Children Left Behind
I was browsing the Internet this morning and in the New York Times there was a blog posted by Charles M. Blow called American’s Most Vulnerable. He cited a report by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) called “Children Left Behind.” The report was about “the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) International Coordinating Centre provided the statistical results for the analysis of inequality in children’s health.” It was based upon data collected by the “Organization for economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)” and concerned “child well-being indicators for material well-being and educational outcomes.” This is part of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy.
I took a look at the report. I was not totally surprised, for I knew the United States did not fare well when compared to the 24 richest OECD countries.
What was different was that the analysis looked at the rankings of each country in each of three dimensions of inequality in child well-being: material well-being, educational well-being, and health well-being. (Readers should take a look at this report for details concerning the operational definitions of these dimensions.) The results are not good for the United States. For material well-being we ranked 23rd; for educational well-being we ranked 19th; for health well-being we ranked 22nd.
The overall record for inequality was based upon “three points for a better than average performance, 2 points for a performance at or close to the OECD average, and 1 point for a below average performance.” The United States had 3 points (8 points was the highest and Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Switzerland belonged to this group. The US was grouped with Greece and Italy.
We can see this inequality played out every day within the juvenile justice system as the vast majority who sit in detention and are incarcerated in the nation’s “correctional institutions” are among the poorest children in the country. Apparently this is part of the price these children play for being poor in the world’s richest country.
© 2010, Randall G. Shelden. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced without permission from the author.