It has been quite a year of controversy and struggle in our political process in America. Let’s talk about what might happen to our children.
As we transition to a new administration…
This week will be monumental and have significant impact to all of us. It is impossible to project what will happen in our country, and there is certainly a great deal of concern and apprehension about what is next for America.
Numerous discussions and debates on economics, healthcare, foreign trade and policy, ISIS, taxes, immigration and rebuilding our infrastructure have occurred. All these issues are important and noteworthy. And I am hopeful we will work diligently to build our country in positive ways during the next years of a new administration and legislature.
We have heard promises about our future and how much improvement can possibly occur.
Yet, I have not been impressed as there seems to be an obvious omission.
Where is the serious dialogue about the state of our children, family supports, mental health programs, educational system reform, addiction programs, trauma and other issues that truly have effect to our children and schools?
Some strategies like School Choice, the growth of Charter Schools and other suggestions may be forthcoming, but do they truly address the reality we are facing?
A crisis is happening in many of our public schools and communities.
- Some inner city schools do not even have books and furniture much less a healthy environment for learning.
- Moreover, there exists a significant problem with violence and bullying.
- Further, statistics show a distinct rise in mental illness among our youth.
- This leads hand in hand to many families struggling with opioid addictions.
- Overwhelming poverty and its life-changing consequences is prevalent in cities and rural counties.
- Our educational standing in the world has dropped dramatically, and the list goes on.
I recognize that we are at the beginning of our journey with the new administration. I remain hopeful we will see some progress for the better.
Also, it is my hope that once first initiatives are completed, we will work diligently and intentionally to allocate resources to deal with some of the most difficult social problems that are so devastating to our children.
I have made the point many times that issues like some of the mass shootings we have experienced are a product of untreated mental illness. Not addressing these types of issues will lead to more consequences for our country and the safety of its people.
There is so much to do and we need to rise to the challenges.
A number of good organizations like Lakeside are doing amazing work with children, families and systems that care for those in need. I hope a resurgence of funding and resources will lead to a new emphasis on improving the conditions of our children in America. But with such little dialogue around the critical issues I have mentioned, I am concerned our children may be overlooked.
We have ways to help our children.
- We have schools that create great environments for learning that could be widely-adopted models.
- We have training available for helping our professionals be more attuned and gain a new lens for those who are traumatized.
- We have systems of professional development that could really help our caregivers be equipped to respond to a variety of needs with neurological sophistication.
- There are solid parenting education programs to help our parents and that list also goes on and on.
As difficult as our problems are, we continue to have hope. With adequate resources applied to our systems of care, we can implement changes vital to the survival, support and success of our children. It is my deep hope that they become one of the priorities of our new administration that will transition into power this week.
We need our children to become a priority in America.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network