Quality Day Care, Early, Is Tied to Achievements as an Adult
an article in The New York Times by Jodi Wilgoren
(our site's article review)
Jodi Wilgoren reports on a study of children on the lower rungs of society, called the Abecedarian Project—the first study ever to track participants from infancy to age 21. According to Jodi Wilgoren, "good early childhood education has a powerful influence on poor children that lasts into young adulthood, affecting things like reading and mathematics skills and even the timing of childbearing, researchers announced today, citing the first study ever to track participants from infancy to age 21. Those who received high-quality day care consistently outperformed their peers who did not on both cognitive and academic tests, and also were more likely to attend college or hold high-skill jobs, the researchers found. The program also helped participants' parents, with teen-age mothers far more likely to have completed high school after their babies received the intervention."
The poor, teen-age mothers in the program were far more likely to have completed high school after their babies received the intervention
''Most child care in America is borderline lousy and, at best, safe but not developmentally stimulating,'' said Michael H. Levine. The study results got pediatricians and psychologists to attempt to persuade Congress and the states to broaden access to care for poor families, since the study demonstrably showed the high value of providing day care. Hillary Rodham Clinton praised the study. It is considered really important that it's not just any child care, but high-quality early care that was used in the study. But, perversely, Head Start, which has had a national commitment to comprehensive services for poor children since 1965, recently experienced the deep cuts caused by sequestration. Economic woes since 2008 are closing that window of opportunity.national debt
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
The biggest problem with this well-done, competant study, which began in 1972, is not the study, but the lack of realism people have in their expectations about what America can or will do with these results. The liberals and academics want a ton of money to be spent on giving day care to families—especially poor ones. Government solutions to providing high-quality care for all working families was an even more ambitious goal. The idea is to at least break the so-called "poverty cycle." "We're the richest country on the face of the earth," says a Dr. Ramey, study director. We can afford it, he says. Of course, it is now the 21st century, and we are the biggest debtor nation around (our national debt at the start of 2014 is over $17 trillion dollars) and we cannot afford much of anything that we are doing: the big wars, the tax breaks and legal loopholes targeted at the rich, the government subsidies and bailouts, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. But we keep borrowing more money and doing them anyway. When do we all fall off a cliff?
When do we all fall off the economic cliff?
Anyway, the chances of the U.S. dropping the wars and tax breaks for the rich and supporting a large, socialism-like, European-styled safety net for poor and/or middle class families is nil. Discussions of such matters keep the academicians occupied, talking each others' ears off.
Discussions of vast social programs keep the academicians occupied, talking each others' ears off
Such study-inspired discussions also keep politicians writing pie-in-the-sky legislation that propose to throw money at all these social issues like day care and poverty, even though they know it won't pass and even if it did, it would never get funded—there is no money. So one might conclude that all the discussing, proposing, writing, and legislating is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. (William Shakespeare's character Macbeth's conception of life—is this now our conception of 21st century political posturing? You decide. If the shoe fits . . .)
Politicians write pie-in-the-sky legislation that proposes to throw money we don't have at all our social issues, so we conclude that all the writing and flapdoodle is nothing but a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing
Having said this, one has to evaluate not only the flapdoodle and posturing, but the studies as well. Perhaps it is time to back up and see the situation more holistically. If the flapdoodle and posturing do no good, why do it? Backing up again, if the studies which lead to this flapdoodle and posturing lead nowhere else but to nonexistant political possibilities, why do them? Why have our social scientists spend a pile of money conducting a giant study which showed the high value of providing day care—especially for the poor—and then learn there will be no response since there is no money to back said response? You see the problem here. Our government resonds to issues by throwing money at them, and if there is no money, the government becomes incapable of responding—virtually impotent.
Our government resonds to issues by throwing money at them, and if there is no money, the government becomes impotent
This brings up a question: is money the only way our government has of responding? Any response, whether financial or military or scientific or engineering, involves an investment of money. About the only thing that is free is talk. The government can advise citizens—in light of new study-demonstrated knowledge—to take various actions in their lives. You see how awkward this sounds? Trying to get the we-have-no-funds government to do anything is like putting a square peg in a round hole.
Trying to get a moneyless government to do anything is like putting a square peg in a round hole
Advisory is a word, in Washington D.C., that is all about think tanks and lobbyists and on-staff advisors. For the goverment to advise the people, like telling citizens flu prevention measures during a pandemic, is easy and obvious and common sense. But for the government to advise the people about social issues like childcare is to invite Culture War flapdoodle spewing forth from the mouths of spokespeople on both sides of the issue. The flu issue has only one side. But almost all social issues have two or more. If the government is supposed to represents the interests of all the people (theoretically), it should do so and not pick favorites—to a point. However, conservative presidents are anti-abortion, anti-regulation, pro-market, etc., and liberal ones are the opposite, for the most part. But they don't really advise citizens. They lead, politically (theoretically), advocating for various national and international policies and bills.
