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The Child Care Tab: $25,000 a Year

On Thursday, 5-year-old hits a milestone with his graduation from preschool. And I must admit, I can't wait. No more driving a half-hour loop to two different schools. No more different spring breaks and various other school days off. And, most important, no more paying for school.

To honor the occasion of the end of paying for daily child care, I thought I'd do a quick calculation of exactly what the first seven years of kids has meant for our bottom line. There was a nanny share, followed by a few months in a day care followed by preschool, followed by another nanny all our own and preschool on top of that. In the summers, we've had camp. And the grand total of it all: About $25,000 per year for seven years.

The sad state of our lives is that I suspect this amount, or even more, spent on child care isn't so unusual. It's why some parents calculate the numbers and realize that financially their child care costs outweigh a salary. And its why a $5,000 annual tax break for dependent care doesn't put a dent into what most of us REALLY shell out to care for our kids while we work -- something the Family Tax Relief Act of 2009 is trying to address.

And, while some might not agree with Brigid Schulte's opinion piece on year-round schools in Sunday's Washington Post, it's a good reason for our nation to work to implement a "modified calendar", as one reader called it in Monday's live discussion.

The way that Schulte outlines her children's school schedule sounds like a dream compared to the options my children have. Kids still have breaks from school, including five weeks in the summer. But they also have "intersessions" where they can learn in a hands-on, project-oriented, fun environment. It's the kind of learning many of us wish we saw more of every day in schools.

Yes, year-round schools cost money. Someone has to pay teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and janitors for the extra time. But the thought that we parents aren't paying now needs to be put to rest. We're paying for cobbled together activities so that our children are cared for while we work. Many children are paying by sitting in front of televisions all day while their parents are at their jobs.

Do you look at the amount you've spent on child care with amazement? Do you think year-round school could alleviate some of those monetary pressures on your families as your children get older?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 9, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Child Care
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Comments


Yes, we need year-round school. It's not like kids would be grinding away without breaks. Perhaps this would allow us to bring fun back to school since the pressure to cram everything in might lessen. Kids wouldn't have a long break to backslide on what they've learned.

Having a long summer is just not practical and it doesn't help kids. The benefits do not outweigh the negatives.

Sorry, your memory of how fun it was as a kid all summer long just doesn't cut it as an argument.

Posted by: goodhome631 | June 9, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

HUGE proponent of year-round school here.

i'd happily pay the school what it would cost me in time and effort to find entertainment and someone to care for the little girl all summer.

i didn't get it until i read the referenced article. the relaxed intersessions sound fabulous. a perfect compromise between strict lessons and having too much time off.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big advocate of year round schools because I think its good for the kids, not to make things nicer for parents. Certainly that should be the motivation.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

"And, most important, no more paying for school." - tell that to your tax accountant...

Posted by: 06902 | June 9, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

whatever supermom..errr.. i mean moxiemom

the choices i make for my family is a constant balancing act between what's good for the daughter and what's good for us.

i'm not going to pretend to believe that year-round school is the BEST way for daughter to spend her time, but it certainly is the best solution for the family.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Really? You want year-round school to alleviate your hassle of finding child care for your student?? Do you really think of school as a child care option? Teachers are not there to babysit your child, they are there to teach your child. When you were deciding to bring this child into the world, did you contemplate your inconvenience? I am sorry, yes your life is going to be disrupted. I am the mother of two (almost three). I work. I am constantly interrupted by what my chidren need. I don't mind. I was the adult who brought them into the world and bore the responsibility that comes with. Perhaps we should spend more time instructing adults who think that children are cute little accessories as to the time and effort children take instead of year-round school. You wanted something quaint and convenient, buy a picture frame with a child's picture already in it - put it on your desk. It is guaranteed never to disrupt your day or ruin your checkbook.

The year round school debate should be conducted on the merits of enriching the lives of the children and the future of this country - not on their parents inconvenience of having to find child care - something they should have contemplated before the child was born.

Posted by: kjaj | June 9, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Year-round school with Intersession classes = free babysitting.

Gotta admit that I like the price... even better when they start throwing in the free lunches!

Unfortunately, by the day when parents get to completely sluff their childcare responsibilities off on the public dole, I'll be done with the parenting thing.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | June 9, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"Do you really think of school as a child care option?"

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | June 9, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Interesting - seems like you could have made the same point without the name calling.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"Do you look at the amount you've spent on child care with amazement? "

Not in the sense Stacy is implying. Day care is $222/week. At 40 hrs/week, that's $5.55/hour to the day care center per child(and usually my little guy is there more than 40 hrs/week).

Actually, I'm kind of amazed that I would trust someone I'm paying $5.55/hr to take care of my child, but that's the kind of compromise/closing-your-eyes-and-hoping-for-the-best thing we do as parents.


Posted by: awb21 | June 9, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

you're probably right, but it was a reaction to "Certainly that should be the motivation." - in our case it is certainly not the only motivation.

and absolutely: if school can educate and entertain my child for the next 12 years, i'm all for it! it's better for them and better for me.

furthermore kjaj - any suggestion that i (or other people on this board) are not engaged parents is laughable. do you have any thoughts on the subject other the opinion that it should be debated only the merits of child benefits?

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"On Thursday, 5-year-old hits a milestone with his graduation from preschool. And I must admit, I can't wait. No more driving a half-hour loop to two different schools. No more different spring breaks and various other school days off. And, most important, no more paying for school."

Better start saving $25,000 per year for college. Paying for school has just begun.

Posted by: merrill1 | June 9, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

How about increasing standard US vacation time to a month, like the Europeans, so that parents can spend some of the summer getting to know their kids? There are a lot of teachers in my family, and vacationing together is a real life-enhancer.

Posted by: bellabone | June 9, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Barely anything you learn in school sticks with you and becomes useful later in life. It is a giant waste of time and is simply the governments way to condition obedient citizens. Kids are in there most of their life already and you parents want to take away the only free time they get just because you don't feel like entertaining them? Wow. They have their whole lives to be slaves to the higher power.

Posted by: doodlepye | June 9, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"Not in the sense Stacy is implying. Day care is $222/week. At 40 hrs/week, that's $5.55/hour to the day care center per child(and usually my little guy is there more than 40 hrs/week).

Actually, I'm kind of amazed that I would trust someone I'm paying $5.55/hr to take care of my child, but that's the kind of compromise/closing-your-eyes-and-hoping-for-the-best thing we do as parents."

Posted by: awb21 | June 9, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

But you need to finish the math. I'm not sure what age your child is, but for that price, I'm guessing he/she is at the point where the child-teacher ratio is up to at least 6 to 1 or so. So with 6 kids, that puts it up to about $33 per hour per teacher. Obviously that's still not great when you factor in overhead costs, but it puts a little different spin on it.

