Tough Report Card On Day Care

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Decades after America became a nation of two-income households, American families are still up against the issue of what happens with the kids when mom and dad are on the job.

The biggest study ever of child care kids this week brings us this headline: Bad Behavior Linked to Time in Day Care. Disruptive. Aggressive. Within a normal range, we're told, but it's still enough to make a parent grip the wheel and worry on the way to work. Even if you've got top quality day care. And millions of American children definitely do not.

This hour On Point: the latest on early child care and its imprint on our kids.

Quotes from the Show:

"There were four main findings that we reported. The first finding is actually good news and that is that children who attended high quality child care programs were more likely to score higher on vocabulary tests in grade 5. ... The second finding is that children who have more experience in child care centers were rated by their teachers as having more behavior problems. ... Third finding is that there is no association between the hours a child spends in childcare throughout the first 5 years of life and behavior problems. ... The fourth finding is that the family effects are considerably larger than any of the child care effects that we reported." Kathleen McCartney

"There are tremendous differences in quality in terms of child care centers and families, family day care centers, and I think it behooves parents to really find out what is a high quality center, how do you examine it and interpret it." Susan Neuman

"Many of our children are in settings that have an 'it depends' curriculum which means it depends on the weather outside, they have no organized activities, have no language where the teacher and the child are actually talking during the day." Susan Neuman

"I think it's important for parents to know that this study is not saying every child who spends time in center-based day care will have an increase in behavior problems." Josh Lerman


Susan Neuman, Professor in Educational Studies at the
University of Michigan, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for
Elementary and Secondary Education under President George W. Bush, and author of forthcoming book "Changing the Odds: Breaking the Bleak Cycle of Poverty and Disadvantage for Children at Risk.";

Josh Lerman, Senior Editor at Parenting Magazine;
Kathleen McCartney, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and developmental psychologist/

This program aired on March 27, 2007.


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