Gerry Garibaldi writes:
Within my lifetime, single parenthood has been transformed from shame to saintliness. In our society, perversely, we celebrate the unwed mother as a heroic figure, like a fireman or a police officer. During the last presidential election, much was made of Obama’s mother, who was a single parent. Movie stars and pop singers flaunt their daddy-less babies like fishing trophies.Did you catch that? The single mom most celebrated in the 2008 election was Obama's mother. Not, oh, which was the one whose name might come to mind if we think '2008 presidential election' and 'single motherhood celebrated'? Hint: her name was tattooed as a ring on her then-fiancé baby-daddy's finger. If anyone, in that campaign season, was getting all worshipful of the single mom, it was the Republicans, with the Palin teen pregnancy such a fine example of a family doing the right thing. And now Bristol's even an aspiring pop star of sorts! Fine, fine, blame social services you dislike on libruls, but the glorification of single parenthood, when it's called "keeping the baby," is plenty right-wing. I don't remember anyone comparing Obama's mom to a police officer. Whereas I do remember B.P. becoming some kind of folksy idol.
Garibaldi, who, according to his bio, chose inner-city teaching as a second and seemingly lower-paid career for reasons I will not be cynical and suggest have to do with wanting to run for office or make a movie out of it, is right that 15-year-olds should not be having babies. And couples who have babies do well to stick together, which for straight couples and some gay ones is best accomplished/asserted through legal marriage. These are reasonable views, and it's noble of Garibaldi to throw Hollywood away and join the selfless profession he has. So far, so good.
But is the main issue for a 15-year-old who wants a baby that the father isn't prepared to marry her? More to the point, is it really a teacher's place to have students describe their future plans, then criticize them for their lack of marital aspirations? Even more to the point, there are no circumstances, none, in which a high school teacher, a male one especially, should tell a female student, pregnant, mother already, or otherwise, "'I think you would make a wonderful wife for someone.'" None.