Since the Children’s Defense Fund last published our annual State of America’s Children report in February 2020, our children have experienced a year of unprecedented upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a racial reckoning years in the making. Every aspect of children’s lives has been impacted by these shifts more quickly than data can track; even the most recent available data sets do not fully encompass how this past year has shaped our lives. This, of course, includes our 2021 State of America’s Children report. Because, as one element of the report makes clear, “Our Children are Not Immune.”
The tragedies that have occurred in schools across the country demand serious investments in evidence-based policies and practices that keep children and staff safe and do not exacerbate the school-to-prison pipeline, further criminalize marginalized children, or increase the over-policing of students in schools and communities. In order to ensure that students are learning in safe, healthy, and inclusive environments, we seek PK-12 school climate legislation that meets the following principles. We ask members of Congress to fulfill their role in helping educators and communities create and maintain safe schools that afford all students equal educational opportunities by incorporating these principles into all relevant legislation.
A society must be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable—and most valuable—members: its children. The State of America’s Children 2020 makes it abundantly clear that by this measure, America is falling shamefully short.
Millions of America’s children today suffer from hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. Together, The State of America’s Children® 2017 and corresponding state factsheets provide a comprehensive overview of how America’s children are doing nationally and inform conversations about how we can do better.