Written on October 8th, 2014
DAVID KIRP is a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley. He taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was founding director of the Harvard Center on Law and Education. He served on President Obama's presidential transition team. A former associate editor of the Sacramento Bee and syndicated columnist, his books include The Sandbox Investment: The Preschool Movement and Kids-First Politics; Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education; and his latest, KIDS FIRST: Five Big Ideas For Transforming Children's Lives And America's Future
What's good enough for a child you love?
What's good enough parenting? Good enough early education? Good enough healthcare? Good enough schools? Good enough support for college?
Today's guest, DAVID KIRP, envisions a national effort to support and develop our children based on a simple but powerful "Golden Rule:" Every child deserves what's good enough for a child you love.
His "Kids-First Agenda" takes two exceptions to much of current thinking and policy. First, while most policy for children focuses on K-12 classrooms, research makes clear that what happens before kindergarten and after school each day is at least as important in the their development.
Second, while programs for children usually concentrate on helping the very poorest, Kirp argues that, in this era of underperforming public schools, budget cuts, and two-worker families, America's middle class also needs help. Not only that, programs for the poor are constantly under threat; programs that serve the wider public are more sustainable.
In KIDS FIRST, he offers on-the-ground accounts of initiatives that work - and that could affordably be implemented in communities everywhere - to achieve five key priorities:
1) strong support for new parents,
2) high-quality early education,
3) linking schools and communities to improve what both offer children,
4) giving all kids access to a caring and stable adult mentor,
5) providing kids a nest egg to help pay for college or kick-start a career.