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

You will pay either way. Increasing the school year means increasing the school budget which means increasing taxes. Lunches, buses, wear and tear on equipment - none of this is free.

Posted by: 06902 | June 9, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

and had i read the entire post I would have noticed that this point was made already...my bad.

Posted by: 06902 | June 9, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

As for the original question, we had two kids who were in full-time day care until they started kindergarten. I shudder when I think how much we spent on it. But I don't think year-round school would do anything to alleviate that. I do think year round school with breaks scattered throughout rather than 3 months off in the summer is a better way to do it and I would be willing to pay for that.

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

My attends 6 weeks of summer school already. It doesn't change my child care costs because I still need to pay full time care for the 5 or 6 weeks she is off in the summer.

But I like the idea of year round schools because I think it is best for students. This long summer break is not good for kids. It may be good for teachers but I think if we were willing to invest more in the schools, we might be able to find some teachers willing to work 6 weeks in the summer for additional pay. It works out to be about one and half more pay checks.

I think the 3 week break in June and 2 or 3 week break in August was enough down time but the 6 weeks of summer school really helps the kids stay on track. It also makes the school year a bit more relaxed.

But the sad thing is the schools can't even seem to do what they need to do in the current school year. Class size in Fairfax county elementary schools is 27-29 kids. That seems crazy. People want a lot of from the school system but they don't want to raise taxes to pay for it.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"Lunches, buses, wear and tear on equipment
- none of this is free."

Maybe we can get the Chinese to pay for it somehow.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | June 9, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

do you have any thoughts on the subject other the opinion that it should be debated only the merits of child benefits?

Interesting, I think if we are talking about spending a significant amount of public money on something, then whether it is best for the children truly should be the primary metric.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

All these people so upset that school is providing "free babysitting". Is that really how you view your child's teachers? Babysitters? I certainly don't view my child's teachers that way. They are hard-working professionals interested in educating my child.

But that's my view.

Ever hear that children thrive on routine? I definitely see my son, while completely able to entertain himself on vacation, missing school.

If your child doesn't like school, you as a parent need to get involved and find out why. You need to advocate for your child and do your best to help them. Think about the attitude you are conveying to your child about education. This is why the U.S. is at the bottom of the western world (and the east) when it comes to educated citizenry.

My son loves school and would LOVE it to be year-round. Many, many more kids feel the same way.

Posted by: goodhome631 | June 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I really liked the article this weekend. The idea of shorter summer breaks so the kids lose less, together with intercessions to give them some fun learning, sounds like a winner. I am one of those people who is concerned by the standardization of learning and the cutbacks in art, music, and free play time. So adding in more weeks of school, but in a fun way that puts back some of what has been lost, strikes me as a great, great idea for my kid.

And, yeah, it would also benefit us. I find the "you should only consider what's best for the children" argument kinda funny -- as if the current school year was carefully crafted around what's best for the children? Right. People support the current school year because it's the status quo, because it's what we're used to -- not because it is fundamentally better than other options. But it's an anachronism; it may have worked in the 1950s, but it doesn't work now. And I just can't see how giving kids such long breaks to forget everything they just learned can possibly be "best" for their development.

We had similar child care costs. Ran about $2,300/mo for two daycares when boy was little. Now we're down to @ $1,600/mo, now that he's in the threes room and she's in before and after-care. I doubt year-round school would save us much, because we still need before- and after-care, and care for all those half days and in-service days.

Posted by: laura33 | June 9, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The best excuse yet for staying childfree. No camp, no expensive orthodontia, no day care, no toys or first car, no college tuition, no 4:00 am visits by the police, no weddings to pay for that will end in divorce.......

Posted by: Baltimore11 | June 9, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The best excuse yet for staying childfree. No camp, no expensive orthodontia, no day care, no toys or first car, no college tuition, no 4:00 am visits by the police, no weddings to pay for that will end in divorce.......

Posted by: Baltimore11 | June 9, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

#1 reason to be childfree.
When your pets get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 9, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't spend one more dime for year round school to be implemented in my county, there is so much waste and abuse in our current system that adding another element would mean nothing but more bureacracy.

I see the benefits of year round school with 3-4 breaks of a couple weeks each because of retention, but there is no way it is going to be widespread anytime in the near future.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | June 9, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

What, parenting your own children isn't an option anymore?

Posted by: gm123 | June 9, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

On the original question, we pay $37,000 a year for one infant and one pre-schooler in daycare in the DC area.

I am a fan of year-round school which might allow for a less hurried curriculum. Maybe with a two-week "summer break."

Posted by: michelleg1 | June 9, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

If that's what parents want, so be it...but I the taxpayers should NOT have to pay for it.

I don't have kids and enough of my taxes already go to a system I will never use I sure as heck don't want any more of it going there just so people don't have to shell out for daycare for the children they wanted to have.

I don't ask anyone else to pay for my hobbies, dogs, or decisions in life, I shouldn't have to pay for yours.

Posted by: Lucee | June 9, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think it's a great idea! But why stop at your round school for just the grade schoolers and up?

Why not drop off the newborns on the way out of the hospital? Forget all this 1950ish nostalgic nonsense about family time, get 'em in school I say, and the earlier the better. Let the little ones do fun things, sure, just as long as they're not bothering me. Harry Potter class, sounds great, sign them up.

If anyone objects, just point out that for the most disadvantaged children, who would otherwise be stuck in front of a TV all the time, any government run program is going to be a better environment. Therefore, the logical conclusion to that is the maximum amount of government care is naturally benefecial for all children. It's perfectly sound reasoning.

Kids these days need to get some time away from the constant rote memorization in school, ridiculous adherence to this abomination of No Child Left Behind. Obviously, the best place for them to get some free time for unstructured play is to spend more time in school. And don't worry one bit, there's no way that all these neat sounding "intersessions" wouldn't eventually be taken over by extra rote memorization.

Ship them all off, good riddance!

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Yes, year-round schools cost money. Someone has to pay teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and janitors for the extra time. But the thought that we parents aren't paying now needs to be put to rest. We're paying for cobbled together activities so that our children are cared for while we work."

So, to give working parents a break in daycare costs, it is more equitable to spread the expense of childcare to the village? How fair is that to the other villagers? I have three children and don't get the argument that excessive childcare costs are anyone's responsibility but my own and my husband's.

As an aside, if we are to have a productive discussion of these matters, respectfully understanding all points of view (or at least respectfully listening to all points of view) will go a long way toward keeping the argument on the issues at hand and not becoming personal attacks. No matter our views on procreation, children ARE our future -- just a fact. What we do with/to them will matter to all of us whether we've reared them or merely tolerated them.

Posted by: Dixie4 | June 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

i agree that kids need to be liberated from the No Child structure, but that's why i loved the article about the intersessions - time for projects and hands-on environments.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

There are many parents of various socioeconomic groups who use schools as babysitters. I took my children to pre-school two or three times a week for the socialization they received. The rest of the time was my responsibility. I realize that I did not gain the respect of any professional peers or earn a lot of money during my lifetime. I hope the $25,000 spent was worth it--for your child's sake.

