A Family-Friendly USA: No Longer an Oxymoron?

The Family Act is slated for its debut on October 3, the day my son turns 30. When he was 13 weeks old, in the Paleolithic Age, I returned to my editor’s job, from a maternity leave cobbled together with Temporary Disability Insurance and my own sweat equity. Working nine to five—or later—in an office in midtown Manhattan, I rushed home each night to take back what I felt had been stolen. I felt so torn and deprived that I quit my job when he was 19 months old to freelance, struggling to find that elusive work-family balance. “Elusive” is . . . Read full article →

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What's a Nanny Worth?

This morning, my daughter sent me a link to “Nannying Now the New Fallback Career for Educated White Women.” I polished off the piece in a minute—Gawker specializes in “short,” for modern attention spans—after which major indigestion set in. This tidbit, it turned out, was a summary of “Modern-day Mary Poppins: College Graduates Embrace Nannying as a Career,” a report by Elizabeth Chuck of NBC News, which I had missed amid all the other distractions of 9/11.

According to Chuck, women like my daughter comprise the new crop of early childhood educators. An aspiring actress, . . . Read full article →

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Parenting and the Slippery Slope of Personal Responsibility

“The Data Proves It: Parenting Matters,” proclaimed yesterday’s email from the Brookings Institution, heralding the release of a new paper by Richard Reeves and Kimberly Howard. Yes, it does. We’ve got a mountain of research that links the quality of parenting to children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, not to mention their academic and life outcomes. Neuroscience has exploded over the past couple of decades, becoming a tremendous lever for policy change—a fact that seems to have escaped the authors. “The effect of early years experiences on brain development is a young research field,” they write, “but likely . . . Read full article →

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QRIS and Child Outcomes: The Big Question

“Can Rating Pre-K Programs Predict Children’s Learning?” So ask a team of researchers in a recent issue of Science.

Over the past decade and a half, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, one of the hottest ECE policy innovations to come along in a while, have sprung up in more than half of the states. QRISs have been compared to restaurants and hotel ratings, a kinship, needless to say, that the field has been reluctant to embrace. Mentioning children, our most precious resource, in the same sentence as, say, “Michelin star,” or “A.A.A. Diamond rating,” is distasteful. In . . . Read full article →

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