When it comes to the economy, we are a nation obsessed with statistics. We measure report and worry about leading economic indicators, unemployment rates, consumer confidence the gross domestic product, spending, borrowing, home values, housing starts, the trade deficit commodities markets, several different stock market indices, inventories, sales volume, and on and on. These are all critical measures of the strength of the economy, of course, and they are indeed important to measure and to try to understand.
At the same time, I’d love to see us spend even a fraction of that obsessive energy on the well-being of kids and families. Wouldn’t that be something? If every week, or even every month, there were analyses of national trends in childhood educational, physical, emotional, behavioral and social development? With a sense of urgency to do something if the trends were headed in the wrong direction, or if it looked like the U.S. was falling behind other countries in any of these areas?
It turns out that we are falling behind, and it seems to be at an accelerating pace.
Previous speakers at the Colloquium include Professor Cornel West of Princeton University, Children Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, and Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel.