Children can be agents of change in their families, schools, communities and in their countries. Celebrate Univeral Children’s Day today.
“The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and to be heard. “
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
By resolution 836(IX) of 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all
countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date and in the way which each considers appropriate. The date 20 November, marks the day on which the Assembly adopted theDeclaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.
Nearly 25 years ago, the world made a promise to children: that we would do everything in our power to protect and promote their rights to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential. In spite of the overall gains, there are many children who have fallen even further behind. Old challenges have combined with new problems to deprive many children of their rights and the benefits of development.
To meet these challenges, and to reach those children who are hardest to reach, we need new ways of thinking and new ways of doing – for adults and children.
There is much to celebrate as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention, from declining infant mortality to rising school enrolment, but this historic milestone must also serve as an urgent reminder that much remains to be done. Too many children still do not enjoy their full rights on par with their peers.
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: February 9, 2013, The New York Times
As Congress contemplates rewriting No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush’s signature education law, legislators will tussle over a vision of how the federal government should hold states and schools accountable for students’ academic progress.
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, says the states should be allowed to set their own public school policies.
At a Senate education committee hearing on Thursday to discusswaivers to states on some provisions of the law, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, forcefully urged the federal government to get out of the way.
“We only give you 10 percent of your money,” said Mr. Alexander, pressing John B. King Jr., the education commissioner for New York State. “Why do I have to come from the mountains of Tennessee to tell New York that’s good for you?”
Dr. King argued that the federal government needed to set “a few clear, bright-line parameters” to protect students, especially vulnerable groups among the poor, minorities and the disabled.
“It’s important to set the right floor around accountability,” Dr. King said.
Despite repeated efforts over the last five years, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Act, the law that governs all public schools that receive federal financing. The No Child version, passed in 2001, provoked controversy by holding schools responsible for student performance on standardized tests, dubbing schools that do not meet targets failures and requiring strict interventions like the replacement of a school’s entire teaching staff.
Since early last year, the Obama administration has granted waivers to 34 states and the District of Columbia, relieving them from what many argued was the law’s most unrealistic goal: making all students proficient in math and reading by 2014. In exchange, the administration has demanded that the states raise curriculum standards and develop rigorous teacher evaluations tied in part to student performance on standardized tests….
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