For the first time in history, American children under age 2 are primarily children of color, and one and three of them live in poverty, according to a report by the Children’s Defense Fund.
“The State of America’s Children 2014” says neglect of American children is the top national security threat and calls on President Barack Obama and other politicians “in every party at every level to mount a long overdue, unwavering, and persistent war to prevent and eliminate child poverty.”
“Every fourth infant, toddler and preschool child (5 million) is poor; 1 in 8 is extremely poor. A majority of our one- and two-year-olds are already children of color,” the report says. “Every fifth child (16.1 million) is poor, and every tenth child (7.1 million) is extremely poor.”
The report found that African American children are the poorest. In almost half of the states, black child poverty rates are 40 percent or more.
In Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin half or more black children live in poverty.
Fewer than half of 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool, although quality childhood education is a predictor of growth and success.
Many of these children grow up to drop out of school.
“Nearly 60 percent of all fourth and eighth grade public school students and more than 80 percent of Black and almost 75 percent of Hispanic children in these grades could not read or compute at grade level in 2013,” the report says.
The CDF says privatization of public education and standardized testing are creating a stumbling block.
"The greatest threat to America’s economic, military and national security comes from no enemy without but from our failure, unique among high income nations, to invest adequately and fairly in the health, education and sound development of all of our young," it adds.