November will be a critical month for children and families as the 12-member “supercommittee” works to forge a deal to find at least $1.5 trillion in budget cuts by Thanksgiving. Will children gathered around the table be thankful Congress avoided additional cuts to children’s health programs and education? Or will some congressional lawmakers protect corporations over children and billionaires over babies, telling our most vulnerable population to tighten their belts?
So much is at stake in November. Each of us must pressure our members of Congress from now until Thanksgiving. We must make the phones of our lawmakers ring off the hook and let them hear from us in a loud, unified voice, “protect children from all cuts, and invest in their healthcare, education and well-being!”
Help Us Change the Odds
On November 15th, CDF’s national office will celebrate five extraordinary high school students who have overcome tremendous challenges to excel academically and give back to their community with our annual Beat the Odds® awards ceremony. Each student will receive a scholarship, college counseling, a laptop computer, and an invitation to join CDF leadership training ladder to help pave the road to college and a successful adulthood. Join us in Washington, D.C., or in December in California or New York for one of our inspirational Beat the Odds events. Help to change the odds and support these young people by making a donation to the Beat the Odds Scholarship Fund. Watch this short video trailer of one of our 2011 Beat the Odds recipients, the exceptional Anh Luong, and learn more about this year’s honorees.
Student-led Movement to Dismantle the Pipeline to Prison
More than 100 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) student leaders were trained as part of the 2011 Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALTŪ) program to develop a student-led movement to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline—one of the worst crises facing Black children since slavery. CDF, on behalf of the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC), held the YALT program as part of its mission to train 5,000 new young leaders—half of them Black males—over five years to connect young servant leaders with advocacy campaigns across the United States. The four-day intensive training took place at CDF’s Haley Farm in Clinton, Tenn., this past weekend. The student leaders held a live national call to action webcast for their peers on Saturday, October 29. The young leaders called on students to help build a collective student voice to engage with local, state and national legislatures on policies that affect children, develop strategies on college campuses to address the urgent needs of children, and replace the Cradle to Prison Pipeline with a pipeline to college, productive work and successful adulthood. Watch this slideshow of young leaders in training.
Congress Leaves Student Accountability Behind
Congress has already delayed reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as the No Child Left Behind Act, for four years. On October 20th, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee finally passed a bill which included a number of positive reforms such as measures to make school funding within districts more equitable, support for college and career-ready standards and full-day kindergarten, and educational improvements for children and youth who are homeless, in foster care, and in juvenile justice facilities.
Despite these bright spots, CDF has serious concerns about the accountability framework created by the legislation. The bill limits federal accountability measures to a small percentage of low-performing schools and does not require states to set specific performance goals for student improvement. Marian Wright Edelman, CDF president, was among a number of advocates who sent a letter to members of Congress on October 11th expressing these concerns. The letter can be viewed here.
And you can learn more about CDF's priorities for education reform here and check out to our ESEA Watch page for updates!
Remembering Dr. King
Earlier this month, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman spoke at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. She recalled how Dr. King called for a “Poor People’s Campaign” in 1968, when there was 25.4 million poor Americans including 11 million poor children. Mrs. Edelman called on everyone to commit to action for the 16.4 million poor children today. “If we don't break up that cradle to prison pipeline, which is sending 1 in 3 ten year old Black boys to prison, we are going to have a new apartheid in America,” Edelman declared. "Speak up and rescue your children from the prison industrial complex." Read her recent Child Watch Column honoring Dr. King or watch the video of her speech.
Children of Hard Times
“I am terrified for my girls’ future,” Walter Harper said. “Something seriously has to be done because people can’t survive anymore. Everything is going up except paychecks.” The Harper family is one of five families profiled in CDF’s “Children of Hard Times” series that chronicles the new faces of child poverty. Read the stories and check back next month as we continue to tell the stories of poor children and their families.
Stay Warm with a CDF Hoodie
As the mornings turn colder, offer your child a comforting and warm hooded sweatshirt with the CDF logo on front. Maybe you can get one for yourself too! Turn to the CDF Online Store for more ways to show your support of CDF.