Regardless of the biological reality of race, as a social construct it yields some disturbing statistics. The Plain Dealer reports the infant mortality rate for blacks is still staggeringly high In Ohio, and one in three black children still live in poverty. But there were some bright spots in the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio report.
- Between 1991 and 2001, births to teen moms dropped from 26 percent to 21 percent of births to all black women. Head Start enrollment for preschool-age children jumped from 47 percent of eligible children to 75 percent. The number of black children getting immunized shot up from 52 percent to 76 percent.
Still, the mixed results shocked some social workers and childrens’ advocates who hoped for more promising statistics for Ohio’s 415,000 black children.
….The report found that 372 black infants died before turning 1 in 2001, a rate of 16 out of every 1,000 births. The rate was six infant deaths per 1,000 births for children of all other races.
….Everyone will feel the effect of the successes and failures, not just black families, said Eileen Cooper Reed, director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio.
“If we put the money in up front and made sure kids were educated and got the health care they needed, we won’t have to pay $30,000 down the road for a jail cell,” Reed said. “It doesn’t take a lot.”
The report also features programs that helped children achieve some of the goals. Whitney M. Young Middle School in Cleveland was touted as a model for student achievement. The population is 84 percent black and at least half of the students are from low-income families, yet 83 percent of sixth-graders passed the state proficiency test in math and reading last year.
Whitney Young Principal Beth Haines-Hager said parents are actively involved with the school and teachers challenge the students.
“You put kids in a setting where academic achievement is expected and demanded and encourage their performance, and good things happen,” Haines-Hager said.
That is exactly right, expectations mean everything: parents must value education and demand academic success from their children. If they do this in conjunction with the schools, success is inevitable.
I also agree with the bleeding liberal notion of “pay me now or pay me later” when it comes to children: if all children are properly educated and receive adequate health care, they are much more likely to be self-sufficient and contribute to society, regardless of race, creed or color.