Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Idle Thoughts -- The Media Strikes Again!

In response to a request for homework help regarding the following article: I responded:

Check the following excerpts from a blog with very different findings also coming from the New York Times. Quick summary:

One.  -- A team of researchers from Norway, Harvard and Boston College, examining the varied research that sporadically associates an increase in hours in day care with increased behavior problems, noted that three. the work was all based on child-care studies done in the United States.--

Two. The old headlines read: --  “Does day care harm children?” battle here in the United States: “Does Day Care Make Kids Behave Badly? Study Says Yes” (ABC). “Child Care Leads to More Behavior Problems” (Fox). “Day-Care Kids Have Problems Later in Life” (NBC). “Poor Behavior Is Linked to Time in Day Care” (The New York Times). “Bad Mommies” (Slate). --

Three.  --All that (and more) from a single, small finding, published in 2007, -- so it's unlikely that a small study would produce accurate results. Many studies that are extensive and larger required to get dependable data.

Four. Clearly,  can't be your 2003 study, but it seems to have been a very similar one.

Five.  Note the headlines are busy blaming working moms for the problem. They are not blaming working fathers.

Six. -- A more recent study, -- suggests otherwise, indicating that poor quality day care is -- primarily responsible for any association between unruly behavior and time spent in day care. In Norway, where day care is subsidized, of a reasonably consistent quality, and an expected part of childhood (in 2009, 79 percent of all 1- to 2-year-olds, and 97 percent of all 3- to 5-year-olds attended publicly subsidized center care there), researchers found little evidence that more time in day care could be associated with “externalizing problems” like defiance and restlessness, in 3-year-olds (a result they hope to confirm in older children). --  This didn't go beyond the three-year-olds like the other study did but it is a study that finds the opposite conclusion. But the team found that conclusion in a well regulated environment where most children go to daycare.

Seven.  So kids who attend the poorly regulated, very erratic in quality, who knows if there are any good?, daycare in United States don't do very well according to a pair of studies. Who's surprised? The well-regulated, part of every kid's natural upbringing and intended to be really good for the kids because they're very good day care centers, work very well in other countries. Who's surprised?

Eight.  --That’s consistent with the U.S. research as well. In 2007, Slate’s Emily Bazelon contacted the author of that much-publicized earlier study, and asked her to examine the quality of care received by the children who spent more time in day care, and who had a higher-than-average incidence of bad behavior. “The kids with more reported behavior problems in elementary school were the ones who spent three or four years in day care and whose care was, on average, of lower quality.”   --  So the author of the 2007 study says that looked at carefully her data does not show that day care causes problems. It shows that poor quality day care causes the problem.

Nine. So if the problem was with poor quality day care and the 2007 study actually shows that.  Why didn't the headlines report it that way? Answer: because it's much better to blame daycare and the parents. Why is that better? It sells more newspapers, magazines and gets higher ratings for TV shows. The study was badly reported and the conclusions are clearly wrong. Now this is a 2007 study but the author of that study is the one who says that the headlines got it wrong and daycare does not hurt kids. Good quality day care doesn't hurt kids. Poor quality day care does hurt them.

My summary answer is the last sentence of number eight and a statement that attention grabbing media distortions caused the misunderstanding and gullible viewers who didn't bother to check things out were so gullible they believed it. Day care does not hurt children. Poor quality day care hurts children.

Imagine if we did a study in which we checked what happened when children go to incompetent, bad doctors. The study would show that doctors are bad for children. At least that's the way the news media would report it.  They would somehow miss the fact that bad doctors are bad for children, and good doctors are good for children.

Okay I just read your original article. Even it shows --  the mother's sensitivity and the family's socioeconomic status had a greater influence on children's behavior than did the amount of time spent in child care. Greater maternal sensitivity and higher level of family income and education correlated with better behavior in the children, the study found. --  

It was a better study than the 2007 study, but I'll stand on things I said about it. Once again it studied a wide variety of daycares and, as far as the article indicates, there seems to have been no attempt to separate the effects of good  daycare from the effects of bad daycare. I stand by all the statements I made about the 2007 study. They seem to apply here except that one of these two 2003 studies was more extensive, but once again it occurred only in United States and looked at a very poorly regulated daycare environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment