ERIC Number: ED457974
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-May
Giving America's Young Children a Better Start: A Change Brief. Preschool through Postsecondary.
Kagan, Sharon Lynn
Throughout the past decade, questions of how young children should be prepared for school and how schools should best serve them have been an important part of the national agenda. This change brief defines the problem of children's school readiness and discusses what can be done to give young children better early care and education. The brief maintains that in the past, investing in young children was not a national cause, because parents were at home, early years were not thought to be significant, and early care services were costly. Currently, the majority of mothers with children younger than 3 years are employed, numerous studies highlight the importance of early experience for later development, and early care and education offers an excellent return on the investment. Promising efforts to serve young children are then described, including programs serving particular subgroups, subsidies to providers, facilities investments, enhancement of the quality of the workforce, the move toward universal preschool, and expanded state spending. The brief then highlights elements of an agenda for a comprehensive system of early care and education: (1) a vision of childhood; (2) high-quality, easily accessible programs; (3) a quality infrastructure; (4) a financing plan; and (5) a social strategy to achieve these aims. The brief concludes by asserting that achieving this agenda will require the commitment of many members of society; specific suggestions for policy consideration are delineated. (Contains 30 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Change Agents, Change Strategies, Early Childhood Education, Educational Change, Educational Policy, Public Policy, School Readiness, Young Children
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Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Metropolitan Life Foundation.; Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, PA.
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.
Note: This paper is part of a series of essays supported by the MetLife Foundation Change in Education Initiative.