Dr. Bob Holmberg recently wrote about a new initiative to improve the cognitive and behavioral health of young children in eastern Maine (“Proven program gives children the skills needed to succeed at learning,” June 6).

He’s right about the cognitive and behavioral problems so many of our young children are displaying. He’s also right about how this carries over into adulthood — more people who are unemployable. This same population group will also join the growing ranks of adults with chronic health problem, the single biggest driver of health care costs.

I would like to think that this information would begin to influence public policy in education and health care. Unfortunately, I am likely to be disappointed. I’m afraid it doesn’t translate into politically popular “solutions” like “Common Core Standards” or decreasing administrative costs or privatizing education or reducing eligibility for health care.

It is easy to blame teachers and bloated school administrations. They are defenseless targets. It is harder to step back and begin a public health-style assessment. The challenges facing our youngest children are complex and require community-level solutions. We need to start using the data potentially available, along with local knowledge and the best research to develop state and local partnerships that can solve real problems.

Simple solutions haven’t produced results. Simple solutions do fit the way we make political decisions, however. A change in that way of doing business will not come from politicians. It will come from an electorate that comes to an understanding of the real crisis facing our children and our society.

I hope my grandchildren live long enough to see it happen.

Dean Crocker

Estero, Florida, and Manchester

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