Maximizing the educational experience and success of every child in America must be a priority and a critical national goal. Vitally important for each child and family as a pathway out of poverty, the issue is also larger. If the nation is to remain economically stable, prosperous, innovative, and influential internationally over the coming decades, it is essential that children are healthy and well-educated, graduate from high school on time, and perform at their full potential. Unfortunately, many children are not ready even for kindergarten, and even less for the rigors of the educational demands later in life.
Poor educational attainment has its roots in early childhood. Many children are not adequately prepared to read at grade level in the early elementary years; they subsequently struggle to perform in middle school, and are unable to graduate from high school on time. There are many reasons for less than optimal academic performance, especially for children who live with persistent adversities or chronic stress. However, too often, among these reasons are health conditions that have been unrecognized or undermanaged.