Posted by: CarolineC | June 9, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

As an aside, if we are to have a productive discussion of these matters, respectfully understanding all points of view (or at least respectfully listening to all points of view) will go a long way toward keeping the argument on the issues at hand and not becoming personal attacks.

Posted by: Dixie4 | June 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Really? How can you tell if one is "respectfully listening to all points of view"? How can you tell when ALL points of view have been presented?
God, what a pretentious bore.

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 9, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Lucee: "I don't have kids and enough of my taxes already go to a system I will never use I sure as heck don't want any more of it going there just so people don't have to shell out for daycare for the children they wanted to have."

Oh, enough already. The amount you pay to support schools is nothing compared to the amount other people's kids are going to be taxed to pay for your social security and Medicare.

Posted by: athena21 | June 9, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I still believe in the old adage, "All work and no play makes Johnny a very dull boy." I wouldn't have a problem with year-round school if the summer months were structured more like a summer camp and not like regular instruction. I can remember those times in elementary school 30 minutes before the bell rang, tension knots would invade my gut from being forced to sit in the same chair with nothing left to do but wait to go home. Playtime is crucial for a child's development and an accurate harbinger of a child's future success. Children need to move and learn through kinesthetic and experiential methods. Some of you sound like you're promoting year-round jail for these kids. How sad.

Posted by: forgetthis | June 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Athena, I think Lucee makes a reasonable point. Just because one part of the tax budget is bigger, does not mean that all other parts should be ignored.

Certainly we have a tradition in this country of providing for public schooling from the public's purse, but if we're talking about possibly expanding that spending, then the reasons should probably be focused on any educational benefits, not necessarily alleviating families' day care costs. It seems like the original poster chose to focus on the latter, so it's really hard to dismiss the counter-argument with "enough already."

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Question to Lucee at 09:50 -- so you don't think you should have to pay for public school because it doesn't benefit you and you won't use it?
Fair enough, I'll assume you went to a private school and only your parents paid for your education. As for me, I'm very glad my coworkers are educated, my doctors got to go to school... I want the children around me to get an education, I see it as an unspoken part of citizenship in this country and I see myself as much better off if they're in school learning. I felt the same way when I didn't have kids, it's an investment in the future of our communities and the future of the nation.

Posted by: StrollerMomma | June 9, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Playtime is crucial for a child's development and an accurate harbinger of a child's future success.

Posted by: forgetthis | June 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse


how is it an accurate harbinger of success?

i consider myself pretty successful, but i spent three years each summer doing absolutely nothing. i can't believe that watching leave it to beaver reruns and playing atari had anything to do with my success.

and if you read the referenced article, you would see that the environment doesn't *quite* resemble jail.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

months, not years.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"The bill would also revise the sliding scale so that the
percentage would not start to decrease until AGI exceeded $30,000, and would
decrease to 20 percent for families with AGI above $59,000."

So basically people who pay the most taxes will not get a tax break from this new proposed "bill." It makes me wonder why I should work so hard to get ahead when the government wants to give tax breaks to people, but leave me out because I make to much money.

I am sorry, but if you have the kids then you need to pay for the daycare, school whatever. I am not a fan of year round school. I think kids need breaks too.

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Wow Stacey, I think you've managed to bring out all the jealous, judgemental crazies this morning. I'm with you here, but I'm not sure you can admit to having $25K to spend on childcare and then get much support for the idea of spending other people's tax dollars on year round school. I'm generally all for doing the best job possible at educating the next generation, makes it much more likely that my 401Ks and social security contribution will actually be there for me when I need it, but some folks just seem to lack that kind of foresight.
The people I worry about are those that are trying to raise kids on $25K a year. They really need the high quality summer care you are talking about, because unless they have family members around to help out the kids are going to be stuck either by themselves all summer, or watching MTV at some sub-par sitters house. As a nation we really ought to do better by these folks, especially because they make up the bulks of american families out there and their kids will represent the majority of american adults in say another 25 years.

Posted by: pinkoleander | June 9, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

interestingidea,

I do think that a good amount of downtime is important, doing whatever the child wants; even Beaver or Atari.

You probably would be successful either way, but alot of us really do think that it's disappointing when a child's entire life is structured and planned around some adult supervised activity, no matter how enriching it sounds, or even how mindless the chosen alternative might be.

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Year-round school sounds to me like just another cop-out for lazy parenting. The whole argument is really based on how to make life easier for the parent, not the child. As someone noted earlier, playtime is an important component of normal, health child development.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | June 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Athena21 "The amount you pay to support schools is nothing compared to the amount other people's kids are going to be taxed to pay for your social security and Medicare"

I'm paying into that same system to help support those currently on SS and Mediare so yes, I expect I will get the same in return.

But I am paying into a school system I never have, nor will ever use. But to have to pay more for it because people don't want the responsibility of taking care of their child. Having a child was their choice, I should not be asked to burden that cost because they don't want to!

Posted by: Lucee | June 9, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I personally like the idea of spreading the time off from school around the calendar so that the kids will have more frequent breaks and won't be so burned out toward the end of the year. I think it would also give kids more time to spend with non-local family members during the year, instead of just during the summer.

I think it would be rather hard on the teachers, though, since many of them depend on the long summer breaks to supplement their income or to keep up-to-date with their licenses by taking extra classes. I would like to hear a teacher's perspective on this.

Posted by: floof | June 9, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

What I think is often missed in this discussion is that year round school doesn't mean less down time. It means that there are more frequent, but shorter breaks. This enables children to have breaks, but not lose as much knowledge as they may lose during the standard 12 week summer break. Frankly, it sounds a lot more balanced to me.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Lucee-
I am a sahm (and I don't plan to return to work until my kids are older), so I don't view school as childcare (in honesty, I probably wouldn't send my kids to classes during "intersession."). But I do think it benefits society as a whole to have the best schools possible. These kids are going to grow up to be the doctors who care for you, the politicians who run your government, and the scientists who may find a way to cure your cancer. And better-educated kids will also make more money, pay more taxes, and generally contribute more to the economy. If year-round school (as is stated in the article) leads to higher graduation rates and better literacy rates, that benefits everyone, not just those with kids.

Posted by: floof | June 9, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I pulled up my tax returns from 10 years and I spent approximately $32K a year (for care for a 4 year old) of which nearly $7K was various state and government taxes and unemployment insurance.

And remember that's all *after-tax* money, so you'd need a salary of about $50K to cover it (and nothing else...)

Posted by: WilsonHSgrad | June 9, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Pretentious bore? How so? And what's with the name calling? It's not that I mind being called God but don't you think that's a bit much? You are a funny one, Jezebel.

Posted by: Dixie4 | June 9, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

WilsonHSgrad,

What was your salary at the time?

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I really don't think you can blame single people or high earners for not wanting to be taxed to death. Nor do I think they are jealous, or in general, mean spirited. They are tired of all the taxes as am I. I have two children, I and my spouse are high earners. I wanted another child, but could not afford to have one and provide the kind of life that I want for my other children. You know costs that include day care, vacations and hopefully college.

When I see a family with three or four kids walking to school and then hear the mother whine about not having this or that or not making enough money; I tend to think about two things: my third child I don't have and my taxes.

I am neither mean nor jealous. I am being realistic. You can't expect people to want to continue to pay taxes for all these programs when most of the people who benefit don't really try to being themselves out of poverty.

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

StrollerMama:

I went to public school, and my parents paid their taxes so I could. They also paid higher taxes in a better school district so I could get a better education. I don't see what bearing my going to public or private school matters as my parents paid into the system for it.

I agree that people need to be educated but the author of the article is complaining about the cost of daycare and how it's such a burden...that's part of being a parent, don't stick the taxpayers with a bigger bill for education because you don't want the responsibility that comes with being a parent - which means finding a way to provide daycare. Paying for babysitting should NOT be the taxpayers obligation.

Posted by: Lucee | June 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Jumpy66 - "Year-round school sounds to me like just another cop-out for lazy parenting."
---
No. How about "continuous learning"? Maybe the year-round school IDEA will give the school systems a chance to re-think whether they're actually being effective with the current schedule.
Just because it's something different doesn't make it bad.
WE (with children or not) need to RETHINK our whole education system. It doesn't appear that the model we have now is working very well...the number of students/kids is only going to grow...so the question is will the "traditional" model work for the future? (I'd say probably not)
Given the comments here...we really need to decide whether we wanted an educated population of the future or one that's just present.

Posted by: robjdisc | June 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

floorf:
I do agree that a good education system benefits the entire population, but when used as an excuse to not have to pay for daycare...why should I pay for someone else's life choices?

Posted by: Lucee | June 9, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Lucee, you're missing the point entirely. If other people didn't raise kids and spend all that money paying for their care, then there wouldn't be anybody around in the future to pay for your Social Security and Medicare benefits. Why is this not sinking in? How many different ways does it have to be explained to you? The people you are relying on to pay for your benefits when you become an old fogie first have to be born and fed and clothed and cleaned and watched and educated. Why are you not getting this?

Posted by: forgetthis | June 9, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"Just because it's something different doesn't make it bad."

Nor does it make it good.


"Maybe the year-round school IDEA will give the school systems a chance to re-think whether they're actually being effective with the current schedule."

Maybe they could think about that before changing the whole schedule.

"so the question is will the "traditional" model work for the future? (I'd say probably not)"

Why not? Because the population is going to be bigger, that correlates to a requirement to spend more time in school?

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

lucee- the daycare cost is one issue for some people, but my point is that it shouldn't be a reason to shoot down the idea. You seem to be saying, "I won't pay for this because it will enable parents to get off without paying for daycare." My point it, ignore that issue and just focus on the educational aspect. If it can be demonstrated that this is a superior method of educating kids, don't you think it would be worthwhile to pay for it?

Posted by: floof | June 9, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Lucee, I agree that the school year should not be extended simply to alleviate day care costs. And to make it clear, I think we should extend the school year not just add interminent school breaks.

We are falling behind educationally and one reason is the huge summer break. It would cost a lot more money to keep schools open for 4 to 6 weeks longer. The question is will it be beneficial to society as a whole.

To answer your question, the future of this nation is not resting on the development of your dogs. That is why we don't spend public dollars on them. It is a fact that the next generation of this country and world depends on the children of today. Therefore it is in our best interest to invest in all children.

And yes having children is a choice. But not having them (most of the time and in your case) sounds like it was a choice as well. If you think it is in your best interest (tax wise and other wise) than maybe you should reasses your position. If you determine that the pros of child free living is in your best interest, then proceed but take the cons along with the pros of your decision.

Like or not, children are here to stay. And if you choose to live in this country (again your choice) it involves investing in the future of this country. Until the child free out number the families with kids, I don't see that changing.

Moxie: I know what you mean about year round schools. Year round schools currently are not open any longer. I am actually for extending the school year, raising taxes. I don't think this will affect teachers because they would get paid more and not have to get summer jobs. What it will negatively affect is summer tourism and businesses that cater to long summers (like summer camp). I am not that interested in intercession studies but actually just extending the school year. By extending the school year, they can relax and not rush through the material and fit more time in for the extracurriculars.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

UGH, Lucee does get it. She just doesn't think that she should have to pay for daycare or year round school to help make parents' lives easier.

Can't you see it from her point of view? She has no kids, so why should she have to pay for daycare?

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Times have changed. When I was a kid with a stay-at-home mom, I had the luxury of all that unstructured time, which translated into a whole lot of TV and being sent to sleepaway camp as soon as I was old enough. Having that long summer break doesn't always translate into quality experience or fantastic family bonding (though, for the record, those weeks at camp were pretty awesome).

The reality is that most families I know nowadays have 2 working parents, and long summer breaks are a bear to plan for. I solved the problem in my family by taking a job in the school system -- though it pays less and isn't exactly in my field, it's what works best for my family. I won't have the whole summer off, but I'll have enough time that my daughter won't have to spend every day scheduled into a camp or other activity.

I'm one of the (very) lucky ones. The school I work in is a Title I school, meaning most of our kids come from impoverished households. Many of those Title I kids will spend 5 weeks (half-days only) in summer school, and will spend the rest of the summer bored to tears -- camps aren't affordable for their parents -- heck, even a season pass to the pool is out of reach and you can't go without a parent anyway.

As a society, we need to adapt to the ways families are changing. I LOVE the idea of year round school. Let lower income kids have a real shot at closing the achievement gap, and give upper and middle income families the choice between enrichment classes and vacation. At the same time, the point about increasing the American standard of annual vacation is hugely important -- 2 weeks is ABSURD.

While I'm sure many parents object to the idea of year round school, I would suspect that teachers would put up an even bigger fight. Having 10 weeks off in the summer is a pretty hard perk to let go of...

Posted by: NotCommutingAnymore | June 9, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Lucee - that is a completely ludicrous thing to say. If people don't have children, who will build roads? Who will fly airplanes? Who will stock the grocery store? Who will salt the roads in the winter? Or will you have to work until you're dead because no one will be there to take your job? You are the beneficiary of a good system as well as the victim of a poor system, regardless of your direct use of it. There'd probably be less crime but otherwise, your argument is specious.

My problem with the amount of payment for child care is that the teachers make too little for the job that they perform for young children. My $12k-15k/year is money well spent, but the teachers don't benefit wholly from that. And it's unfortunate that these first few years are not regarded as highly as kindergarten & up. Unless you're poor & can get into Headstart programs, which I'm also paying for thru my taxes IN ADDITION to my payment for my own child. But I don't begrudge that because I personally want an educated populace.

