Thursday, June 07, 2001

Out-of-wedlock births cited

By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Kentucky's out-of-wedlock birth rate, about three in 10 babies, has significant implications for schools, a population expert told the Kentucky Board of Education Wednesday.

        “It's a shocker,” said Ron Crouch, and an extension of what he calls “the Bubba problem.”

        Out-of-wedlock births usually reflect “poorly educated women in relationships with Bubba, who's a poorly educated male,” unable to support a family, Mr. Crouch said.

        Mr. Crouch, executive director of the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville, gave the state board a briefing on demographic information from the 2000 census and other sources. The out-of-wedlock rate was from data collected through 1998.

        Most children born out of wedlock grow up in poverty, further complicating their education, Mr. Crouch said.

        Considering that children collectively are a shrinking percentage of total population, “those kids become more valuable, and we'd better be investing in them,” he told the state board.

        Crouch also noted, wryly, that school violence grabs headlines but 15,000 children and teens are killed in highway crashes each year. Money spent on metal detectors should perhaps be invested in driver training, he said.


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