A think tank (a.k.a. a policy institute, research institute, etc.), on the other hand, advises a lot; it is an organization that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture. Some think tanks receive direct government assistance, while other think tanks rely on private individual or corporate donors. This will invariably affect the degree of academic freedom within each think tank and to whom or what the think tank feels beholden. Funding may also represent who or what the think tank wants to influence; in the United States, for example some donors to think tanks want to influence votes in Congress or shape public opinion, other think tanks want to position themselves or the experts they fund for future government jobs, while other think tanks want to push specific areas of research or education.
Corporate-paid lobbyists target their influence toward the nation's capitol where all the money and deals are
Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group (like a think tank) which aims to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or polls. Lobbying is a form of advocacy whereby a direct approach is made to legislators. Note that think tanks and lobbyists target their influence toward the nation's capitol. You may see local campaign workers at your door advocating for a candidate—usually a local one, but you won't see think tank people or lobbyists on your front steps ringing your doorbell.
The main advisors in our society are politically targeted, either directly or indirectly. The message here is clear: to change something in the social sphere, look to politics, whether local, state, or national. But if the government's activism teeth are pulled, courtesy of its impotence from having a huge debt and not a cent to spare on extras, then what good are all the think tanks, lobbyists, advisors, etc.? Why influence the resource allocation when there are no discretionary funds left to respond with? Is all the sound and fury signifying nothing, above, now our conception of 21st century political posturing?
Is all the sound and fury signifying nothing, above, now our conception of 21st century political posturing?
Perhaps the days of political action are over. Perhaps we are now entering the era of citizen action. Perhaps it's now grassroots or NO roots. People, here's a scary thought: perhaps we are ON OUR OWN! The government is approaching an economic cliff and has accelerating debt—daycare will get no help there. The state budgets are scrambling to make ends meet, and the only way local help has a faint chance of appearing is through large, expensive money-begging drives to contribute to the local daycare situation which is in trouble everywhere. But the only ones likely to be interested in paying attention to this drive are those with little money, with young children needing care, and with no way to pay the bills, no way to pay the daycare center, and no money to give to the money-for-daycare drive. So the drive will lose money, not gain money.
From the 1970s to the 1990s good/excellent quality care went from 26% to 13% in centers; MCs' caregiving costs (free) and gas for transportation (minimal) represent minimized economic expenditures which will be particularly appreciated as childcare costs rise and yet childcare center quality decreases
Childcare centers should house friends, relatives, elders and kids—not strangers and high-turnover workers of questionable competence
We've shown that we're on our own and that we can forget about the government's aid because the funds that should be supporting social programs are going instead to wars, tax breaks for the rich, bailouts for too-big-to-fail corporations, paying a huge army of snoops at the NSA to violate our privacy and learn all our secrets, etc. So what can we do now that we are finally—gasp!—on our own? Face it, when the government DID have discretionary money, the best it could do for social programs was to throw money at them. And what did that buy? Daycare given by centers or even "experts" that could tell you how to run your lives. Is this what communities REALLY need? Even if the centers and experts helped a bit, is this REALLY how we want our families to live? Polls have already answered this: we want to take care of our OWN families, not stick them in the care of centers and experts.
Our government can pay for an army of NSA snoopers but cannot find money to support our kids' childcare
Okay, we want to take care of our OWN families, cannot expect government help, and we are on our own. Does this spell doom for us, our families, our communities? Or are we instead about to be freed from our dependence on nonfamily resources to accomplish FAMILY tasks?
Family is a word that has enhanced its context and broadened its meaning in this century—millions of families are composed of unrelated people, blended families, families that have joined together with relatives and/or other families to make a more functional social context for friendship and childcare. See 101 Things You Can Do For Our Children's Future. And then see The Big Answer: Microcommunities (MC) and Personal Status Boards (PSB™) and MC Articles. As you can see, you will need no government aid, and NO money, to empower the solution this website holds, since childcare and eldercare are free. And this care will be MUCH better for all—especially the children. We're freeing ourselves from our dependence on nonfamily resources to accomplish FAMILY tasks, and your MC (that your family is part of) will feel more like family than any people you've ever met. The other members of your MC are your new neighbors and new best friends, but they will not feel the way neighbors have ever felt before! You'll see!