I did choose to have a child, knowing it was expensive and time-consuming and I'm not looking for a government handout like some people. I'm still a selfish person like you Lucee, but I now think about others a little more since becoming a mom.

Posted by: kcoombs1209@verizon.net | June 9, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Supersonic: because school isn't daycare!

Posted by: floof | June 9, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Forgetthis, You are assuming Lucee (I don't speak for her) agrees with Medicare and SS. Personally, I could think of nothing better than letting these 2 entitlement programs die a quick death.

I've been paying into the system for 26 years (approx), I'd like to make a deal - stop my payments to the federal govt right now and I won't complain about the past 26 years. It'll never happen obviously, but the thought of continued payments to a broken system pains me as much as paying for schools that systemically waste money and are run by the Unions for the teachers. If the "system" was really about educating children, there would be a mass movement towards school choice, charter schools and pulling children out of miserable public schools in Urban areas.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | June 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

foamgnome,

Yours is the only argument on here that really made me consider another point of view.

But the problem is you're arguing for something completely different than what at least this (probably non-existent) trend seems to be saying. They want more daycare, fill it up with Harry Potter.

You seem to want almost the opposite; more time in school, yes, but less Harry Potter and more and more mathematics. You might not have said that specifically, but if you're trying to convince alot of reluctant taxpayers that more time in school will help these kids cure cancer, then that's not going to happen from more Harry Potter class.

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Wow! 25k a year. You do realize that some people don't even make 25k a year... don't you?

You talk about using year round school to reduce the costs of child-care but you neglect to mention that you chose to pay that kind of money for childcare.

I support year round school if only because I agree with some of the other folks that 12 weeks off school is a very long time. And yes... I remember great summers of going nothing but I also remember being in some programs that probably helped my parents babysit me while they worked. That still didn't negate the fact that they were great programs.

But to think its a great way to save money? That doesn't apply to our family and I suspect it doesn't apply to a lot of the working poor because you don't need to pay 25k a year for childcare. You might want to because you think it is better quality care but you don't NEED to and plenty of folks don't pay that kind of money. They are simply happy they found daycare that is within their limited means.

Posted by: Billie_R | June 9, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I just read Brigid's article. I have to say the intercessions sound cool. But later on the article says it doesn't improve over all academic performance. I think I am for extending the school year (6 weeks or so), raising taxes, and adding a little more extracurriculars. But I have to admit her intercessions sounds exciting for all kids.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Also, we all pay for services we don't use. I pay for ESL classes even though my kids speak English. I pay for special ed classes that my kids will likely not need (including full-time special ed preschool, even though I have to pay for private preschool out of my pocket because the county doesn't provide preschool to all kids). I pay for free lunches for kids who don't have enough healthy food at home. I pay for summer school for kids who don't master the material on time.

Posted by: floof | June 9, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Lucee, you're missing the point entirely. If other people didn't raise kids and spend all that money paying for their care, then there wouldn't be anybody around in the future to pay for your Social Security and Medicare benefits. Why is this not sinking in? How many different ways does it have to be explained to you? The people you are relying on to pay for your benefits when you become an old fogie first have to be born and fed and clothed and cleaned and watched and educated. Why are you not getting this?

Posted by: forgetthis | June 9, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse


Do YOU get that there is no world population shortage? The "other people" don't have to be Americans. There is a long, long line of educated adults from other countries who would be thrilled to become American citizens & taxpayers. Dunno if they want their kids to wipe my backside in a nursing home. Do you?

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 9, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

rr321: Yes, I am advocating for more school in general:more math, more english, more history, more science and if were lucky more extracurriculars. I also think one of the compelling thing about the intercessions was that they were teaching math and science but in an interesting and creative way. I don't see that as something that can't be done in the regular classroom enviroment. As far as things like swimming, well no I don't think we can do that across the board. Probably not enough time and not enough schools equipped with pools.

It is nonexistent now but maybe we can make a case in point to create a system that actually extends the school year in an academic and social beneficial way. Every great revolution starts with small ideas.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

jezbel:Yes the world has no shortage of people. What the world and this country has a shortage of is educated members. Poor people in rural Africa do not build and manage large US companies, cure cancer, or pay US taxes. So yes, we can import as many poor uneducated people from around the world. I doubt that they will be able to run and maintain the current US standard of living. Like or not, we do have "our team" mentality.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

My initial gut-level reaction to year round school was negative. While yes, the current system requires scheduling and paying for summer activities and finding ways to keep my kids occupied while I’m at work, I still felt that the summer break was beneficial and rejuvenating. After reading the article from Sunday, I can’t say I’ve changed my mind.
The author writes that her kids, “have learned how to sail, designed entire cities in cardboard, built skyscrapers with toothpicks and marshmallows, performed in a musical and built and set off rockets on the front lawn….etc.
My kids have enjoyed many enriching activities in summer camps. Yes, it cost me money, but increased taxes and fees would be necessary to pay for the extended school year, so I don’t see a big difference for me. I’m middle class. No one is going to pay for any of this for my kids. I’ll struggle along no matter what and bear part of the tax burden for other people’s kids. So cost isn’t even a factor in my decision.
What strikes me is that the article talks about how flawed the current school system is and how it needs to be updated, but the only thing they propose is making students stay in classes they aren’t getting much from for a longer period of time or paying for them to go to fun camps instead of the parents paying. If you want to fix the school system, deal with the content, not with the length of time children attend classes. More time in inferior classes doesn’t help anyone. I think the end of the article says it best:
“One night in early January a few years ago, my son, who struggles in a regimented setting, lamented that school would be starting the next day. "But you've been at school all week," I said. He'd been solving riddles in Code Breakers to hone his problem-solving skills and making volcanos explode with baking soda and vinegar in a science lab. "That wasn't school," he said. "That was intersession."
Exactly. For the majority of the school year, he would be sitting in the same classroom, dreading it as always, and likely not learning any more than he did when summer was 10 weeks long. But now, the taxpayers are funding his "summer" camp breaks.

Posted by: singlemom | June 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Do YOU get that there is no world population shortage? The "other people" don't have to be Americans. There is a long, long line of educated adults from other countries who would be thrilled to become American citizens & taxpayers."


hmm... because the policy of importing workers after a population decline has worked so well for the Japanese. And the French.

Posted by: floof | June 9, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Singlemom summed it up perfectly.

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I didn't say it was, but if you go to the link that Stacy provided about tax breaks you will see what I am talking about.

Lucee you should just suck it up and have a baby, stop whinning about where all your hard-earned money goes (really, I mean it grows on trees, or just leave the country or this blog.

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Singlemom summed it up perfectly.

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse


Toady.

