As we take stock of the current state of America's children and the desperate need to change direction for the future, some ancient wisdom can give us a blueprint for setting sail and getting our children to safe harbor.
As the president and Congress struggle to find a way to lower the budget deficit and to raise the debt ceiling before we default on our debt for the first time in history, I hope they will stay away from further cuts in essential food, health, education, and other supports children need.
Right now, many of our elected officials are letting a no-new-taxes pledge take precedence. They are putting this before the pledge to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands, and to the promise of liberty and justice for all.
President Obama has called education the civil rights issue of our time. Now is the time for the next transforming freedom moment and movement -- to set our children free from illiteracy, low expectations, and jobless, hopeless futures.
While the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, language, ethnicity, religion and age, there is still no law that affirmatively guarantees citizens the right to vote.
"I had never seen so much color," Angelica Salazar recalls of her first days as a Head Start preschooler. Her parents, who spoke mostly Spanish, enrolled her in the program knowing their little girl would need English to succeed in school.
The low cost of covering children compared to the high costs of dealing with the consequences later is a no brainer: An uninsured child costs the local community $2,100 more than coverage for a child with Medicaid.
"For poor children... poverty means more than money. For them, it can be a life sentence of exile from the larger society... Poor children and children who are not poor live in utterly different worlds."
When Hurricane Katrina hit, it opened people's eyes to a side of race and poverty in our nation that is often hidden. There's no single signature picture of child and family suffering from the BP oil crisis this time around. But the need for help is overwhelming.
Playgrounds across the country give our children a place to have fun and be creative. Imagine my surprise, then, when a fake "jail" appeared in a playground at the Tompkins Houses in Bedford Stuyvesant.
All of us have a responsibility to honor the leaders who came before us and paved our way. We have a special obligation to preserve the homes and places that serve as tangible connections between history and the next generation.
Nickelodeon has launched a new initiative to help provide preschoolers the resources, skills, and support they will need to be well-prepared for school and ready to start their school years on the right path.