No Right Answers in the Mommy Wars
For decades researchers have studied whether day care is good or bad for kids, and to call the results “mixed” would be an understatement. Whether a given child will be better off at home or elsewhere seems to hinge on a complicated mix of factors, from the obvious (the quality of the care he’s getting at home vs. the quality of care on offer elsewhere) to the less so (how much he’ll benefit from the extra income a parent might earn if he’s put in day care, how much he bonds with his teachers).
An interesting figure in this debate, though, has been Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an architect of Obamacare and hardly someone who would instinctively recoil at the thought of government-funded child care. Famously, he and some colleagues studied a universal child-care program for kids 0-4 in Quebec, finding it was bad for children over the long term across a wide variety of outcomes, from crime rates to life satisfaction. Other researchers confirmed the results.
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