subsidizing damage

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 27, 2007

Suppose scientists found that a certain kind of breakfast cereal was associated with behavioral problems in young children.

Suppose they found that 2.3 million American children eat that cereal every day.

Suppose the cereal's manufacturers received huge tax subsidies, and the children's parents wrote off their cereal purchases on their tax returns.

That would be a big story, wouldn't it? A screaming headline on the top of the front page, no doubt.

But the scientists weren't talking about breakfast cereal. They were talking about day-care centers.

Do you want to be the politician who calls for cuts in day-care funding? Do you want to be the editor who mounts a crusade against the mistreatment of children?

Forget the front page. At the New York Times, for example, this story was buried on page 14.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 9:43 AM ET USA

    I often address this issue with my more scholarly friends this way. I ask them if they see a correlation between the time their students devote to writing a paper and its quality. Yes, of course, they say. Why would you expect no such correlation with people?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 6:45 AM ET USA

    (1) The findings are worse than what meets the eye. Not only are day-care kids more aggressive in their behavior than kids raised by mom, the quality of the day care affects mostly the kids’ cognitive skills, for the better. In other words, day care generally makes kids meaner, and good day care makes them smarter.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 6:44 AM ET USA

    (3) Not only did the NY Times bury the article, the journal that published the article, Child Development, positioned it in last place, within this month's issue, with some 20 empirical research articles placed in front of it. Granted, researchers don't look for news the way laymen do in the newspaper, but given the importance of the findings, such placement can be construed as a message from the editors that they are not happy with the results.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 6:44 AM ET USA

    (2) Here's the double whammy for the smart kids. Recall the warning in the Bell Curve that the “best” schools of higher education in the US no longer require their students to engage in serious study of the great philosophical masters (e.g., Aristotle, Boethius) theological masters (e.g., Augustine, Aquinas) and the great literary masters (e.g., Shakespeare). These schools detach smart kids from their culture. No family, no culture, and ambitious. A dangerous combination.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 5:29 AM ET USA

    Gino is right, but isn't this all common sense. Doesn't "time-away" mean less love, other factors being equal? And isn't love the only thing that really works? Who would question the fact that the more someone is loved the less likely it is that he or she will turn into a behavior problem?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 27, 2007 5:11 PM ET USA

    Do yourselves a favor; do not read the NY Times! (NY DAILY TASS) We all know what they will bury, slant, lie about, and act as an official organ of abortion on demand. Joseph Goebbels had nothing on the propaganda spewed by the Times!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 27, 2007 4:17 PM ET USA

    Quadratus--that's because school is just a glorified day care center. Homeschooling is the only way to go--but it requires a major gift of yourself to your children that is down-right couner-cultural--and offers wonderful graces if you are willing to give it a try.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 27, 2007 2:13 PM ET USA

    I don't know. I have a copule of nieces who are with their mother all day (exept for school) and they are pretty terrible...

  • Posted by: - Mar. 27, 2007 1:27 PM ET USA

    "Do you want to be the editor who mounts a crusade against the mistreatment of children?" And criticize our most cherished socialist behavior modification tool? After 150 years, plus or minus, of unabated nannyism, it would be interesting to see what our private and public monies thrown into these systems produced or destroyed, but don't rush to get in any editorial lines.