Who’s An Advocate for Children?

Should taxpayers fund all-day kindergarten and universal pre-school? That’s a debate worth having, and reasonable people can make cogent arguments either way. But the language of the conversation could stand some improvement.

The Lawrence Journal-World recently ran an article (“County lags far behind peers for early childhood programs,” April 24 ) about a report calling for increased funding on early childhood education. Legislators and the public need to ask a lot of questions about sound policy: what are the alternative uses for the money that would be spent? Is the proposal the best way to reach the goal, or are there other avenues? And so it goes.

One individual in the story, who agrees with the push for all-day K and preschool, is identified as “a local child advocate.”

Does that mean that people who disagree with that conclusion are not “child advocates?”

We don’t mean to espouse conspiracy theories here, and the Journal-World is following convention.

But the usage brings back the power of language–and the fact that one can be a “child advocate” and still disagree with popular beliefs. In fact, sometimes disagreement may even be required.

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