Blogger Joanne Goldblum, Founder and Executive Director of the National Diaper Bank Network and Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader, has written a powerful blog for huffingtonpost.com, "New Year's Resolutions To Do Right By Children." Its message is important and it reinforces the need that our colleague and child policy expert Margaret Blood has said many many times, that "powerless children need powerful friends."
I write this today not only because the New Year is upon us, but because I was reminded of the need for advocates for powerless children as I watched "Morning Joe" this morning. The conversation was centered on the only thing that Congress is thinking about right now, and that is the Affordable Care Act. And several of the guests brought up the fact that President Obama has called repeatedly in recent months for universal early childhood education for our country's youngest citizens, and the guests noted that the impetus for that seems to have waned. In other words, no one is paying attention to the needs of children, because they have no vote and therefore no power.
Our initiative, Reading Succes by 4th Grade, is pushing our community-wide effort to keep one of Goldblum's resolutions. Resolution #7. "We will recognize the potential of every child. Students who can't read at grade level by the 3rd grade are four times less likely to graduate than those who can. The prospects are even worse when those children live in poverty and worse still for those who live in neighborhoods of cencentrated poverty, according to a study aptly titled 'Double Jeopardy' and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. So by 3rd grade, the die is cast. (And there is a good case that it may happen sooner than that.) We are talking about 8-year-old children who have had no real chance to influence their own reality yet. It's unacceptable that a child's life should be limited by the circumstances of birth."
I encourage you to read Goldblum's blog, all seven resolutions. And choose one and STICK TO IT!
Thank you Margaret Blood. And thank YOU, Joanne Goldblum.
Be the powerful friend for powerless children this year. And beyond.