Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality

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Early care and education for many children in the United States is in crisis. The period between birth and kindergarten is a critical time for child development, and socioeconomic disparities that begin early in children’s lives contribute to starkly different long-term outcomes for adults. Yet, compared to other advanced economies, high-quality child care and preschool in the United States are scarce and prohibitively expensive for many middle-class and most disadvantaged families. To what extent can early-life interventions provide these children with the opportunities that their affluent peers enjoy and contribute to reduced social inequality in the long term? Cradle to Kindergarten offers a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy that diagnoses the obstacles to accessible early education and charts a path to opportunity for all children.

The U.S. government invests less in children under the age of five than do most other developed nations. Most working families must seek private childcare, which means that children from low-income households, who would benefit most from high-quality early education, are the least likely to attend them. Existing policies, such as pre-kindergarten in some states are only partial solutions. To address these deficiencies, the authors propose to overhaul the early care system, beginning with a federal paid parental leave policy that provides both mothers and fathers with time and financial support after the birth of a child. They also advocate increased public benefits, including an expansion of the child care tax credit, and a new child care assurance program that subsidizes the cost of early care for low- and moderate-income families. They also propose that universal, high-quality early education in the states should start by age three, and a reform of the Head Start program that would include more intensive services for families living in areas of concentrated poverty and experiencing multiple adversities from the earliest point in these most disadvantaged children’s lives. They conclude with an implementation plan and contend that these reforms are attainable within a ten-year timeline.

Reducing educational and economic inequalities requires that all children have robust opportunities to learn, fully develop their capacities, and have a fair shot at success. Cradle to Kindergarten presents a blueprint for fulfilling this promise by expanding access to educational and financial resources at a critical stage of child development.
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About the author

AJAY CHAUDRY is senior fellow at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and former deputy assistant secretary for human services policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. TARYN MORRISSEY is assistant professor of public administration and policy at American University. CHRISTINA WEILAND is assistant professor of education at the University of Michigan. HIROKAZU YOSHIKAWA is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and a University Professor at New York University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Russell Sage Foundation
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Published on
Mar 1, 2017
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Pages
246
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ISBN
9781610448666
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Early Childhood (incl. Preschool & Kindergarten)
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / General
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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In this seminal volume, leading authorities strategize about how to create early childhood systems that transcend politics and economics to serve the needs of all young children. The authors offer different interpretations of the nature of early childhood systems, discuss the elements necessary to support their development, and examine how effectiveness can be assessed. With a combination of cutting-edge scholarship and practical examples of systems-building efforts taking place in the field, this book provides the foundation educators and policymakers need to take important steps toward developing more conceptually integrated approaches to early childhood care, education, and comprehensive services.

Book Features:

Provides the only up-to-date, comprehensive examination of early childhood systems.Considers new efforts to expand services, improve quality, maximize resources, and reduce inequities in early childhood.Offers a forum for the field to come together to frame a set of cogent recommendations for the future.

Contributors: Kimberly Boller, Andrew Brodsky, Charles Bruner, Dean Clifford, Julia Coffman, Jeanine Coleman, Harriet Dichter, Sangree Froelicher, Eugene García, Stacie Goffin, Jodi Hardin, Karen Hill Scott, Janice Gruendel, Marilou Hyson, Amy Kershaw, Lisa G. Klein, Denise Mauzy, Geoffrey Nagle, Karen Ponder, Ann Reale, Sue Russell, Diana Schaack, Helene M. Stebbins, Jennifer M. Stedron, Kate Tarrant, Kathy R. