Professor Mom’s POV on New Mommy War Research

18 10 2007

By NORA S. NEWCOMBE for Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct 19 issue:

. . .I was thrilled when the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development decided to sponsor a longitudinal study of children’s lives in a variety of care-giving arrangements, research that started when the children were born at the end of the 1980s.

The children are now graduating from high school, and it is a good time to ask what we have found out so far. The answers illuminate what we can and cannot learn from social science, how values affect science, and why individual choices and public policy should not depend wholly on data. . .

. . . The data reflect the ways things have been; they do not tell us if new social policies might enhance the lives of children, as well as spare women from having to make agonizing choices among bad options.

The NICHD study has taught us much about the lives of children in the United States today. It should also teach us that data alone are not enough.

Btw, in case you noticed and are wondering — I just ponied up for a subscription to the Chronicle and so my reading will probably be heavy on that source for a few days. 🙂