Opinion
Federal Letter to the Editor

Calling All Presidential Hopefuls: How Are U.S. Children Doing?

February 09, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Now that the 2016 presidential-primary election season has arrived, I offer a homework assignment for our candidates.

Many questions will be raised in the coming months. However, in my view, there is one question that supersedes all others because it zeroes in on the heart, values, priorities, and vision that those vying for America’s top political office should have.

My question to each of the presidential candidates is simply this: How are America’s children doing?

If you are going to serve as the next president of the United States, you need to get to know America’s children. I challenge each of you to veer off the campaign trail from time to time and leave the cameras behind. Seek out the growing number of children living in poverty, which many people in the wealthiest nation in the world are too embarrassed to admit exist. Talk to children who live in foster care, on the streets, or in homeless shelters.

Talk to children who come from homes where food is scarce. Talk to children who take care of siblings because the adults in their homes are too strung out on drugs to be responsible. Ask all of these children about their hopes for the future. More important, ask whether or not they believe their dreams are achievable. As you listen to their voices, look into their eyes. In that moment, you will see what our nation will look like 20 years from now.

When your homework is complete, answer that single question in front of the cameras. Sharing a thoughtful response and an actionable plan for change will give us insight into your vision for a stronger America.

As for the “grade” on your completed assignment, that will be delivered on Nov. 8.

C.J. Huff

Joplin, Mo.

The writer is a retired public school educator and superintendent.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the February 10, 2016 edition of Education Week as Calling All Presidential Hopefuls: How Are U.S. Children Doing?

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal What the Federal 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Actually Says
The bill would restrict federal funds for lessons on LGBTQ identities. The outcome of this week's election could revive its prospects.
4 min read
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in front of the Florida State Capitol on March 7, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida House Republicans advanced a bill, dubbed by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, rejecting criticism from Democrats who said the proposal demonizes LGBTQ people.
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022. Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law was a model for a federal bill introduced last month.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Fed's Education Research Board Is Back. Here's Why That Matters
Defunct for years, the National Board for Education Sciences has new members and new priorities.
2 min read
Image of a conference table.
vasabii/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion NAEP Needs to Be Kept at Arm’s Length From Politics
It’s in all our interests to ensure NAEP releases are buffered from political considerations and walled off from political appointees.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Feds Emphasize Legal Protections for Pregnant or Recently Pregnant Students, Employees
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new resource summary related to pregnancy discrimination in schools.
2 min read
Young girl checking her pregnancy test, sitting on beige couch at home.
iStock/Getty Images Plus