Although Americans generally are better educated and more literate than at any time in our history, an undercurrent of disillusionment in the "American dream" of opportunities for success has been growing in recent decades. In chapter 1, I summarize the evidence that the welfare of so many children in the United States has been declining that the quality of life in the United States has eroded and the productivity of our workforce is in jeopardy.
The gravity of the situation was highlighted in 1991 by the National Commission on Children appointed by Congress and by the President. The Commission called attention to the fact that a small but significant number of parents are failing to fulfill their essential childrearing responsibilities. As will become evident in the pages of this book, there is a definite connection between the damage caused to children by the failings of those parents and our society's educational, health, safety, and economic problems.
A small fraction of the population has reduced public safety for adults and children to unacceptable levels of danger and has sapped the productivity of the nation. Boys are shot in gang wars, school children are slaughtered in crossfire, and many young adults are unemployable. The dangerous and the dependent segments of the population will increase in numbers to further drain public funds and to further decrease the productivity of our workforce.