The Election: Children Now… and Beyond 2016

Day after day, day and night, pundits (some of the actually in the know) emit a steady stream of commentary, analysis, and a heaping dose of allegations and insinuations, one candidate in particular garnering disproportionate attention.  With all we have seen and heard about the 2016 election, has anyone asked how this very unfunny circus show is affecting children?  Well, at least one group has, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which recently released a survey, The Trump Effect: The impact of the presidential campaign on our nation’s schools, also available online.

SPLC Trump Effect

The report is the result of a week-long survey, in which nearly 2,000 people submitted more than 5,000 comments.  SPLC admits that, with its non-random sample, the survey cannot be entirely scientific; the responders all have signed up to receive newsletters and e-mail updates.

Though students have been “…increasingly political (which is good), …the extreme rhetoric being modeled is not helping their ability to utilize reason and evidence, rather than replying in kind.”  Furthermore, many students “…see the candidates as jokes and are offended and dismayed for the future.”   Even more disturbing are the deeper and long-term consequence, namely that more than two-thirds of teachers reported that many of their Muslim and immigrant students have expressed stark fear about what will happen to them and their families.  Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has increased in the schools of more than one-third the respondents, in many cases involving students being at the receiving end of bullying, with all that involves, from crying in class to sleepless nights to sharp declines in feelings of self-worth and even suicidal thoughts.

There is no doubt that the current toxic political environment is having a deleterious effect on our children.  Somehow, beyond this valuable report, this topic has not made headlines, somehow deemed less of concern, less worthy than juvenile comments about genitalia, which are anything but child’s play.

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International Literacy Day, 2013 – Literacy Is a Fundamental Human Right!

According to UNESCO, “Literacy is a right and a foundation for lifelong learning, better well-being and livelihoods. As such it is a driver for sustainable and inclusive development.”  The right to an education was espoused by Dr. Korczak and enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  UNESCO’s 2013 statement continues, “Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.”

The general Web site with links is here:  http://bit.ly/14H2DH3
With another article: http://bit.ly/18Qsbmf
And an informative infographic: http://bit.ly/17SvkAY

The latter shows that the literacy rates in nations around the world.  While there has been progress, 57 million children out of school face a life of illiteracy and poverty.  This would have been a major concern to Janusz Korczak and will
continue to be in the minds of dedicated educators and child advocates everywhere.

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