Regarding Margarita Persico’s recent article on Robert Marshall (“A lifetime champion of educational equality,” May 8, 2008): I grew up with Bobby Marshall and was a firsthand witness to some of the indignities he endured as a black youth in Fair Haven, N.J. In each case, however, Bobby’s white friends supported him, because he was part of our crowd. Bobby was a great athlete in little league and in high school, where he made the all-state football team.
Most of all, Bobby was a true and loyal friend who supported any of us who were having a hard time, and he does so even to this day.
Congratulations to the Banner for celebrating an unsung hero — Bobby Marshall.
It should be noted that much of Bobby’s success in life can be attributed to his loving and hardworking mother. Another inspiration for Bobby was the path paved for him by his older brother, “Apple Roundtree,” a high school super hero in both sports and academics.
Thanks for your well-deserved recognition of a very unselfish public servant. I became friends with Bob Marshall when I arrived in Boston in 1999 as the new headmaster of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, and we have remained friends ever since. He is someone I give the highest respect to.
In honor of all mothers, I am writing to urge members of Congress to increase funding for child care and Head Start. In the U.S., roughly 60 percent of mothers with children under the age of 6 work, most relying on some form of child care. For these children, high-quality early childhood programming is essential.
The first five years of life span the period of most rapid social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, and provide either a strong or weak foundation for future learning. Studies show that children participating in high-quality early education programs develop better language and social skills, and score higher on school readiness tests. Entering school, they are less likely to need special education, less likely to repeat grades, and 30 percent more likely to graduate high school. The odds they will attend college are more than double.
High-quality early childhood programming also has a significant economic benefit for communities. Funds invested in early education yield an estimated 16 percent return for every dollar spent.
For many, these programs are critically under-funded and inaccessible. We must change this, for the sake of children, families, and our nation. Mothers — and all parents — are working hard for their children. They shouldn’t have to do it alone.