ERIC Number: ED478657
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Early Childhod Education: Building A Strong Foundation for the Future. Educational Issues Policy Brief.
American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.
Arguing that limited access to high-quality preschools is a major problem affecting nearly every working family, and as the numbers of working parents increase, is likely to become more acute, this policy brief offers the context and research supporting the American Federation of Teachers' recent call for universal early childhood education (ECE). The brief focuses on challenges in achieving this program, includes signs of progress, describes features of high-quality programs, and offers recommendations. The brief cites research demonstrating that high-quality ECE helps bridge the achievement gap, reduces dropout rates and delinquency, and increases economic productivity and social stability. Challenges in achieving universal preschool are the lack of school readiness, lack of access and quality, and lack of qualified and well-compensated staff. Signs of progress toward the goal of universal preschool include increasing numbers of state preschool programs and the development of the Department of Defense model preschool program. The brief notes that high-quality universal preschool is more widely available in other industrialized countries than in the United States. Best practices are described relating to staff qualifications and remuneration, teacher-child ratio and class size, curriculum, and comprehensive services. The brief concludes with eight recommendations for achieving high quality universal preschool: (1) coordinate federal, state, and local funds, resources, and programs; (2) guarantee free public preschool for all poor and at-risk children; (3) make public preschool more affordable; (4) guarantee universal full-day kindergarten; (5) implement a rigorous licensing and accreditation system; (6) develop and promote high standards for training, formal education, professional development, and compensation; (7) incorporate school readiness into ECE standards and establish linkages to the K-12 system; and (8) provide children with comprehensive services. (Contains 31 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Change Strategies, Educational Finance, Educational Quality, Outcomes of Education, Preschool Children, Preschool Curriculum, Preschool Education, Public Policy, School Readiness
American Federation of Teachers, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001-2079.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC.