Obama Proclamation Mirrors United Nation’s Universal Child’s Day

By Penny Starr | November 20, 2012 | 5:19 PM EST

First graders at Stoddert Elementary School in Washington, D.C., listen to Education Secretary Arne Duncan designate Stoddert as a Green Ribbon School for its environmentally friendly practices on Monday, April 23, 2012. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Breaking with previous administration’s marking of National Child’s Day, President Barack Obama continued his tradition of proclaiming the day on Nov. 20 -- the date recommended by the United Nation’s to coincide with the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 1954, the United Nations established Children’s Day on Nov. 20 to address child labor issues and access to education and established that date through the subsequent Rights of the Child proclamations.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children should “be brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations.”

Three previous administrations have proclaimed National Child’s Day – both presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton marked the day in early October, except once in 1993 when Clinton proclaimed Nov. 18 as National Child’s Day.

During President George W. Bush’s two terms, National Child’s Day was proclaimed on June 3, 2001 and in subsequent years on the first Sunday in June.

But for the fourth year, Obama has chosen Nov. 20 – the date recognized by the U.N. as Universal Child Day – as National Child’s Day.

“All children deserve the chance to follow their passions, chase their dreams, and pursue their fullest measure of happiness,” Obama wrote in his 2012 proclamation. “On National Child's Day, we celebrate the innumerable ways our sons and daughters have enriched our lives, and we rededicate ourselves to helping them achieve excellence in everything they do.”

In keeping with other presidents, Obama used the proclamation to tout his administration’s effort to help children, including the Department of Education’s competitive grant program, Race to the Top, the Affordable Care Act, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to regulate food served in public school and encourage physical activity.