The coverage by the New York Times and the Associated Press of the newest report from the nation’s longest running study of child care got picked up by news organizations everywhere. The report gave top billing to the positive effects of high quality care on vocabulary although it also acknowledged a slight increase in problem behaviors among fifth graders, apparently correlated with the amount of time they spent being cared for outside the home.
The Associated Press produced a Sunday story follow-up that also was widely carried. This is a story any news organization could have done. Why do it? Try, survival? A blog called World Views posted a four paragraph excerpt from the Times’ first day story. At last count, the item had attracted 65 comments. Many of the comments are thoughtful and even anguished considerations of the tradeoffs facing families with children needing two incomes.
The Times carried six letters in response to the story. Here’s an excerpt from one:
We live in a country in which most women work outside the home and are also responsible for child rearing; ours is also one of the only developed countries with no national policy on maternity leave. It is no surprise, then, that we have no coherent philosophy for day care.
As money is poured into studies, American day care continues to morph into an increasingly unstable structure, one with no real foundation or plan.