Ed 502 State of America

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Ed 502 State of America

  1. 1. Running Head: THE STATE OF AMERICA’S CHILDREN 1 State of America’s Children Critical Inquiry Presentation Georgette Eatmon University of West Alabama
  2. 2. The State of America’s Children 2 Child Population Issue Population Gains, Fiduciary Pains Perspectives Historical Major events (wars, Great Depression, passage of immigration laws) have affected population growth. Trends established over a period of almost two centuries show children of color will be the majority group by 2016. Exacerbating that assumption is the change expected in the elderly population over the next 35 years. The changing demographics mean schools, the workforce, and communities will shift. School age children could suffer losses in education and social programs because, historically, federal funding for senior benefits are rarely cut and seniors are capable of shaping policies and voting in elections. (Passel, 2011) Pedagogy The number of students per classroom is not expected to increase; however, the diversity in classrooms will be more obvious. Bilingual educators and second language support will be necessary. Culturally responsive, inclusive classrooms are essential for diverse classrooms (Scott, 2012). Affected Groups Children of color will be impacted first and foremost as schools attempt to modify teaching methods and curricula. Jackson (2012) states that retaining their language and culture is very important to Hispanics. Educators will continue to need staff development to understand cultures and determine how students learn best to ensure that everyone gets an appropriate education. Hispanic families come to America, many of them illegally, in search of economic gains. As they assimilate, third-generation Hispanics are more likely to have higher mortality rates caused by excessive alcohol drinking, smoking, obesity and poor health (Jackson, 2012). Article: Demography of Immigrant Youth: Past, Present, and Future Jeffrey S. Passel The article corroborates the population trends documented in The State of America’s Children. Due to factors such as increased immigration and higher fertility rates of Hispanic families, children of color will for the first time in history outrank other children. The article details how first, second, and third- generation Hispanic families will impact how we live and work together. Passel insists that Hispanic families choose to become Americans and many will adopt and borrow from the culture of Anglo-Americans. This population shift can have negative consequences unless steps are taken to educate the children, reduce poverty and violence, and promote healthy lifestyles particularly for first-generation and African-American students. Students’ cultures must be valued and respected and at the same time schools must give everyone a fair chance to learn and succeed. Federal funding and policy making are expected to be problems for lawmakers as they consider the ramifications of larger populations in states whose resources are limited.
  3. 3. The State of America’s Children 3 Reflection America is still the richest country on earth, but we fail to use our funds to ensure that appropriate health care, housing, and child care are available to children and poor Americans. The data supporting the shifts in population which will include more children of color is already being realized. Although the Hispanic children are U.S. citizens, many have parents who have Democratic values and advocate for big government programs but cannot vote, qualify for social programs, or acquire jobs which pay taxes. As the population continues to shift, but not necessarily the power held by the wealthiest 1%, all people will be affected by the changes (Capra, 2009). The goal should be to ensure that the children of color do not become part of the chronic poor, but through social programs, improved health care, and education become contributing citizens to a society they will shape. At some point in the near future, the children will become voters capable of electing presidents and policymakers. Everyone else in America could be assimilating to their way of life. Child Poverty Issue The Road Out of Poverty Perspectives Historical Brown v. Board of Education integrated schools, but it did not result in an equitable education for all. For years instruction was designed for the dominant culture instead of meeting the needs and offering success to all children through differentiated lessons planned with various learning styles in mind and multicultural themes. Children were expected to become similar to white students in how they learned and processed information. Poverty generally begins as a temporary condition, but becomes chronic over time as the cost of living outpaces the low paying jobs and results in a cycle of latchkey children, teen pregnancies, homelessness, and delinquency. However, the government has the ability to stabilize the families and reduce poverty for many by making education with a focus on job training accessible to all and improving the chance that they will have the finances to take care of their families (Capra, 2009). Policy/Governance/ Legal Several federal programs were designed to reduce poverty through education, housing and nutritional support. Improvements in poverty were noted. But, when states blame groups for their dilemma, they tend to provide programs and design policies that are punitive and sanction families (Alexander, 2010). Pedagogy The chances of a child becoming capable of ending the cycle of poverty increases dramatically when he receives an early start, completes high school, and participates in
