This is so sad, though Save the Children's annual Mother's Day Report Card isn't telling us anything we don't already know.
Basically that it is very difficult to be a mother in the United States, which ranks 27th among the 158 countries surveyed. Niger -- where James, Jennifer, and their three children lived for a year -- ranks dead last.
The United States is among the richest countries in the world, and the most powerful. Yet we have arcane policies about motherhood, fatherhood, and early childhood.
The highest scoring countries (Ireland, Denmark, France, and Norway are among them) have child-friendly policies, good health for mothers and children, and high economic and educational status for mums.
Sweden ranks first.
In the United States, an alarming number of children are at great risk of failure in school because they are not getting the care and support they need in their early years. New Mexico, Nevada, Mississippi, Arizona and Alabama are the bottom five states where young children face the greatest obstacles to success in school. These states scored low on indicators of parental involvement, quality of home life and preschool participation. Parents in these states are clearly struggling to give their young children a good start in life – and as a result 71 to 81 percent of fourth graders in the public schools in these states are not reading at grade level. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine are the top five states where, generally speaking, parents and communities are doing a better job of preparing children to succeed in school. (p.5)You can access the PDF of the executive summary of the report here.