Stop Stealing Dreams

by Duke Pasquini on July 23, 2013

I tried posting this in response to something Stephen wrote at 4 Hour Life and it was deleted by hashbash or something like that, so I’m posting it here.   I just checked out the rejection note and resubmitted it and it’s now awaiting the moderator, who I’m assuming is Stephen.  Ah, the world of computers.  So anyway,  I decided to post here anyway.


I read part of the Stop Stealing Dreams essay and agreed with it, but I’ll have to admit that I never finished it.  Thinking on it now, I think it was because I figured I already knew what was in it and agreed with it.

It’s too late for kids who are behind to catch up when they’re college age.  It has to be done when they’re children.  It used to be that we had Head Start to give poor kids a head start.  But guess what, the middle class and the wealthy started sending their children to preschool.  So Head Start was no longer a head start.

Sometimes it seems like a conspiracy of the wealthy and middle class to always keep poor and minority children from rising.  For some I’m sure it’s true.

There was an audio essay on This American Life called Baby College.  It was about a project in Harlem where they took mothers who were either pregnant or had newborns and gave them the skills necessary to create a word rich environment with positive discipline for their children.  The program has been a huge success.

This program was started because they found that bringing young adults or adults into work training programs wasn’t very successful because they didn’t bring many of the skills to the job that middle class children and parents take for granted.

If education is the key to success, then it has to start at the earliest age.  Middle class children hear over three million more words than a poor child by time they’re three.  Middle class parents read to their children and use a bigger vocabulary than poor parents.  Most middle class parents use positive discipline.

So the idea here is to train poor parents to do the same things middle class parents do with their children from the time they’re infants.    That’s the only way to give poor and minority children a head start.  But of course, we need to keep in mind that to some, giving these children a head start is something they fear.

You may have already heard about parents who red-shirt their children by starting their children in kindergarten a year later than usual.  That way they are a year older and a year more mature mentally and physically than their classmates.

I could go on, but will end there.  The idea that much will ever be done to help poor and minority children get a head start seems very unlikely until we have a society that is more compassionate and carrying toward their fellow Americans.   People love to say how they love America when they really only love that part of America that is like them.

This post was written by...

– who has written 110 posts on The Pasquini Family Blog.

The author is a retired teacher and principal. He is currently working as adjunct professor and an assessor of new teachers. He was a football and track coach and is currently writing fiction. His latest book is A Warrior’s Son which can be bought through him at or at a more expensive price at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stephen Pasquini July 23, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Beautiful Dad!


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