  4. 4. The State of America’s Children 4 college or career readiness programs. Educators must be instrumental in connecting with families and determining a child’s needs as a prerequisite to improving achievement. Affected Groups Children of color rank highest on the poverty scale with black children being the poorest. However, poverty affects everyone through higher taxes for prisons and juvenile delinquent programs or programs for teen mothers. Article: Knowing What Works Will Engelhardt and Curtis Skinner Much of the support offered to families in poverty is based on income. Fortunately, many states have adopted new social policies to measure poverty. Factors other than income such as housing, medical expenses or work-related costs affect the ability of parents to provide for their families. The measurements are designed to determine how long a family has been in poverty and what caused the situation. Further studies are done to determine which methods are effective in reducing poverty. Reflection Poverty is an insatiable cancer which can cause unemployment due to factors such as a lack of transportation or child care. The lack of jobs affects per capita tax revenues which reduces the support given to low income citizens and education. But not only does it eat away at jobs; it separates families and causes improper nutrition which tends to promote obesity and health problems. The cycle of poverty can continue for generations. Policymakers and educators understand that poverty is the single greatest threat to a child’s life, and it contributes to all sorts of negative consequences including the ability to learn. Having a society in which the majority of the people are poor and hopeless threatens an entire way of life. Family Structure & Income Issue A Family which Stays Together Tends to Fare Better
  5. 5. The State of America’s Children 5 Perspectives Historical In the 1970s, households were moving rapidly from two parent families in which the mother remained home with the children while dad worked to single-parent families in which the children were left with siblings or grandparents while both parents worked. This has caused instability in homes and schools because the guidance and love necessary to develop social skills or literacy skills are generally absent. Pedagogy Many of the problems associated with low self-esteem, low achievement, and anti-social behavior are connected to students having a poor start. Working families and many single family homes cannot afford high quality child care and rely on alternate, low quality care. This is manifested in lack of school readiness which breeds reading problems as the students get older, retention, and increased drop-out rates (Bailet, Repper, Piasta, & Murphy, 2009). Affected Groups Single-parent homes and the working poor are affected most. According to Jackson (2012) as Hispanic families assimilate the rate of single parent homes escalates. Article: Changing Families, Changing Workplaces Suzanne m. Bianchi The article reviews how families have changed over time. The implementation of twelve hour shifts and forced overtime causes working single mothers to spend many hours away from their children. The article also shows that many homes are disrupted and left with only one parent around the same time that children begin kindergarten. This stressor makes the transition from home to school harder. The advantages of two parent homes include children who are better adjusted because the family has resources to allow children to live in safe and secure homes in which their needs are met in addition to being able to participate in enriching activities such as little league sports or violin lessons. Vacations and other family activities give them background knowledge to understand school related concepts and build upon prior knowledge. Reflection When schools are considered a form of child care instead of a facility for nurturing the whole child, the family tends not to value what education has to offer. Children adopt the attitudes of their parents which makes it very difficult to instill hope for the future in the youth. Becoming a productive citizen and having a nice life may not necessarily be the outcome they aspire to because they are focused on eating, remaining safe, and sometimes just staying alive. Housing & Homelessness Issue Preventing Homelessness Policy/Governance/ Legal Policies and studies to reduce homelessness have resulted in some affordable housing and temporary
  6. 6. The State of America’s Children 6 shelters being made available to families. McKinney-Vento Act defines homelessness as not having a permanent residence and ensures stability for the child in an educational facility. Pedagogy Children who are homeless tend to miss many days from school and many opportunities to learn. They usually have many gaps in learning which affects achievement (Larocca, Taylor & D’Annolfo, 2014). According to Friedman, Calano, Bingulac, Miller, and Zeliger (2013) it also increases the chances that students will not graduate from high school and end up working a low paying job themselves. Affected Groups Children and their families, schools in poor neighborhoods Article: Children and Homelessness in Massachusetts Donna Friedman, Katherine Calano, Marija Bingulac, Christine Miller, Alisa Zeliger Massachusetts has shown lots of improvements in reducing homeless rates. The study showed that many students who are at-risk academically are also transient. They attend schools with the overall lowest performance rating because cheaper housing is generally located in poverty stricken neighborhoods. Massachusetts has formulated a strategic plan for preventing homelessness instead of just instituting policy to react to it. In order to do this, the state has conducted research to locate the homeless population. They disaggregated the data to determine if families were in need of long term care or intermittent care. They reconfigured some guidelines to enable those who were eligible to receive funding and currently have more housing available for families than they do requests. The state collaborates with many agencies to ensure that housing and all other needs are being addressed. Reflection Laws should be in place for families or landlords to report problems with paying rent or mortgage to agencies who have the family’s best interests at heart. Since the physical aspect of homelessness does not occur overnight, the window between declines in income and eviction allows interventions to take place. The programs and initiatives Massachusetts is implementing should resound loudly over the rest of the nation. Shelter is a basic needs which should be guaranteed to all children. Child Hunger & Nutrition Issue Hunger Results in Intellectual and Physical Delays in Children Policy/Governance/ Legal The federal government has established strict nutritional standards for breakfast and lunch programs at schools so children eat at least two healthy meals per day during the
