Today’s Children

TODAY’S CHILDREN: CREATING A FUTURE FOR A GENERATION IN CRISIS achieves a remarkable coup. In fewer than four hundred pages it manages to profile in clear and intelligent prose the current status of the family unit and of the educational and health care delivery systems in the United States, and to show precisely how society’s failures establish an increasingly hopeless environment for children and adolescents. Author David Hamburg, a physician and administrator, argues that although experts in every area understand dilemmas peculiar to their own fields, significant change will occur only when leaders recognize the implications of the ways in which all social systems impact one another. It isn’t enough, he suggests, to talk about reforming public education alone, as deficiencies in our schools are irrevocably linked to such problems as homelessness, single-parent households, poverty, and inaccessible and expensive health care.

Hamburg provides specific solutions to the difficulties he defines. For example, he writes that to improve family child care, “we must guarantee providers a decent income to encourage capable people to participate. Second, we must institute standardized training, both before day-care providers begin to work and while they are on the job...[to] promote acceptance of and adherence to high standards of care. Third, we must construct local and regional mutual-aid networks so providers have access to other resources for help,...

(The entire section is 401 words.)