"I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be."
Lyrics to Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All," one of my all time favorites. And I completely agree with Whitney, that our children are our future. This week marks the introduction of the Strong Start for America's Children Act by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Reps George Miller (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY). This is a major step in the right direction for poor and low income children as it prepares them for school in their early years, providing the groundwork for future success.
Research shows that poor children can perform as well as other children if given the support to do so. But the reality is that the majority of poor children and especially children of color, are left behind when it comes to quality education. Their parents simply do not have the resources to invest into their children's education in the variety of ways that kids from privileged backgrounds have. The access to quality private schools, private tutoring and camps are simply out of reach for poor children and their parents. What we have is a majority of American elementary and middle school students that cannot read or do math at their grade level and most of these kids are African-American and Latino.
Putting the resources into place to provide a quality early education for every child, allows us to disable a system that serves and saves just a few children while depriving many, many others of a good, quality education. The Strong Start for America's Children Act, will do just that. And to act upon it now, is a commitment to leave no child left behind. God said it best when He said, "For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to bring you to an expected end..." He wasn't just talking about rich, affluent and kids of privilege, He was talking about poor kids too.