How Markets Hurt Kids
Several months ago, Rich Lowry, then editor of the National Review, wrote a column about day care that nicely illustrates the limitations of contemporary political conservatism. Aptly titled “Bring Back the Stay-at-Home Mom,” the article pointed to recent research suggesting that day care may not be as beneficial for children as the day-care industry and most feminists would have us believe. Although both the media and the academy appear eager to ignore or obscure their findings, scholars have noted the higher incidence of illness and violent behavior among children raised in day care, and some have argued that some children show “slowed cognitive development” from their day-care experience.
Lowry drew the correct conclusion that the best answer for most children would be more mothers remaining at home to raise their children. Parents surveyed usually agree that having one parent at home is far preferable to two parents working and putting their children into day care, even “quality day care.” “It should be the goal of public policy,” concluded Lowry, “to make it easier for these parents to act on their natural instincts.”
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Gillis J. Harp is Professor of History at Grove City College in Pennsylvania and the author of Brahmin Prophet: Phillips Brooks & the Path of Liberal Protestantism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003). He and his family worship at Grace Anglican Church in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.
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