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 9, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Do YOU get that there is no world population shortage? The "other people" don't have to be Americans. There is a long, long line of educated adults from other countries who would be thrilled to become American citizens & taxpayers."

Do you really think other countries are going to educate their children and then allow them to keep moving to the US. They educate their children to improve their own countries not enhance the US.

I think the second best thing to your idea, is then to ship them back to their homeland when they get old. Don't educate them and then don't pay for their elderly care.

Seriously, we can't depend on just foreign workers to sustain our own country.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I admit it. I don't even know what that means.

Posted by: rr321 | June 9, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is looking at year round school only in terms of elementary school - which may be what's being suggested, I can't really tell. However, at the high school level, kids need a break - longer than 5 weeks. They need time to have summer jobs + have time for band camp, two-a-days, etc. before school starts again. Students who will be in AP classes in the fall often have books and projects they have to do over the summer that are due the first week of school.

High school kids have a lot that gets stuffed in to the current 10 week summer break - I can't imagine cutting it to 5 weeks.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 9, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

pretty good point about the high school stuff. i was thinking in the context of elementary school.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

But you need to finish the math. I'm not sure what age your child is, but for that price, I'm guessing he/she is at the point where the child-teacher ratio is up to at least 6 to 1 or so. So with 6 kids, that puts it up to about $33 per hour per teacher. Obviously that's still not great when you factor in overhead costs, but it puts a little different spin on it.

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 8:56 AM

Dennis I hate to break it to you but the only person geting paid 33 dollars an hour would be the director that runs what ever daycare center they work in and is prob. on salary anyways. Majorty of teachers that work in childcare top out around 11/12$,at least in my area. Besides if they were paid that much would your schools have the turn over rate that most preschools have?

Posted by: stargirl1055412 | June 9, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Groovis, I don't know that band camp and two a days are things kids "need". If there were to be a longer year, I think that the activities and schedules of the children, even at the HS level, would shift. I would argue that as they get older, a more consistent schedule, something that a bit more like the "real world" would be a benefit in figuring out how to balance wants with responsibilities.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the problem isn't with the school system. Maybe the problem is that you've chosen to live in a place where childcare costs $25,000 a year. And the cost of childcare shouldn't really be the driving factor behind a radical overhaul of the school system, yet it is in this discussion.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | June 9, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

moxiemom- an important part of the high school experience is sports, band, etc. Kids learn an amazing amount by taking part in these activities. Obviously they're learning different things than they learn in class - but important life lessons none the less. Plus, you can't get more "real world" than having a summer job.

I'm thinking that if summer were only 5 weeks long, the sports coaches and band directors would still require all-day practice for 3 weeks before the start of the season. They want competitive teams and they work the kids hard with no regard for scheduling difficulties - which is another "real world" lesson for the kids.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 9, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Dennis I hate to break it to you but the only person geting paid 33 dollars an hour would be the director that runs what ever daycare center they work in and is prob. on salary anyways. Majorty of teachers that work in childcare top out around 11/12$,at least in my area. Besides if they were paid that much would your schools have the turn over rate that most preschools have?

Posted by: stargirl1055412 | June 9, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean to imply that the teachers are making $33 an hour. My point was that paying $5.50 an hour at a center isn't the same as paying one person $5.50 an hour to watch your kids. The economy of scale of a center allows them to charge a lower rate than a single person could.

I agree that daycare/preschool teachers are underpaid. But there aren't enough people who make enough money to allow daycare centers to charge higher rates to increase teacher salaries. They need to keep their rates low enough so people can afford to pay them. It's a catch-22.

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Groovis, I agree that extra curriculars are very valuable, but they don't necessarily need to be done the way they have always been done either. Instead of all summer band camp, the kids could do band camp during the two week breaks.

I may well be in the minority, but I don't think that kids need 3 weeks of all day football practice (that's really what we're talking about isn't it) in the summer to be successful. I for one, would be happy to have less successful school sports teams if the other side of the coin were a better education and quality of life across the board. If everything were more spread out then maybe there would be more time for everything to be practiced in a more balanced manner across the board. I will cede that the inability to work like a dog all summer to make exta cash may well be a hardship for some families.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the problem isn't with the school system. Maybe the problem is that you've chosen to live in a place where childcare costs $25,000 a year. And the cost of childcare shouldn't really be the driving factor behind a radical overhaul of the school system, yet it is in this discussion.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | June 9, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious to know where you can live where decent childcare for two is much less than that.

And I agree that the cost of childcare shouldn't be the reason to overhaul the school system, although I do agree the system needs an overhaul.

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

GroovisMaximus61 has a very good point. I think that society as a whole thinks everyone has to go to college. Let's educate the kids year round and then everyone will go to college, but what about the kid like my friend Austin who used to work every summer full time in a grocery store to feed and cloth his younger siblings.

Society may say that Austin would have been better served in school, but he worked so hard that the store manager gave hin a job as a meat cutter. It may not sound like much, but it pays well and is a skilled trade.

There are many things to consider besides what "your kid" needs. The your is not directed to anyone on the blog, it is just a general "your."

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Groovis: I don't think it has to be an all or nothing scenario. Why can't their be year round schools for the lower grades and a traditional schedule for HS students?

I still think our current group of young people need 6 more weeks of math and science more than they need 6 weeks of band or sports. But that is me.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"I for one, would be happy to have less successful school sports teams if the other side of the coin were a better education and quality of life across the board."

What about the kids who get scholarships for being on the winning football team?

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

How sad for your kids that you chose not to stay home with them until school. Did your husband's salary not support your house/lifestyle? When your accountant did the math, how far ahead did you come out by working every year while paying that $25k for day care, etc? Was it worth it? Some people truly need to have 2 incomes, but many families have sufficient income from one parent, and with a few sacrifices, one can stay home with pre-schoolers. Now it seems you're eager to have day care continue on the taxpayer's dime...you have every right to your decisions and I'm sure your kids are doing well, but I'm saddened by your attitude toward them...that they are some sort of costly accessory to your life, instead of your reason for being.

Posted by: mpaterso | June 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

supersonic:Less than 1% of all student athletes receive any scholarship to play sports. That is not reason enough to keep the school system the way it is. Playing HS sports is a good thing for well rounded education and physical fitness. It is a far cry from a college fund.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"I still think our current group of young people need 6 more weeks of math and science more than they need 6 weeks of band or sports. But that is me."

But you can't lump all kids together either. Your kid might need more math or science, but my kid or the neighbor's kid may need more band camp to hone his talent for the cello or more football practice so he can get a full ride to college.

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

supersonic:
Every kid is going to be different. But if you look at the world economy, the need for math and science is far greater than football or cello playing.

Again very few kids are receiving scholarships for sports and certainly not full rides. Even across the board if school is lengthened, those who choose to have their current extracurriculars dominate their free time, will likely head up the competition. Even if the bar is set lower due to new time constraints.

