Monday, March 17, 2014

Putting Kids First

Let's continue talking about community development, education policy and reform.
David Kirp is James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His work ranges across the social policy landscape. He has been directly involved in policy-making, and between the 2008 election and the Inauguration, he has served on President Obama’s Transition Team. Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming the Lives of Children (2011) makes a powerful argument for building systems of support centred on the kids.
It may "take a village to raise a child," but most American families are struggling, with diminishing social support, to do the job on their own. While parents work longer hours for less and the costs of childcare, healthcare, and college skyrocket, the share of the U.S. budget spent on kids has fallen 22 percent since 1960. More and more children may well not make it to a healthy, productive adulthood. It doesn't have to be this way. In this book, Kirp clarifies the importance of investing wisely in children. He outlines a visionary "Kids First" policy agenda that's guided by a "golden rule" principle: Every child deserves what's good enough for a child you love. And he offers lively and inspiring, on-the-ground accounts of five big cradle-to-college initiatives that can change the arc of all children's lives: strong support for parents; high-quality early education; linking schools and communities to improve what both offer children; giving all youngsters access to a caring and stable adult mentor; and providing kids a nest egg to help pay for college or kick-start a career.
-- David J. Erickson interviews David L. Kirp (Community Development Interview Series)

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