Child Watch® Columns

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  • 09/17/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Getting All Children the Schools They Deserve"

    As a new academic year starts, children around the country are going back to school and settling into new classes. Meanwhile, parents, educators, policy experts, and politicians are gearing up again to monitor and measure student learning—and preparing to ask the hard questions about whether or not the children in their care are getting the best possible education.
  • 09/10/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Jefferson Thomas and the Courage of Children"

    "[Jefferson] Thomas was just a teenager when he became one of the first African-American students to enroll in Little Rock Central High School. Yet even at such a young age, he had the courage to risk his own safety, to defy a governor and a mob, and to walk proudly into that school even though it would have been far easier to give up and turn back. And through this simple act of pursuing an equal education, he and his fellow members of the Little Rock Nine helped open the doors of opportunity for their generation and for those that followed."
  • 09/03/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Gun Violence and Children: Have We No Shame or Respect for Child Life?"

    . The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) has documented the threat of gun violence against American children for nearly two decades since we learned in a Peter Hart Associates poll undertaken by CDF's Black Community Crusade for Children that the number one concern of Black adults and youths was gun violence. So many in both generations feared they or their children would never reach adulthood because of pervasive gun violence.
  • 08/27/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Katrina, Five Years Later"

    Five years later, for many of Katrina's children and families home is still not back to the way it was. New roadblocks keep appearing on the road to recovery. The city's resilience is still strong, but challenges remain.
  • 08/20/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Children Need Emergency Help in this Deep Recession Now!"

    Children have only one childhood and it is right now. Millions of children in our nation require emergency attention in our recession ravaged economy as poverty, including extreme child poverty, hunger, and homelessness have increased, if irreparable harm is not to be inflicted on them and on our nation's future.
  • 08/13/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Changing the Status Quo in Our Schools"

    In late July, both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to the National Urban League's Centennial Conference about what the President called "an issue that I believe will largely determine not only African American success, but the success of our nation in the 21st century -- and that is whether we are offering our children the very best education possible." Right now, of course, the answer is no so President Obama and Secretary Duncan were there to speak about the Administration's plans for education reform.
  • 08/06/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Education as Opportunity"

    African Americans have always seen education as a key to life and freedom. In his autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Frederick Douglass taught us that to educate a man is to "forever unfit him to be a slave," but to deny a person education is to "[shut him or her] up in mental darkness." Douglass said that when his former master ordered his wife to stop teaching Douglass to read, he felt he was being treated "as though I were a brute."
  • 07/30/10

    Child Watch® Column: Listening to Shirley Sherrod

    By now much of the nation has followed the story of former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) official Shirley Sherrod, who was forced to resign from her post earlier this month after dishonestly being accused of racism in a March speech, only to be vindicated as soon as someone took the time to get a copy of what she actually said and allow the truth to come to light. But for those people who know Shirley and her husband, civil rights leader Charles Sherrod, the fact that the smears on her character were outrageous and false was never in doubt.
  • 07/23/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Abyssinian Development Corporation: Creating Community Change"

    ADC's mission is to "increase the availability of quality housing to people of diverse incomes; enhance the delivery of social services, particularly to the homeless, elderly, families, and children; foster economic revitalization; enhance educational and developmental opportunities for youth; and build community capacity through civic engagement."
  • 07/16/10

    Child Watch® Column: The Importance of Healthy Communities for Boys of Color

    A new report was released in June that sheds a sobering light on how many Black and Latino boys grow up in communities that are, in a number of ways, dangerous to their health. Called "Healthy Communities Matter: The Importance of Place to the Health of Boys of Color," the report contained contributions from scholars and researchers at the RAND Corporation, PolicyLink, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, and the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice and the Department of Emergency Medicine at Drexel University. It was funded by the California Endowment. Some of its data and best practices focus on California but the lessons learned apply to communities across the country.
  • 07/09/10

    Child Watch® Column: CDF Freedom Schools® National Days of Social Action

    Service is a key part of the CDF Freedom Schools experience, and every year sites across the country participate in coordinated National Days of Social Action. This year's National Days of Social Action are focused on ensuring every child a Healthy Start in life and access to affordable, seamless, and comprehensive health and mental health coverage.
  • 07/02/10

    Child Watch® Column: The Oil Spill's Impact

    Katrina changed and damaged lives and livelihoods all around the Gulf region, many forever, including many of the same communities that are now dealing with the aftermath of the oil spill. This new crisis is leaving numerous families in these already vulnerable and fragile communities even more hopeless.
  • 06/25/10

    Child Watch® Column: Honoring Our Legacies

    Thousands of people who never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in person visit Atlanta every year to walk along Auburn Avenue, step inside the Heritage Sanctuary at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and tour the house at 501 Auburn where Dr. King was born. When they do, for a little while they have the chance to feel as if they were walking in Dr. King's footsteps.
  • 06/18/10

    Child Watch® Column: Expanding the Child Health Safety Net

    The landmark health reform legislation – The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 - signed by President Obama in March guarantees access to health coverage for 32 million people in America, including more than 95% of all children.
  • 06/11/10

    Child Watch® Column: The Living Skills Fifth Grade Semester: A Vision for Fighting Child Obesity

    My remarkable friend Szekely is now focusing on a new target audience: our nation's children. She is adding her extraordinary mind, energy, and voice to the chorus of those concerned about America's child obesity problem. Together with Dr. David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner and now Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, she is promoting a pilot program they hope will help educate schoolchildren on the importance of healthy lifestyles.
  • 06/04/10

    Child Watch® Column: University of Notre Dame Valedictorian Katie Washington: A Terrific Role Model

    As colleges and universities across the country celebrated their students' accomplishments this commencement season, the news about the top student at the University of Notre Dame was especially inspiring for me. Twenty-one-year-old Katie Washington from Gary, Indiana made history as Notre Dame's first Black valedictorian. Katie was a biological sciences major with a minor in Catholic social teaching who earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
  • 05/28/10

    Child Watch® Column: More Threats to School Diversity

    The new health reform law also established a number of important prevention initiatives, including the Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Early childhood home visiting programs provide voluntary, in-home services to families with young children beginning prenatally and going up to kindergarten entry age.
  • 05/21/10

    Child Watch® Column: Home Visiting Programs: Urgently Needed Help for Young Children and Families

    The new health reform law also established a number of important prevention initiatives, including the Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Early childhood home visiting programs provide voluntary, in-home services to families with young children beginning prenatally and going up to kindergarten entry age.
  • 05/14/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Beyond the Backpack": Dora the Explorer Helps Prepare Children to Start School

    Is every child in your community ready to start school? This may seem like a strange question to families still finishing up their plans for summer vacation. But in reality, it's never too soon to start making sure children are prepared for their first day of school.
  • 05/07/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Dr. Elliott “Dad” Mason, Sr.: A Great Prayer Warrior"

    Dr. Mason preached his first sermon at age 16—the same year he entered Dillard University, where he was honored three years in a row as the top student in religion and philosophy. He received a second bachelor's degree in divinity from the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology, where he also ranked first in his class.
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