Year round school will not change the fact that if they want to devote the times of intermission to sports or music, they can do so. You don't need it all done in 10 consecutive weeks.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 9, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

supersonic - I'm with you except that I'd say that EVERY kid - college-bound or not - should have the kind of experience your friend had with a summer job. Yup, the first job you get may be really crummy (I cleaned toilets at age 16). But if you work hard, you can either get a promotion or a good reference that will take you to your next (hopefully better) job. It teaches kids hustle and the value of money.

The value of sweating through 3 weeks of 8 hour a day band practice is harder to see right away. Our high school has an incredibly competitive band and the kids DO get college scholarship $$ pretty frequently. My daughter is just finishing up 4 years of high school band. She was in the color guard and there are no scholarships for that, believe me. However, I'd say that her commitment to band taught her about leadership, teamwork, the value of hard work, competitiveness and friendship. And I wouldn't swap any of that so that she could have more math.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 9, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

foamgnome - you're right, school schedules may not have to be all or nothing. Maybe K-6 or 8 could have a modified schedule and high schools have a traditional schedule.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 9, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Okay, you are right; we should do everything around academics because surely everyone is going to college. At least they are in your little elite corner of the world. Here in the real world some kids have to work over the summer to help their families. My friend Austin would not have his job today if he had to go to school all year long.

But, we can always import some African meat cutters right? We just can’t import scientists.

As far as sports go, I went to a small school and three of my classmates got football scholarships, two got track scholarship and one got a volley ball scholarship. Maybe “they” aren’t important to you, but they are important to me. One of them is now a doctor.

If you want to send your children to school all year round, be my guest. However, some people do not want to, and we should not have to pay to send your children to school all year long.

I don’t mean to be rude, but sometimes you regulars live in a bubble.

Oh and by the way, kids who learn music often have an easier time learning math.

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Mpaterso, I agree with your sentiments. This push to subsidize preschool is nothing more than an attempt to subsidize certain parents affluent lifestyle. Having one of the parents stay home with the child in their early years is the ideal way.

Posted by: wabarnes | June 9, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This push to subsidize preschool is nothing more than an attempt to subsidize certain parents affluent lifestyle. Having one of the parents stay home with the child in their early years is the ideal way.

Posted by: wabarnes | June 9, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse


this has been the most entertaining day on this page in ages. case in-point, WABARNES just throws out this declarative opinion as if it were fact! i love it!

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but one of the points of the article seems to be that childcare is so expensive, wouldn't it be great if they were in school more so that burden would be lifted....THAT is what I have a problem with.

I do NOT have a problem with people being properly educated. I understand that we need the upcoming population to run the country when we're older. So if that means the school year be extended, then I'm for it.

Show me that an extended school year works, is beneficial to ALL taxpayers (not just by helping with day care costs, but in creating better educated students, etc, etc) then you have a case.

Most people I know don't have children solely for the purpose of producing offspring so someone is there to take care of the rest of the population. So there is a limit to the responsibility the rest of the population has, unless it is shown that the human race in the USA is danger of dying out.

So I'm not opposed to the idea, I'm opposed to doing it for the wrong reasons.

And how can any of you presume to know the full reasons I don't have kids. I might not be able to, maybe I lost a child during preganancy because I don't feel it's really relevant.

Posted by: Lucee | June 9, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Only $25,000 for seven years? That's cheap. High quality daycare, care that mimics a school setting and has been shown to reap academic rewards down the line, costs a minimum of $1,000 a month. School days should be longer and year round. That's how its done everywhere else in the world. Maybe that's why American kids get such poor marks compared to their international counterparts. I would have no problem paying extra in property taxes to keep schools open longer and year round. As for all those folks who think parents should stay home with their kids, here's something to consider: If you are so blessed, good for you. Some of us simply can't do that financially, so we do the responsible thing and go to work to support our families. Just because we don't make gobs of money doesn't mean that we should be denied the joy of having children. So stop shoving an outdated 1950's model of the American family that no longer applies down our throats. Unless you are willing to pay my mortgage and bills you have no place to judge.

Posted by: BB1978 | June 9, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

We decided that my wife would stay home with the kids, which probably cost $50k, net, compared to sending them to daycare. As a parent in the DC area, I do find the education argument for government preschool and year-round school to be unconvincing. Proponents seem reluctant to say that having the government foot the bill for taking care of the kids is a good thing. It seems like having most women in the paid workforce has been very good for the economy over the past 40 some years.

Our politics are not quite so progressive that we can say; the government is going to pay for a large part of the costs of caring for your kids in addition to what we're spending on schools in the conventional k-12, 9-month system. It will be very expensive and we will need many billions in taxes to pay for it. On the other hand, it will allow both parents to work outside the home if they choose. Since nearly half of all children are living with only one parent, it will enable that parent to remain employed. Overall, we think it will be good for the families and good for the U.S. economy.

Um, no. Better to say it will boost test scores, whatever the evidence actually says.

Posted by: KS100H | June 9, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@BB1978,

Read the headline: "25,000 a Year for Daycare." Ridiculous.

Stop trying to cram your greedy, exorbitant lifestyle down our throats at our own (taxpayer) expense.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | June 9, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Overall, we think it will be good for the families and good for the U.S. economy.

Posted by: KS100H | June 9, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse


Who TF is "we"?

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 9, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Lucee it is no ones business why you don't have children. I did not read any of your posts that suggest you don't want to pay your fair share of taxes to support you local schools.

I read it like you did. I don't want to have to supplement other people's choices with my tax money. If you want to send your kid to school all year round, great, but you pay for it. I don't think I should have to pay for day care either, but then, maybe you and I are selfish like one poster pointed out.

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

You are already in trouble if you don't know who "WE" is?

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Supersonic, I share your feelings about every child not necessarily being bound for college, but I would argue that bringing back and enhancing the trade education (vo-tech)to public schools would be a great idea.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | June 9, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Cost of child-care:

DH stopped working in January of 1992 to follow me to CA, and take care of the baby we were expecting that June. The job he left had an annual salary of $42,000.

Assuming he'd received an annual 3% increase in salary if he'd continued working (that's a conservative assumption - his previous annual raises had been 5% or better) - by the end of this year his total income over the last 17 years would have been $983,306. So, because our family chose to have a full-time SAHP and live on one income, our child-care cost to date has been almost a million.

Projecting forward for the next five years until younger son graduates high school give a grand total of $1,445,811. Nearly 1.5 million for childcare for our family. (With a little luck, in spite of having autism, older son will be out of the family home and self-supporting by the time younger son graduates.)

I can't speak for anyone else's kids, but I'm comfortable that our boys have been, and will continue to be, worth the costs.

Posted by: SueMc | June 9, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You are already in trouble if you don't know who "WE" is?

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse


Is "we" you and your fugky wife?

