Should improving access to daycare be a national priority?

I wanted to write a well-thought-out post about this NPR news story from this past weekend, but I have just been so buried at work and at home that I can’t get caught up, let alone find much time to blog. However, I urge you to go read the article and ponder it:

U.S. Once Had Universal Child Care, But Rebuilding It Won’t Be Easy

NPR explains:

Stumping in Kansas after his State of the Union, the president said that for most parents working today, child care is more than a “side issue,” and that improving access “is a national economic priority for all of us.”

In urging greatly expanded subsidies during his Tuesday address, the president referenced a national child care program that was in place during World War II, when his grandmother and other American women were needed in the nation’s factories.

But to my mind, this was the money quote in the article:

“The problem is that the quality rendered in the U.S child care market is low to mediocre, on average,” he [Arizona State University’s Chris Herbst, an associate professor in the school of public affairs] says — in fact, his research finds that children in federally subsidized day care don’t fare well on cognitive and behavioral tests.

So, is the president saying we should create more subsidies for something that seems to be bad for children? There’s more to it than that, of course – kids who are currently in federally subsidized day care tend to come from rough situations, so it’s not comparable to a household comprised of two-income college-educated married parents, and it’s also not clear that they’d fare any better on those cognitive tests if they weren’t in day care.

But honest to goodness, doesn’t looking at this picture from the story depress you?

Detroit, 1942 – Welcome to your Day Orphanage, kiddies!







9 thoughts on “Should improving access to daycare be a national priority?

  1. I’m actually researching a story about how some of the president’s suggestions regarding daycare would affect my state, if implemented.
    As a working mom I would say, “Yes, we need more quality, affordable daycare.”

    I’m very fortunate to have my youngest in a top-rated daycare/preschool, but I pay dearly for it—about $12,000 last year.
    My state offers small subsidies for the working poor but they have been increased in over a decade and don’t come close to the full cost. It’s easy to understand why a single mom who would only slightly be better off working would choose to be on welfare instead.

    Last year I did some research to determine just how much of a salary is needed for a mother with two children to bring in the equivalent of what she’d receive from various social-services programs. It came out to about $18 an hour, which is much more than most non-degreed workers around here make, especially in the tourism industry. Daycare costs and rent factored heavily into the required salary.

    I agree that daycare should be of high quality with curriculums that meet statewide standards and teachers who receive ongoing training. A child growing up in poverty with uneducated parents would likely benefit more from being in such a place during the day than being at home watching TV and possibly being neglected.

    As far as the cost is concerned, I’d rather have my government invest billions in early education and daycare than throwing it away on senseless wars or using it to subsidize wealthy corporations.


  2. I know why those kids are unhappy. That picture jogged my memory back to kindergarten. Most of them aren’t ready to nap.
    I did get myself in trouble elsewhere for saying that babymommas had to be put out of business. Well, it was that and a few other things. What may be happening is that daddies are being put out of business and, now, Mommy has to go to work. It’s not polotics, it’s feminism.
    I don’t think that this will make the world a better place.


  3. Amen. I remember reading through the data on the project in North Carolina that everybody uses as a justification for this kind of thing, and more or less it came down to this; having a college educated daycare worker with a professionally designed program was slightly better than what welfare mothers did with their children, and for a price that would be something around $30 grand per year per child.

    In related news, my new car company beats the Yugo in initial quality, but costs less than a Rolls!

    It is only government that can get away with ideas this asinine.

    We have a parallel suggestion in Minnesota to extend state daycare subsidies to the middle class. Nobody is apparently considering that increasing demand by the middle class is going to raise the market price and really clobber the poor.

    And quite frankly, having made the sacrifices to allow my wife to stay at home with our children, I quite frankly resent paying taxes to support daycare for the middle and upper classes. You want to work outside the home, that’s your choice, but please don’t send me part of the bill.


  4. I am thankful every day that I get to stay home with my kids. We live out in the country so it would not be worth it by half to haul my kids to a daycare each day. I am also blessed that my husband works from home, so we all get to eat lunch together and my kids see their dad more than most.


    • Money quote is the first line: “When my ex-husband and I divorced my economic situation took an abrupt downturn. ”

      My husband and I are in the home-buying process and I joined a forum about credit to research information about getting the best deal. There is a sub-forum for rebuilding credit and it is amazing how the people who have huge credit issues are often divorced. It’s sad how casually it’s referred to by forum members.


    • Now perhaps it was a case of unrepentant adultery or such, but it strikes me that generally speaking, the headline ought to be “I lived with a husband I wasn’t always 100% ecstatic about to save my son from daycare.”


  5. What would Jesus do? I think he’d want the best for the little children whose mothers had to work. I bet he’d happily pay taxes so kids could have good quality childcare.


    • Or alternatively, He might just rebuke the woman who had had five husbands, and who was living with a man who was not her husband. He might also warn the woman caught in adultery to repent.

      Reality here, Harry, is that my examples are in the Bible, and yours is not. It is also worth noting that the heaviest load for daycare is among those who have either never married, or have divorced, the father(s) of their children. Hence I conclude that were Jesus to walk on our earth today as He did in Galilee, He might have a lot more to say about our cavalier attitude towards sex and marriage than He would about our lack of tax support for daycare.

      For that matter, Jesus is not on record as endorsing Rome’s welfare state, but rather maintained a portion of the common purse to help the poor, and His apostle Paul noted that if a man will not work, neither shall he eat.

      If you are going to try to make God’s Word endorse the welfare state, suffice it to say that you’ve got your work cut out for you, because it really doesn’t go there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s