It’s an ingenious title, when you think of it. Also a little ambiguous.
The Future of Children — the collaboration between the Brookings Institution and Princeton University’s Wilson School of Public and International Affairs — is it about future generations of children and our commitment (or lack thereof) to them? That’s the way I’ve always read it. Or is it about the future of today’s children and the kind of lives they will lead as adults?
It’s about both, of course, because the future of children — today’s and tomorrow’s — is the most compelling issue facing our society today.
Unfortunately, we often don’t treat children’s futures with the kind of commitment and urgency they deserve. As Laura Moore, of the Brookings-Princeton collaboration, notes in her blog last week on the challenges facing immigrant children, “without purchasing, voting, or lobbying power, the well-being of children can easily get lost in the debates, which is why knowledge and advocacy on the behalf of children is so critical.”
In other words, adults teachers, school board members, school administrators, and others must do the speaking for them. That’s one reason why thousands of them are going to NSBA’s 71st Annual Conference in San Francisco this week: to give voice to the voiceless.
Ironically, those most in need of a voice are also the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population: immigrant children. Thus, by definition, their success and the nation’s are inextricably combined. Appropriately, the latest Future of Children volume is devoted to them.
“Most of the recommendations in these volumes, and other Future of Children volumes, suggest prioritizing and investing in children now — regardless of their circumstances and often ahead of other interests,” Moore writes. “This is simply because investments in child well-being are the smartest ones we can make.”
Lawrence Hardy, Senior Editor