by German Lopez
National conference to look at child poverty and education issues, among others
The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) will host a national
conference in Cincinnati July 22-25 with a focus on child poverty,
education and health care. It’s the first national conference hosted by
CDF since 2003.
Child poverty and its causes will be one of the main
focuses of the conference. Nearly 15 million children in the United
States, or 21 percent of all children, live in families below the
federal poverty level, according to the National Center for Children in
Poverty (NCCP). A study from the NCCP found Cincinnati has the
third-worst children’s poverty rate at 48 percent. Only Detroit and
Cleveland were worse, with 53.6 percent and 52.6 percent, respectively.
“We’re going to look at all the range of policies and
practices and the impact of those and what we can do,” CDF President
Marian Wright told WVXU today. “It’s going to be a real teach-in on what
we must do to move forward and stop the move backwards, which I think
we’re in the midst of.”
The conference will also look at education issues. It
seeks to shine light on the issue of the achievement gap between the
poor and non-poor and racial disparities. A 2011 analysis by the
National Center for Education Statistics found black and Hispanic
students are behind their white peers by 20 test-points in math and
reading tests provided by the National Assessment of Educational
Progress. The difference equates to about two grade levels.
The conference will also look at child health care
services, zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools and tools and
programs that can be used to improve the lives of struggling children.
Anyone is free to register at CDF’s website to join the conference. Experts, doctors and activists will also be there.