THE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT: Overcoming the Oppression of Young People by Beatrice & Ronald--Eds. Gross

THE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT: Overcoming the Oppression of Young People

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paul Goodman, Margaret Mead, Robert Coles, Edgar Friedenberg, and Justine Wise Polier are some of the better-known names represented in this anthology which reflects the growing awareness of children's rights as a legal issue. Many of the selections document shattering cases of physical abuse--at home or in misnamed shelters--and a variety of unjust practices that ""oppress"": rigid school systems, a closed job market, homes that no longer nurture. Paul Goodman, that much-missed observer and one of the earliest to recognize the more blatant inequities, points out the contradiction implicit in many of these essays: children should have full rights as equals or they should have special rights and immunities because they are children. And Judge Polier notes that ""Rights without services are meaningless."" But it is Kenneth Keniston who most clearly articulates the larger problem that implicates all of us: ""Why is it that we, as a nation, allow so much inexcusable wretchedness among our children in practice, while at one and the same time we, as individuals, nurture and profess such tender and loving and solicitous sentiments for our children?"" He finds his answer in an economic system that overlooks the needs of citizens in general and children most consistently. His conclusions are personal but the priorities of our society are at issue and many writing here are clearly sympathetic toward his argument. Groups have been developing all over the country to press for children's rights--some, like the Youth liberation of Ann Arbor, organized by kids themselves--and they too speak out here. An instructive, well-balanced compendium of the most convincing statements on the subject.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday