I wrote my first post for Lenore Skenazy’s new foundation Let Grow:
I’m a proud mom, this week.
We were almost home from school the other day when my 9-year-old daughter looked out the car window and spied a boy sitting on the stoop of his house. I suggested that she might want to walk around the corner and say hello when we got home.
Instead of going herself, she took her two sisters – 10 and 7 — with her. Several minutes had passed when the 10-year-old poked her head through the back door asking if they had permission to ring the doorbell of the stranger’s house since the boy was no longer outside. My husband and I agreed, suggesting that they invite the boy outside to play.
About 10 minutes after that the girls were back — with the boy in tow. The four of them had ridden their scooters around and ended up at our place. They all played in the back until it started to rain and the boy scootered home….
Read the rest at Let Grow
My interview with Nick Gillespie was such fun! We talk about Satanism, swaddling and why the phrase “protecting the children” is really code for the worst helicopter parent in America.
The very smart economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth has reviewed No Child Left Alone for MarketWatch. The whole review is here.
She opens with high praise:
As presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton grapple with the high cost of child care, there’s no better time to read Abby W. Schachter’s new book, “No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting,” published by Encounter Books. Guaranteed to raise your blood pressure, it describes how federal and state regulations affect all aspects of child rearing, from birth to high school graduation.
Furchtgott-Roth focuses on the specific problem of childcare:
Day-care centers run by Head Start have to follow rules issued by the Department of Agriculture, including requirements to provide foods such as cow’s milk, even if parents prefer that children not drink cow’s milk.
Day-care providers in Pennsylvania, Schachter’s home state, are required to throw out uneaten food and wash out containers in case the child might consume hazardous material later on.
Just as Obamacare drove up the price of health care, government regulation is driving up the price of day care and school lunches.
Over at Fox News Opinion you can enjoy my take on what parents want to improve their kids’ schools: More recess.
The parents who battled their local district bureaucrats, school administrators and teachers for more free play time for their kids are doing it because they have to. The chance for kids to play, frolic and just have fun with other kids at school is under extreme pressure from education bureaucrats who think that risk avoidance and regimentation are the things children most need to learn about life.
Read the whole thing here
It was a pleasure talking to Mary Kissel at Opinion Journal about No Child Left Alone: Getting the government out of parenting.
Let’s go to the video!
There’s a lot to learn from this interview between my friend Rod Dreher and the author of “Hillbilly Elegy” J. D. Vance. And much that relates to issues I raise in No Child Left Alone. But one point especially I wanted to highlight and that’s this quote from Vance about the problem the left — in particular — has about trying to use the government to solve certain societal challenges:
But there’s this weird refusal to deal with the poor as moral agents in their own right. In some cases, the best that public policy can do is help people make better choices, or expose them to better influences through better family policy
This is exactly correct and the Child Welfare system is especially at fault here because it doesn’t have a family policy at all. The basic approach of child protection agencies is to figuratively and physically divorce children from their families because the children are supposed to have independent rights that are separate and distinct from their parents. As a result, the family is not treated as a whole unit and solutions are imposed that include removing children from their parents for the “crime” of obesity, for example, even when most often the whole family may be suffering from the same problem. These are complicated issues, but to misunderstand the context is to guarantee a terrible result to most interventions.
As I explain:
Child-welfare workers have a very different mission if they view families as homogeneous units (irrespective of structure) with rights and responsibilities. If families are viewed through the more segmented prism—divided between the alleged power inequity between members—then child protection naturally becomes kids versus parents. After years of working in child welfare, NYU Law professor Martin Guggenheim came to the [following] conclusion: ‘Child welfare’s purpose in the latter part of the twentieth century was dramatically narrowed to protecting children from harm inflicted upon them by their parents.’ Note his terminology: Child welfare’s purpose is protecting kids from their parents.
Does the government properly calculate risk when it considers whether consumer products are safe? I discuss at the Wall Street Journal in light of huge IKEA dresser recall and conclude:
“No government agency—no matter how well-staffed, efficiently run or well-intentioned—can stop all harm from coming to all children at all times.”