups should question their response. I think religious organizations ought to examine their value to humanity in 2016. As long as they are involved in loving, caring, spiritual growth for all of humanity and designed to be a positive force in this world, I would support their existence and value.
I found this interview troubling to say the least. His lack of appreciation of blended families, gay partners, and civil unions is a throwback to an earlier age. I realize he claims that is what is wrong with America but I could not disagree more. To disregard the value of certain ethnic groups, gay people, and anyone who disagrees with him is pathetic in this day and age.
Bruce A. Lundeen (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10)
William Hustedde (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (5) (10)
Bob Brown (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (10) (7.5)
6. Traditional community ties often missing. Those that push for the state to control all of the development of children undermine the role of parents. That is why many people from both the intellectual left and the religious right see the need for home schooling, which has grown substantially starting in the 1980s. And now charter schools are creating other opportunities to build community.
8. Religious groups should question their response. It is too bad that some traditional religions have substantially lost members when they have become simply another community organization. When they do this, they tend to lose members as they have lost the real reason for their existence.
Government intervention in the family and the lack of a sense of morality in our society combine to undermine the family unit. Fortunately, some people resist this and find ways to work with likeminded people. This gives me a slight ray of hope.
Vici Oshiro (2.5) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5) (10) (10)
2. Further study warranted. Yes, because breakdown of families is as much or more a symptom of a very difficult economy than the cause of the breakdown.
3. Stable institutions tied to stable families. Chicken and egg, again.
4. Societal shifts threaten families, institutions. If we want to encourage family formation, we need to make it economically feasible.
5. Heavy indebtedness impedes family formation. One example: student debt.
6. Traditional community ties often missing. I'm guessing that the "next system" whatever that turns out to be will include much more community. Growing food closer to home. More sharing of space, goods and services. Grace Lee Boggs helped demonstrate some of this in efforts to revive Detroit.
7. Some laws impede self-organizing. Such laws are the least of our problems. In the developing society we need to understand and respect each other while living cheek to jowl.
8. Religious groups should question their response. All organizations, not just religious ones. The latter need to be sure they are helping us all to live together and not trying to segregate us.
Obviously I disagree with much of what he claims. I expect generations yet unborn will live in a very different world.
Anonymous (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0)
Lyall Schwarzkopf (8) (8) (8) (10) (7) (8) (5) (8)
Wayne Jennings (2) (8) (5) (3) (3) (2) (1) (1)
Arvonne Fraser (2) (na) (3) (2) (2) (2) (1)
Paul Magnuson (10) (10) (9) (10) (6) (7) (9)
Bill Kuisle (10) (10) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)
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© The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
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