Speaking Out for America's Children
Illuminates the plight of children in America through interviews with such leading children's advocates as Lee Salk, Benjamin Spock, and Walter Mondale and decries the failure to develop an adequate national policy to serve and protect children.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Senn, a pediatrician long active in the Child Development Movement, has interviewed more than 90 professionals - psychologists, psychiatrists, educators - on the major issues confronting them. Their statements, highly individual, somewhat free-floating responses to core questions, establish how inextricably these issues are tied to larger ones of national policy and priorities which affect us all. Looking back, one can see how research has influenced infant and child care: the behaviorists have taken a back seat, the child-centered theorists are at the wheel. Looking ahead, one can anticipate a further adjustment, a community-centered orientation to compensate the nuclear family for the disintegration of traditional supports. Also considered are the influence of business and industry on family life; the frivolity of training graduate students in "fancy methodology" that produces "elegant answers to trivial questions and imprecise answers to important ones"; the responsibilities of professionals "who see in their own work the consequences of hunger" - and have for more than half a century; the absence of a national policy ("We have no Brookings Institution for children"), although here the presence of Vice-President Mondale is heartening. Those interviewed, a sizable number from Harvard and Yale, include the more articulate, deliberative authorities but even so the book's format of loosely connected comments diffuses much of its impact. Nonetheless a valuable record of former practices, current thinking, and possible directions for future study. (Kirkus Reviews)