ERIC Number: ED476949
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Leaving Too Many Children Behind: A Demographer's View on the Neglect of America's Youngest Children.
Hodgkinson, Harold L.
This paper draws on demographic data on children spotlighted in the 2000 Census (called the Childrens Class of 2000) to examine how forces like poverty and family instability work to prevent equality of opportunity in school and in life. The paper describes some programs and techniques that effectively reduce the effects of these forces and concludes with recommendations for increasing the nations concern for improving the quality of infant and child care and making high quality programs available for all young children. Poverty is discussed as the most pervasive, inhibiting force, affecting one-third of the Class of 2000, with poor children located even in wealthy suburbs and rural areas. Most other risk factors are related to poverty and include quality of child care. It is posited that the major reason for the lack of national concern for children's quality of life is lack of regular contact with them. Although programs such as Head Start and Early Head Start benefit children, research documents that such efforts to close the achievement gap reach too few children. New program developments linking preschool to elementary school include Georgia's state universal preschool program and the Schools of the 21st Century. Barriers to universal preschool in the United States include the decentralized educational administration, the large percentage of children in poverty, and the reluctance of Americans to feel responsibility for children of the poor. Every state has sponsored some sort of preschool activity, and some school leaders are becoming aware of the need to link preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Noting that the basic structure of a universal system of early care and education is already in place, the paper delineates recommended actions, including full funding for Head Start; provision of quality, universal child care; and promotion of all-day kindergarten. (Contains 24 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: At Risk Persons, Change Strategies, Child Care, Child Health, Demography, Early Childhood Education, Early Experience, Educational Change, Nutrition, Poverty, Preschool Education, School Readiness, Working Poor, Young Children
Institute for Educational Leadership, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 310, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8405; Fax: 202-872-4050; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.iel.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO.; Caroline and Sigmund Schott Foundation, Cambridge, MA.
Authoring Institution: Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, DC.