  7. 7. The State of America’s Children 7 school week. Summer feeding programs are available in most states. Other programs have been instituted to ensure that pregnant mothers, babies, and the elderly also receive support. Pedagogy Hunger limits a child’s development physically and mentally and inhibits the ability to learn. Affected Groups Poor children of color under age 5 are in most jeopardy of being hungry because they do not have the advantage of school lunches and are incapable of fending for themselves. Many of them are children of illegal immigrants who because of their status do not sign up for social programs. Reflection Food is a basic need and without it children are exposed to death. A hungry child has physical pains and psychological distress. Special efforts must be made to ensure that the school-age child is at least getting breakfast and lunch at school. Children who are food insecure are often eating foods low in nutritional value and many of the children are overweight. Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) which are effectively reducing child hunger and causing the dire consequences of malnutrition to subside. The task remains to ensure that all children are eating on a daily basis. Child Health Issue Physical and Mental Health Problems Stymie Growth Policy/Governance/ Legal Government policies and programs have been effective in providing insurance for a greater percentage of children. Health insurance is a catalyst for preventative care which benefits children and society. Pedagogy Many factors can contribute to poor health in children, but if the problems are caught early, the child has a better chance of developing appropriately and living a life similar to peers his own age. A healthy child attends school regularly, stays tuned to classroom activities, learns to handle situations socially and achieves academically (LaRocco, Taylor & Annolfo, 2014). Affected Groups Low income children and children of color receive preventative care and have access to needed care less often than white children. Lack of health care affects everyone through increased taxes and programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Article: Urban Community Schools: Educator Perceptions of the Effects of Children’s Health and Wellness on Learning Diana LaRocco, Beth Taylor, Suzanne D’Annolfo The action research sought to explore a connection between healthy students and academic success. The result of this research aligns with data from research conducted nationwide. The study revealed that educators must gain empathy for
  8. 8. The State of America’s Children 8 the children as they learn about their cultures and needs. Family interactions, tardiness, homelessness, or religion can affect a child’s health problems or needs. The group determined through observations and academic success that health problems were caused by stressors which included lack of basic needs, family life, and environments which negatively affected students. The educators came to a consensus that the school should meet the needs of the whole child by offering full services such as daddy groups, nutrition seminars or strategies to curb disruptive behaviors to its families. Reflection When the number of children who have access to health insurance actually acquire and use it, America’s schools will be relatively healthy. Increased education is needed for parents to encourage proactive practices and to help parents maintain prescriptions or understand mental health problems. Educating the whole child means schools and districts must invest in programs to stay connected to its families and the community. Early Childhood Issue A strong start for America’s children Perspectives Historical The need for early childhood education became necessary as both parents left home to work and as single-parent homes increased. In addition, the break- down of the cohesive extended family unit in African American homes intensified the need for childcare. The lack of nurturing parental care in the early years when children require the most molding were connected to a rise in juvenile crimes, retention rates, and aggressive behaviors. Early childhood programs have not been consistently offered, and in times of budget cuts is often one of the first programs to go. Policy/Governance/ Legal Several policies and programs have been initiated to alleviate the problems caused by children who enter schools unprepared for learning. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 restored cuts to early learning programs. President Obama is advocating for preschool for all children. Grants are available to states to develop programs and reduce the cost of quality child care. Pedagogy The cost of leveling the playing field for kindergarten children far exceeds the cost for intervention and prevention. Early learning programs are a proactive approach to preventing reading disabilities in older students. School readiness is a predictor for success in school and life. Affected Groups 96% of children in need of an early start which includes 3 and 4 year olds of color are affected. Educational systems are considered failures because even
  9. 9. The State of America’s Children 9 though children have shown great growth, the academic gains were not on grade level. Article: Letters to Congress on the Strong Start For America’s Children Act NEA Issues and Action The letter highlights the belief that education for America’s 3 and 4 year old youths has long lasting effects. States should receive grants to partner with schools and Early Head Start programs. The investment benefits the entire country in increased graduation rates, reduced poverty, and employed citizens. Reflection According to Kids Health (2013) reading stimulates the baby, builds memory, listening and vocabulary, and introduces them to the world around them. Reading to a child creates a child who reads. When a baby does not benefit from being communicated and interacted with at an early age when their brains are developing rapidly, they are placed in the “catch-up” mode. By the time a child reaches kindergarten at age 5, the teacher and system must expend lots of energy and expenses to prepare the child to read and compute. Education Issue Many Children are being Left Behind