This week columnist Tom Friedman of the New York Times used one of our favorite phrases, and applied it to a lesson about public education:
One question: Are you putting kids and their education first?
Because we know what works, and it's not a miracle cure. It is the whatever-it-takes-tenacity of the Geoffrey Canadas; it is the no-excuses-seriousness of the KIPP school (Knowledge is Power Program) founders; it is the lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way ferocity of the Washington and New York City school chancellors, Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein.
And it is the quiet heroism of millions of … teachers and parents who do put kids first by implementing the best ideas.
Friedman's vision for education has some striking similarities to Texans Care for Children's vision for kids' health, safety, developmental success, and economic security. In each instance, putting kids first means demanding more of a community and of ourselves when it comes to this incredibly important resource, our children. People who put kids first say, "Are we doing our best for our children? Are we rejecting the excuses and declaring instead, 'Not only can we get this done, we must'? Are we looking at what works and committing to replicating it? Because until we have a resounding ‘yes' for all of those, we miss a chance to shore up our state's future."
For the record, in a year when budget constraints threaten to divide advocates for Texas services, putting kids first emphatically does not mean putting vital services for adult Texans on the chopping block, nor does it mean our obligation to our fellow humans somehow concludes when they reach 18.
Instead, to put kids first is to put a check on ourselves when we make decisions that affect them--and, thereby, affect us all when the time comes for them to lead. It is a reminder to challenge our leaders, businesses, community organizations, and families with the idea that, simply charting the path of least resistance is not enough. These are our children. If we are not doing what is in their best interest--what will foster their success and, therefore, one day Texas's success--we need to go back to the table and try again. Each of us has the capacity to be among those quiet heroes, implementing the best ideas for children. Texas simply requires the will.
News and Reports Weekly Round-Up
Child and Maternal Health
8.27.10 Better Food for Thought: Local School Districts Offer Less Fat, More Imagination in Effort to Make Students Healthier (Houston Chronicle)
8.25.10 Underinsured Children More Prevalent than Uninsured (HealthDay)
More Health News...
8.21.10 Deep Cuts in Family Services Proposed for 2012-2013 (Austin American Statesman)
More Protection News...
Family Financial Security Headlines
8.25.10 Proposed Budget Cuts Tough on Texas's Destitute, Mentally Ill: TANF Cuts Planned (Dallas Morning News)
8.26.10 HUD Announces $189 Million for Community Revitalization (U.S. Housing and Urban Development)
More Financial Security News...
Juvenile Justice Headlines
8.26.10 Texas Youth Commission Faces More Inquiry, Following Alleged Abuses (Newsroom)
8.25.10 16th National Symposium on Juvenile Services to be Held Oct. 10-13 in San Antonio (National Partnership for Juvenile Services)
More Juvenile Justice News…
Child Mental Wellbeing Headlines
More Mental Health News...
More About Kids
8.25.10 The Human Impact of Proposed Budget Cuts (Newsroom)
More News About Kids…