No other crisis -- a flood, a health epidemic, a garbage strike or even snow removal -- would be as calmly accepted without full-scale emergency intervention.
-- Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 19881
The way that we think about our social problems differs depending upon our perspectives. Those of us who deal with statistics are guided by what we see on paper. Those of us who deal with people are guided by what we see in human behavior. We need both perspectives, but I am impressed by the way political biases readily influence the interpretation of data. Those biases melt way when we actually work with the people reflected in those statistics.
Sociologists and politicians are accustomed to attributing the major social problems of crime and welfare dependency to societal and environmental causes. While these factors are important, they are susceptible to political interpretations and are at least one step removed from the actual life situations of children in which the foundations of crime and welfare dependency are laid.
Societal and environmental influences are largely transmitted or not transmitted to children in homes and neighborhoods through