Pedagogy Children living in poverty reside with parents who are poor and mostly uneducated. Since children tend to mimic the adults in their lives, a cycle of poverty can be easily created (LaRocco, Taylor, and D’Annolfo, 2014). The families offer few activities in the child’s culture or any culture due to lack of funds. Children are not socialized through reading and enter school unprepared to learn. A late start manifests itself through retention, low academic achievement, high dropout rates and prison time. Affected Groups Students of color fared worse in graduation rates and the ability to read or compute. Society as a whole feels the brunt of an inadequate education for its children. Article: Should Struggling Students Repeat a Grade? (2013) Julie Williams The article is relevant here because the majority of students retained are Hispanic and African American. Retention is a punitive strategy designed to help students catch up. Williams (2013) reports that the gains derived from retention are short-termed. In addition, the older retained students have social problems such as bullying or inability to form friendships with younger students. Retention is thought to be the largest predictor of drop-out rates. Reflection In order to retain the status of being a world power, America’s citizens must be educated and capable of governing and making laws, communicating and trading with others, being fiscally capable, and promoting democratic goals which include ensuring the well-being of all of its citizens. Educating all
  10. 10. The State of America’s Children 10 children, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion should be our goal. Child Welfare Issue Child Abuse and Neglect are Wide-Ranging Pedagogy Abused children are often moved from their home schools as a form of protection. Students are separated from their friends and families and must adjust to new learning environments. They sometimes develop emotional, social, and physical barriers to learning. The children are often traumatized to the extent that they began to exhibit problem behaviors which can also contribute to high dropout rates (Alexander, 2010). Affected Groups Infants and toddlers, many of whom are placed in foster care and never return to their families and instead are more likely to go to prison; African American children- abuse has declined, but is still high. Article: The Impact of Poverty on African American Children in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice System Rudolph Alexander The first point of the article as it related to child welfare was that poor, lower class, and minority children are overrepresented in the child welfare system. The second point was that children who are in the foster care system for long periods of time usually do not live socially productive lives as adults. The final critical point stated that many African American children were in the foster system for minimalistic reasons such as they were hungry or their clothing was dirty. They were taken away from parents whose only crime was being poor. Reflection Many of the supports that are currently being implemented such as affordable housing, quality child care starting at age three, nutritional programs, revamped definitions of poverty, tax credits, jobs which pay a living wage, and appropriate education for all would elevate families out of poverty and essentially eliminate the need for a child welfare system. Since most children are not abused, the children would be returned to live with their families. Happy children tend to do well in school, plan what they want to be when they grow up, and strive to get there. Juvenile Justice Issue Incarceration As the First Option Perspectives Historical The plight of African Americans has been similar throughout history; they were imprisoned in proportionately higher numbers than whites. Prisons became primary tool for controlling people in poverty
  11. 11. The State of America’s Children 11 Policy/Governance/ Legal The African American Child Welfare Act was began to establish a child protection system, educational system in juvenile delinquency system, and improved health care. Most of the benefits of the act occur after the child enters the juvenile justice system. Progress needs to be made to ensure that children never reach the system by providing family support, after school programs to eliminate violence in the environment, and treatment programs. Pedagogy Children at-risk of school failure usually have trouble adapting to the school environment and are often disruptive. Early interventions include suspension from school which gives the child opportunities to become involved in other violent or criminal activities. Schools have a mandate to ensure that all children learn, but when students’ health or mental needs are not met, the ability to learn is compromised. Extra supports must begin at the elementary level so punitive measures can be eliminated in favor of interventions which eliminate and improve behaviors. Affected Groups African American children and other children of color Article: The Impact of Poverty on African American Children in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems Rudolph Alexander The poorest Americans are people of color. Not only are they the most likely to be imprisoned, they are the most likely to have poor health care, a poor education, be homeless, have improper nutrition, be retained and the list goes on and on. Research shows that all of the dire conditions African Americans face are connected and sometimes forced upon them because they are considered less respectable. The children are adjudicated and placed in the welfare system for much longer than white children and for offenses which are less violent. Reflection The parents of African American children have come under much scrutiny for how they raised their children and particularly for spanking. Parents have taken a hands-off approach to raising their children because abuse charges send them to jail, and they did not have alternative approaches for redirecting behaviors. Assimilating to the dominant culture’s child rearing practices has not been as beneficial as society planned. Family support is needed, but knowledge of children and families is essential. Gun Violence Issue Do laws of the land enable youthful offenders?
