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The Bonus Book of the Week is “A Dedicated Life, Journalism, Justice, and a Chance for Every Child” by David Lawrence, Jr., published in 2018.
“More money is almost never the right first response. Rather, we need to begin by figuring out how well we are doing with the money we already have.”
-the author, on embarking on a quest to improve the lives of preschool children, beginning in 1999 in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Born in March 1942 in New York City, the author was raised Catholic in a wealthy family of eventually, nine children. His father was a journalist covering politics in New York. In 1948, the family moved to a residence that was a six-hour drive north of the city to tend to a farm that had animals and food-crops.
The author retired as a newspaper executive at the end of 1998, to take on a new career as an advocate for young children. There were two possible ways to institute “high quality” (the author never exactly defined what he meant by that) pre-kindergarten for all, regardless of need, in the entire state of Florida:
- Lobbying the Florida state legislature to pass a bill, or
- Propose a Constitutional amendment, voted on by the people, during an election for state officials.
The latter required: that hundreds of thousands of Floridians sign a petition; that an expensive campaign be launched in order to raise awareness and promote the initiative and get people to vote for the amendment. Unfortunately, the opposition always launches a campaign to smear such an initiative (or oppose it in order to smear a prospective candidate for office or an incumbent who would run for reelection– in planning for the next election; for example, currently– 2022 and 2024).
Anyway, read the book to learn whether the author and millions of others, in November 2002, actually achieved their ultimate goal (Hint: over the course of decades, through the cumbersome political process that is democracy– such radical, widespread change happens in baby steps; with the aid of the trick of telling voters that funding for the new program wouldn’t come from raising taxes!), and learn much more about his philosophy, careers, and fundraising successes for good causes (for which, it appears, he deserves bragging rights.)