OF COURSE I THINK THE MEN SHOULD STAY HOME WITH THE BABIES. But just in case the guys are too busy and are thinking of using a little outside help, this week, New York Times business columnist David Leonhardt trumpeted the results of a 2005 economics study of Canadian child care, which concluded that �across almost everything we looked at, the policy led to much worse outcomes for kids.� Leonhardt fails to mention that the study, which was promoted by the ultra-conservative C.D. Howe Institute, was immediately and heavily challenged (PDF) by the child development experts at the University of British Columbia�s Human Early Learning Partnership, Drs. Hillel Goelman, David Kershaw and Clyde Hertzman, who objected to results on the grounds that they were inconsistent with all other analysis, included no longitudinal data about the children, and most importantly did not include data on the quality of child care provided. As these real experts note, no peer-reviewed child development journal has touched it.

Jane Waldfogel, the female expert Leonhardt invokes to provide cover against the obvious antifeminist effects of the �study,� is one of the experts cited by the authors of the study itself and does not even think children benefit from pre-kindergarten programs.

The child care program the economists attack is essentially the same as the programs in the rest of the developed world, except for the United States. (Of course, maybe the dire effects of day care in the rest of the developed world account for the general failure of other Western leaders to recognize the terrific idea of going to war in Iraq. That day care attention deficit can last a lifetime, no?)

--Linda Hirshman