The full title of this book is Day Care Deception What the Child Care Establishment Isn't Telling Us, and it was enlightening.

Since my son was born, I've heard from many people that I really should put him in preschool to "socialize" him, and that kids in preschool learn more than kids who stay at home while they're young.

I wasn't keen on putting him into preschool, so I tried to read up on studies that showed the benefits of preschool so I could just do whatever it is that's helpful here at home.

But the strange thing was, the more I looked into these "studies" that purportedly showed kids with preschool do better than kids without, the more I was confused because no articles I found had any specifics. When I read this book, I found out why.

Preschool is NOT better for kids. But there is an entire industry that puts out lots and lots of PR to make it seem like it is. And preschool = daycare = preschool, it's just semantics. No articles could articulate what exactly was going on in preschools that is so advantageous to children because there isn't anything.

What some studies have shown is that not all kids in daycare suffer long-term damage from not being at home with their mother (although many do). That's about it.

But the media takes the story and twists it into "daycare is fine for kids," because of the natural bias of reporters. Since most reporters on this beat are women who have kids in daycare. And academics who study this sort of thing have similar incentive to give their stamp of approval to daycare. But the science just isn't there. And some social scientists have tried to point this out, but they are shut out of conferences and labeled as misogynists. It's a problem.

More recently, the media has been going on about how babies need the stimulation of preschool during their first three years, based on new findings in neuroscience. Again, this is NOT what the science suggests. Fortunately, since the neuroscientists are doctors rather than social scientists, they have been better able to speak out against this practice. Here's a link so you can read the first chapter of the book The Myth of the First Three Years online.

Can I recommend this book to others? This is a hard one. If you're a parent who thinks their child is going to be best raised at home by a parent, then you are already going to do whatever you need to do as a family to make that happen. You don't need to read this book, unless you're looking for a reason to get outraged.

If you have already made the choice to put your kids in daycare so both parents can pursue their careers, I don't think this book is going to change your mind. So many mothers of kids in daycare, when asked about how they feel about their poor kids getting sick so often, reply that it's fine, they've got to get sick sometime, if not now it would happen later. I personally have always thought this was ridiculous and just something they tell themselves to make themselves feel better about putting their kids through so much sickness. I'm sure many actually believe it. So they can probably read this book and think, "oh, well, the day care MY child is in is not like this," or "I know my own child, and they LIKE going to day care," or "this book was obviously written by a biased misogynist intent on keeping women barefoot and pregnant and reversing any gains made in the workforce in the past 30 years," or any number of rationalizations to justify their own position.

But just for kicks, here's an excerpt from the book, starting on page 85:

The most damning evidence of all concerning the dangers of day care involves health risks, sometimes grave, that group care presents for small children. The drastically elevated incidence of infectious disease amojng day care children is hardly a secret among pediatricians and epidemiologists. The problem surfaced in dramatic form a decade ago when Pediatric Annals devoted a special issue to day care-related diseases, headlining their lead editorial, "Day Care, Day Care; Mayday! Mayday!" The statistics are truly shocking. According to one estimate published by the American Academy of Family Physicians, children in day care are eighteen times more likely to become ill than other children; at any one time, 16 percent of those attending day care are likely to be sick. (Of those sick children, 82 percent continue to attend day care in spite of their illness.) Day care children are anywhere between three and four-and-a-half times more likely to be hospitalized than those raised at home. One study estimated that "children in day care are at a 50 to 100 percent increased risk for contracting [certain] fatal and maiming diseases for each year in day care." . . . It appears that the high rate of disease transmission in day care centers is unrelated to the "quality" of the center, but is simply a function of bringing large numbers of infants and toddlers together in the same facility.

Let me see if I can summarize what I thought were the main points of the book:

-Mass media and academia are biased in favor of day care, because women working in these fields put their kids in day care.
-Corporations in general are in favor of day care since it increases the talent available to them (if all women are in the work force).
-Government is in favor of day care since the day care industry itself creates lots of jobs and tax revenue, plus having all the extra workers (women) in the labor pool increases GDP.
-Children are best-served by having a single caretaker throughout their childhood (if both parents must work, getting a long-term nanny is much better than putting the kids in day care).
-Most parents WANT to stay home with their young children, they don't want universal daycare.
-It is predominantly high-income people that are clamoring for subsidized day care (and currently benefit from the child care tax credit), not poor people.

Here's a quote from near the end of the book that I thought summed up the whole day care issue pretty well:

A key element in the cultural battle is the courage necessary to state the truth and get beyond the politically correct posturing that has so distorted the public discussion of child care policy. Keeping children's interests in the forefront of the debate is of the utmost importance in maintaining an attitude of candor. When confronted by an audience stocked with young feminists hostile to her opposition to the regular use of nonparental day care, Dr. Laura Schlessinger asked the crowd one simple question: "If you could. . .come back as an infant, stand up if you would rather be raised by a daycare worker, a nanny or a babysitter [rather than your own mother]. Stand up now." Not one of the women in the audience moved. "Then why," she asked, "are you going to do this to your children?"

It's a question that needs to be asked not only of the relatively few parents who prefer day care for their children, but of a day care establishment that would foist the destructive regime of universal day care for preschoolers on every family, all in the name of concern over children's well-being and development."