Posted by: jezebel3 | June 9, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I agree with your assesment too Moxiemom. I do not, however, agree with raising taxes to pay for year round school and day care.

People only have so much money. Hence, no third child for me!

Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Is "we" you and your fugky wife?

Nice, I am not a lesbian (not that there is anything wrong with that) I was also just joking with you Jezebel3.


Posted by: supersonic1 | June 9, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

SueMc writes:
"I can't speak for anyone else's kids, but I'm comfortable that our boys have been, and will continue to be, worth the costs."

Sue, Bless you and the choices you and your spouse have made. Myself and my wife are caring for a 3 year old autistic child. She has given up her career to stay home with him and our 1 year old. They are ours to care for - and worth every minute of sacrifice and lost $ of income, present and future. Like you, I can't speak for anyone else, but just can't imagine anyone else caring for our children, especially when they are pre-school age, when we have the resources to care for them ourselves.

Posted by: mpaterso | June 9, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

and to the people outside of the DC Metro region, if you put your child in day care inside of the beltway you will pay at least $1,200/mo. (and that's after you're on the waiting list for a year, minimum)

we pay around $1,600/mo.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Off topic to mpaterso:

You have my blessing too. We didn't plan it that way (there was no planning - I had serious fertility issues), but it's turned out that younger son was the very best thing we could possibly have done for older son's development and progress. I hope you'll find it works that way for your autistic child too. And younger son has become one of the most considerate and empathic persons I've ever met, so he benefits from his older brother's disability. Good luck to your whole family.

Posted by: SueMc | June 9, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

SueMc, that's gross income. You need to knock off about 35% or so for taxes. It's still a significant amount of money. Also, once all the kids were in school, your husband had 6 hours or so a day when he isn't providing childcare but still not working. So a lot of that lost income didn't go for childcare. That's 75% of a normal 8 hour workday that he isn't providing child care.

Of course you need to account for school breaks. If you take a 180 day school year and 260 weekdays in a year, prorate the 6 hour school days to 8 hour days - 75% of 180 is 135 days, so about 50% of your husband's non-working time is going to childcare. So the amount of lost income that is apportioned to childcare is even less.

It's not to say your husband isn't providing a valuable service for your family by staying home. I'm just point out that if you assume "his salary would have been $60,000 this year, so we spent $60,000 on child care" it grossly overstates the amount that is actually going for childcare.

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

some random questions:

1. Do SAH parents have more kids than WOH parents? (This might indicate that people are using economic realities to determine family size.) Anyone have the stats?

2. I'm curious about the level of outrage about school fees, etc, after people spend so much for daycare. You'd think, after spending 25K a year, you'd be thrilled to kick in only $500 a year or something to improve your local school. Yet that isn't the case. Truly wondering: if you were willing to spend so much for daycare, why aren't you willing to spend $ for school?

3. My sister teaches at a year-round elementary school. (Roughly speaking, the # of instructional days is the same, just spread out more.) Parents complain endlessly about it because they have to cobble things together 2 weeks at a time--it's actually logistically harder for the working parents than a traditional schedule is, because camps and such are harder to find... So why do the working parents on here think it would be easier? Please explain it.

Posted by: newslinks1 | June 9, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

i'm assuming that the two week camps would proliferate if enough local schools adopted the modified schedule. good old supply and demand.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 9, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Always nice to see Jez contribute: "Pretentious bore", "Toady", and whatever ..gky means.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 9, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

No blog is complete without its resident troll. Jez is ours, and to be perfectly honest, there are worse trolls out there. So be thankful her insults are mild.

Posted by: emily8 | June 9, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Jezebel3 asked: Who TF is "we"?

Apologies for the confusion; that single statement was part of paragraph describing what a politician might say in support of pre-K or year-round school. The "we" would be the voice of the governor or maybe a Congressman. My point was that I haven't heard of a politician coming out and say that the government wants to essentially provide a vast expansion of government-funded day care for all.

Posted by: KS100H | June 9, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dennis5 | June 9, 2009 4:25 PM

"Also, once all the kids were in school, your husband had 6 hours or so a day when he isn't providing childcare but still not working. So a lot of that lost income didn't go for childcare. That's 75% of a normal 8 hour workday that he isn't providing child care."

Dennis, your point about taxes was valid.

As for the rest, quoted above - come back and talk to me about how my husband spends his days when YOUR autistic child reaches 11th grade and maintains a gpa above 3.5. You have no idea what's required from the parent of a severely disabled student to get that kid an appropriate education.

Six hours a day - I wish! (But not as much as DH wishes the same thing.) "The plan", before we found out older son had a severe, life-long disability, was for DH to go back to college once the kid was school age. That never happened because dealing with the kid's special education needs is a full-time responsibility.

We have high hopes that older son will *someday* move out of our home and be independent and self-supporting. We think he's getting what he needs to make that possible. We've done everything possible (sometimes working with and sometimes fighting with the school district and the Regional Center) to make it happen, but there's no guarantee.

When DH and I are in our 90's, we might still be caring for a son in his mid-50's, because he might not be able to care for himself. And when we're dead, his younger brother might still be caring for him. Interested in an estimate of the costs for a *life-time* of caring for our disabled son?

Posted by: SueMc | June 9, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Mpaterso - don't assume because I send my child to preschool that I don't care about taking care of her. I recognize that she has needs, like running around with a bunch of kids, that she wouldn't get at home. My first years were spent being the 3rd kid, going to my brothers' activities and grocery shopping with my mom. Do I think my mom didn't care about me because I wasn't the primary focus of her life? Not at all. Do I wish I'd gotten to go to a cozy preschool like my daughter's? Yep, I do.

But I'm really happy that my daughter knows that I'm a professional, successful woman who has a family and a career. I think it's sad that women and families that really need quality childcare in order to work to put food on their tables don't have a choice.

I'm not looking for a handout as we are lucky enough not to need it. But I am looking for a society that facilitates child-rearing rather than overcomplicating and/or dismissing it.

Posted by: kcoombs1209@verizon.net | June 9, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

$222 a week is a bargain. In Northern California, the going rate is about $1700/mo for age 0-2, with a sliding scale as ratios increase, i.e. $1200/mo for age 3-4. Quite honestly I don't know how most families can afford to pay $20k/yr for daycare. It is one reason you see so many SAHMs even among professionals as it doesn't really pay for the wife to work unless she makes $75k+ pre-tax (with 2 kids), and even then there's $0 left after you max out the 401k. Quality nannies average about $28k min (without benefits) but I have yet to see one that provides the same educational and socialization benefits as a pre-school program.

What is really needed is a national social program similar to Swedens where daycare is provided for all along the lines of our current K-12 system. But this proposal is unlikely to see the light of day, given the current unfunded ticking bombs for social security, medicare and health care proposals.

Posted by: Boraxo1 | June 11, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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