Children’s Sabbath 2011

Forgive the poor quality of this image. It's a photograph of a newspaper article. Sadly, it's one of the few photos I have of myself in my classroom.

This weekend we observe Children’s Sabbath. The Children’s Defense Fund says, “this year Children’s Sabbath will focus on the closing the achievement gap in education that currently has children in poverty and children of color falling further and further behind, and ensuring that education becomes the engine of equality, not inequality. The level of educational achievement is the best predictor of future income; ensuring that every child gets a high quality education is the best poverty-prevention program we have.” Having spent 12 years teaching in a school with a very high poverty level this topic is close to my heart.

Here are a few stats for you from the State of America’s Children report done by the Children’s Defense Fund in 2010.

  • The annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old is more than the annual in-state tuition at a public four-year college in 36 states and the District of Columbia.
  • In 20 states, a family must have an income that is below 175 percent of the poverty level to receive a public child care subsidy.
  • Only 8 states and the District of Columbia require 5-year-olds to be enrolled in school.
  • The U.S. spends almost three times as much per prisoner as per public school pupil.
  • 46% of Black high school students, 39% of Hispanic and 11% of White students attend the 2,000 “drop-out factories” across our country, where less than 60% of the freshman class will graduate in four years with a regular diploma.

Staggering numbers, aren’t they? How many of you, when you think of Children’s Sabbath and helping the needy children of the world picture, in our minds eye, the starving children of Africa? Often, I think, we believe the problems are “out there” in some far away unreachable place. But the reality is, they are right here in our own backyard.

So what can we do? First I think we need to educate ourselves. One great way to start is to watch the movie “Waiting for Superman” Take a peek at the trailer…Waiting for Superman Trailer. Then we need to find ways to support the schools and teachers in our own cities. There are great resources on

What can you do today to change not only the life of your own child, but also the life of a child in need?

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