Dr. Ned Holstein – Welcome Address

We are honored by your presence here in the cradle of the American Revolution at what may be looked back upon as a watershed moment. In the history of civilizations, watershed moments are obvious only in retrospect: the Magna Carta, Martin Luther at Wittenberg, the Bill of Rights (an afterthought), the march to Selma, and Stonewall were not immediately recognized for their importance. In the “hard sciences,” watershed moments are sometimes easier to recognize. Newton’s calculus, the invention of the microscope and telescope, Galileo’s observation of the moons of Jupiter, the Origin of Species, and the discovery of the genetic code were immediately transformational. Watershed moments in the social sciences fall in between. Some are recognized immediately, but most are not. Perhaps today will be one of the few. Until now, for most of the stubborn problems of our youth over the past 40 years, there have not been any watershed moments. For instance, Mitch Pearlstein, educator, and analyst list scores of programs to improve education, none of them proving both eective and scalable. Increased spending, smaller classes, smaller schools, extra courses, early childhood education, special education, multicultural education, bilingual education, new ways to teach teachers, new math, old math, new reading, old reading, centralization, decentralization, neighborhood schools, stronger ties between schools and businesses, and on and on. Yet student achievement over the past several decades has at most inched upward only a bit, in his telling. Similar stories can be told in the areas of childhood substance abuse, truancy and lawbreaking, bullying, gang behavior, and teen pregnancy. Programs abound, while the problems at best remain unchanged. At long last, as society struggles with the failure of one experimental program after another, it may finally be ready to look at root causes. Our Conference today and tomorrow examines root causes and their solutions. And so our researchers may well have stories to tell that renew hope, stories of favorable outcomes that perhaps can be scaled up, of pathways to success for our families. Today, we are blessed by the gathering of the best minds in the world on the problem at hand. Let us imbibe their wisdom, and let us use it to help our struggling children. I personally feel that I will look back and say with satisfaction, “I was there.”


Dr. Ned Holstein
Icahn Mount Sinai School of Medicine, USA
Dr. Holstein is the founder and Chairman of the Board of National Parents
The organization, the largest organization in the United States advocating for
science-based reform of the family courts for the benefit of children. In his earlier
academic career, he earned a Master’s degree in Psychology, then went into
medicine and became a nationally recognized expert on workplace and
environmental effects on human health. For ten years he was Associate Editor of
the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. He has been a consultant to major
corporations, cities, counties, states, federal agencies including the EPA and
OSHA, Congressional committees and state legislatures. He remains a Clinical
Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai.