To the Editor:
I was extremely touched and excited by Maurice J. Elias’ Dec. 10, 2008, Commentary “How to Foster Children’s Resilience While They Wait for Schools to Improve.” The theme of resilience is not spoken of enough in the context of policies for low-income children. Here in New York City, we still struggle to find a way to give such children and youths a voice—a way of allowing them to be heard and their experiences acknowledged by policymakers.
Mr. Elias’ essay described a concrete strategy that communities can adopt to carve a space for the voices of young people in public discourse. More policymakers should follow the example he cites of Plainfield, N.J., and actively engage in dialogue with young people around their shared experiences and values. Perhaps then low-income children would not have to wait for policies to catch up to their needs.
Brooke J. Richie
Resilience Advocacy Project
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the February 04, 2009 edition of Education Week as Finding Ways to Give Poor Children a Voice