Posts of Professors Holding Babies in Class Often Go Viral. Is That the Reality of Students With Kids?

Source: Cailin Crowe, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 19, 2018

…. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Columbia College, in South Carolina, saw similar stories. In each case the professor was praised for selflessly offering to watch a student’s baby in lieu of professional child care. While the professor’s generosity was commendable, the posts also highlighted the unmet demand for child care on campuses.

The posts go viral because they illustrate a systemic problem, said Barbara Gault, vice president and executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. People understand that colleges and universities don’t always recognize the caregiving responsibilities of students who are also parents. “It’s a statement about something bigger,” she said.

More than 25 percent of college students are parents of dependent children, according to the institute. However, the idea that colleges and universities should provide child care is still a fairly new concept, Gault said. ….

…. One obvious solution is on-campus day-care centers. For example, at Monroe Community College, in New York, student parents of young children at the campus’s day-care center have on-time graduation rates three times as high as student parents who did not use the center.

But on many campuses, including the institutions where some of those feel-good viral stories have taken place, the reality for students who have kids in need of child care is much different. ….