August: Education and Child Development

Aug 17, 2015

By Jane Doyle

“A child without education is like a bird without wings”
---- Tibetan proverb

August is our annual spotlight on Education and Child Development. One of the groups the Foundation has worked with the past several years is By The Hand Club for Children. Would you find, as I did, these facts horrifying?

  • In Chicago, it is not unusual to find kids as young as 8 already involved in gangs
  • 37% of third-grade students read below the “basic level”
  • 40% of students in the Chicago Public School system drop out
  • 1-3 children in Chicago lives in poverty
  • 80% of inner-city kids grow up in a female-headed family
  • In the poorest neighborhoods, the homicide rate is 10% higher than in other neighborhoods

And it’s not just Chicago. Across the nation, 25% of kids, on any given day, do not have access to consistent food to keep them nourished (and able to be attentive and productive in school). Up to 25% of children have a vision problem that is untreated and hinders learning. 1 in 9 has dental problems not being addressed. And finally, $221,000 is the cost to taxpayers for every high school dropout over his/her lifetime.

Education is the constant theme that runs through the question: “what can we do to prevent these stats from becoming an even larger problem”? The Foundation has consistently taken the stance that education is a basic right, and that if you give students the chance to excel, they will. And so educating children, locally, nationally and globally is something the Foundation works on consistently, in many different ways throughout the year. We use August, when most kids are going back to school, to promote awareness of how large the issue is, and the many ways to help. As Nelson Mandela put it: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”