Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Perilous World for US Children

NYT Op-Ed Columnist: Failing Forward By CHARLES M. BLOWA report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation last week found that “the official child poverty rate, which is a conservative measure of economic hardship, increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2009.”       

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of children facing food insecurity in 2009 soared to nearly one in four. And ABC News pointed out this week that a breathtaking 49 percent of all children born in this country are born to families who receive food supplements from the federal Women, Infants and Children assistance program.

As the World Bank points out, “undernutrition” in young children has been linked to delayed growth and motor development, lower I.Q.’s, behavioral problems and decreased attention, deficient learning and lower educational achievement.

Yet we wonder why our children’s educational outcomes are so low when compared with other wealthy nations. We even have the nerve to begrudge teachers for not being able to squeeze success out of children primed for failure.

It should come as no surprise that a C.D.C. report this month found a continued rise in the percentage of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or that the country has continued its course of mass incarceration.

The prison population in the United States has nearly quadrupled over the last 25 years. In fact, we have the highest incarceration rate of any Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development country. This isn’t only a moral outrage; it’s also budgetary lunacy. As a report released last month by the Children’s Defense Fund pointed out, “the U.S. spends almost two-and-a-half times as much per prisoner as per public school pupil...”

read the entire op-ed here

Recession Increases Number of Children Living in Low-Income Families by 7% to 31 Million
7.8 Million Children Lived With at Least One Unemployed Parent in 2010

Household Food Security, 2009

Shocking Need: American Kids Go Hungry

Children's Defense Fund State of American Children 2011 Report

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