Dear American Public,
I would like you to stop for a moment and think about this country’s resources. What would you consider the most important resource for the future of this country? Oil? Land? Corn? Just think for a minute about what one resource will greatly affect our future more than any other.
What did you pick? Hedge funds? PAC money?
How many of you picked our children?
If you think about it, our children are the greatest resource we have. It is they who will grow up to run this country, continue innovating and building the future, take care of us in our old age. So why do we treat them like they don’t matter?
I’m not talking about individual parents. Some of them treat their children like they are some miraculous gift from a higher power and that’s not very good either, but that’s another post. I’m talking about our country as a whole. We allow more than 16 million children to live in abject poverty, not knowing where their next meal is coming from. That’s nearly a quarter of all children in the US.
We treat the entire education system like a business that is pumping out widgets — all the same, all only moderately important — rather than focusing on using actual research into how children learn to modify our education system to focus on the whole child rather than how well she can do on a single day of testing. We don’t consider early and secondary education to be important, just something to get through. We push kids to go to college when many of them aren’t close to ready for it or even need to go. We steer many of them away from the skills that are their strengths, like working with their hands, perhaps, in favor of pushing STEM education on them when they aren’t interested and can’t handle it. Not everyone needs to be a doctor or an engineer.
We consider it acceptable to have as many children as we want and then dump them into over-crowded day care centers where, surprise!, they develop attachment disorders because they never have a primary caregiver in their lives. In some places in this country we still force women of all ages, some possibly too young to even call women, to have children rather than abortions, which brings another child into the world who is probably unwanted and will not grow up in anything near an optimal situation, often dumped into the foster care system. Just another statistic to add to the pile of the poor kids in this country.
Why? Why do we ignore the problems we have in the way we treat children in this country but we give tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies to insure they won’t fail? Why do we consider teachers, those who help to shape the minds of our future generations, low-class workers who don’t deserve respect and allow people who are under-qualified to become teachers? Why do we think this is okay?
“Oh, don’t worry. Most of the kids will be just fine.”
Really, when was the last time you wanted anything to be “just fine”? Why not “great”? Why not “the best”? Why not “secure, loved, wanted, and healthy”?
I have no answer to these questions. I wish I did. Then, maybe, I’d run for president or something. So, I ask you, America, why do you treat our children like garbage, at worst, and fashionable accessories, at best?
Dan Ferat, concerned citizen