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Children Need Us Now, More Than Ever

In focus groups in Des Moines, Iowa, and Las Vegas, Nevada, a few years ago, voters were asked what their top issues were, but only one in each group of 20 mentioned an issue related to children. The economy, terrorism, the Middle East, and other issues were mentioned. Kids were an afterthought.

The focus group moderator and conservative communications strategist Frank Luntz proceeded to ask people — many parents, grandparents, and employees in professions that work with children — why they didn’t care about kids, and the participants became quite angry. “Why, of course, I care about kids!” several of them demanded. A few rose out of their chairs to further emphasize their passion for children. Read more

Letters to the Future President of the United States of America

This article is part 3 of 3 in the column Youth Voices

At Child’s World America, we believe we should also give voice to thoughts and opinions of young people themselves. We’re proud to introduce a new series that delivers the opportunity for young voices to be heard. Our first presentation is from middle school students from Philadelphia who took on the assignment of speaking their mind to the new leadership of our country. For them the future is rushing to set the foundations for their young lives. Thank you to Bob Vogel of LaSalle University whose program, Writer’s Matter, works with students to polish their craft and find their voice. – Bill Clark (Publisher) Read more

Local Nonprofit Helps Young Readers Go for the Gold

Philadelphia Reading Olympics photo

While athletes from around the world compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics, preparations for a much different Olympics are taking place in Philadelphia. Philadelphia READS, an independent nonprofit serving thousands of urban children, organizes an annual Reading Olympics that encourages kids to strengthen their literacy skills. Instead of the high jump or the 200-meter freestyle, kids read a list of assigned books and compete to answer Jeopardy-style questions that test their reading comprehension and analysis.

Philadelphia Reads LogoThe Reading Olympics is a creative attempt to solve a longstanding and intractable problem: getting kids reading at grade level by the time they enter fourth grade. Read more

Getting Kids to Read Over the Summer Takes a Village

Kids on lawn reading Harry Potter

What adults might not remember about the long, carefree summer days of youth is how much they forgot between June and September. In fact, the typical child experiences a three-month loss in reading achievement known as the “summer slide.”

Philadelphia Foundation LogoOn July 21st, Philadelphia-area children’s advocates, organizers, and nonprofits gathered at the Philadelphia Foundation for a conversation on how to promote childhood literacy by working collaboratively.

The prospect of using summer as an opportunity to hone literacy skills might induce groans from most kids, but solutions to the “summer slide” can actually be entertaining. Read more

“Race Gap” Hurts American Children According to Children’s Budget Review

Photo of children's hands as a team over a globe

When it comes to government spending on children, race matters. In a 2016 review of the federal children’s budget, a growing racial divide was named as one of the largest issues facing American kids.

Demographer Dr. William Frey, who was present at the Children’s Budget Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the nonpartisan advocacy group First Focus, stated that America’s diversity explosion is “bigger than the Baby Boom.” By 2050, the United States will be home to more African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans than whites. In fact, since 2011, more babies from minority populations have been born in the United States than white babies, a demographic reversal that is likely here to stay.

Children of color are the future of the United States. But will they have access to the education and resources they need to reach their potential? Read more

Philadelphia Soda Tax: A Sweet Victory for Kids?

Editor’s Update: The Bill has passed the City Council making Philadelphia the first major city to tax soft drinks.

 

On Wednesday, June 8th, a Philadelphia City Council committee voted “yes” to an amended version of Mayor Jim Kenney’s controversial soda tax. The original tax, 3.0-cents-per-ounce, would have raised an estimated $95 million each year for universal pre-K and improvements to city parks and recreation centers.

The revised proposal calls for a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax and the addition of diet soda to the list of taxable sweetened beverages. At $91 million, the projected revenue is just short of the initial goal. Kenney’s administration has also introduced some last-minute plans for the tax: $41 million of the revenue through 2020 will be applied to the city fund. The City Council is expected to pass this amended bill during this week’s final vote.

But will kids see the promised benefits? Read more

Conflicting Emotions on High School Graduation Rates

High school graduation rates have been the source of a lot of news coverage—and conflicting emotions—in the past few months.

President Obama and 19 governors hailed increasing graduation rates in their annual addresses. At the same time, leading journalists and policy wonks have raised questions about those very gains and about the value of a high school diploma.

How to make sense of this optimism and skepticism? Let’s take it one step at a time.

First, there is no denying the progress in graduation rates. Just 10 years ago, the nation’s on-time high school graduation rate was hovering just over 70 percent, where it had been stuck for decades. Today the graduation rate is 82.3 percent, the highest in history. Read more

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