  12. 12. The State of America’s Children 12 Policy/Governance/ Legal Schools have strict policies about having weapons on school grounds, but the availability of weapons makes them easy to attain and they continue to be a leading cause of death for all children, but rank first among African American children. Pedagogy Gun violence has the ability to end educational aspirations forever for the youth committing the violent act and the person who is the recipient of the attack. For children who must live in constant fear of an attack, the ability to learn and feel safe at school is compromised. Caring, safe school environments are necessary for academic success. Affected Groups African American children, all of society Article: Victories Over Violence: The Quest for Safe Schools and Communities (2013) Martin Mitchell, & Larry Brendtro The second amendment to the constitution states, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The right to own guns supersedes any debate about the availability of weapons to youth or irresponsible behaviors which allow weapons to go unaccounted. Gun-lobbyists generally refuse any attempt at sensible gun control because giving in a little might mean all rights could be taken away. Research has shown that many youthful offenders have been bullied or fail in personal relationships, but just as many youth have shown no signs of discontent. A proactive approach is needed to teach children to respect others, embrace diversity, problem solve, and connect to at least one adult. Reflection Students prone to violent behavior sometimes lack interpersonal skills to enjoy friendships and socialize with other youths. Additional factors include mental health problems, bullying, or family problems. Designing networks to connect school, home and community are essential to understanding children and providing the health care, mental care, or support needed. Reducing the availability of guns to children and teens is critical. References Alexander, R. (2010). The impact of poverty on African American children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Forum on Public Policy 2010(4), 1-16. Retrieved from files.eric.ed.gov.fulltext/EJ913052.pdf Bailet, L.L., Repper, K.K., Piasta, S.B., & Murphy, S. P. (2009). Emergent Literacy Intervention for Prekindergarteners at Risk for Reading Failure. Journal of Learning Disabilities 42(4), 336-353. doi 10.1177/002221940335218
  13. 13. The State of America’s Children 13 Bianchi, S. (2011). Changing families, changing workplaces. Future of Children 21(2), 15-26. Children’s Defense Fund (2014). The state of America’s children. Retrieved from http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/state-of-americas-children/? gclid=CK7Qg575mb0CFa_m7Aod6SQAwQ Engelhardt, W., & Skinner, C. (2013). Knowing what works. National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved from www.nccp.ort.publication/pub-1081,html Friedman, D. H., Calano, K., Bingulac, M., Miller, C., & Zeliiger, A. (2013). Children and homelessness in Massachusetts. New England Journal of Public Policy 25(1), 1-12. Jackson, T. (2012). How well do Hispanics assimilate? Retrieved from amren.com Kids Health (2013) Reading books to babies. Retrieved from kidshealth.org Kusler, M. (2013). Letters to congress on the strong start for America’s children act. Retrieved from nea.org. LaRocco, D. J., Taylor, B. A., D’Annolfo, S.C. (2014). Urban community schools: Educator perceptions of the effects of children’s health and wellness on learning. Current Issues in Education 17(1), 1-10. Mitchell, M. L. & Brendtro, L.K., (2013). Victories over violence: The quest for safe schools and communities. Reclaiming Children and Youth 22(3), 5-10. Passel, J. S. (2011). Demography of immigrant youth: Past, present, and future. Future of Children 21(1), 19-41. Scott, M. T. (2012). Socio-emotional and psychological issues and needs of gifted African- American students: Culture matters. Interdisciplinary Journal of Teaching and Learning 2(1), 23-33. Retrieved from eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.uwa.edu2048/eds/pdfviewer Williams, J. (2013). Should struggling students repeat a grade? Retrieved from education.com

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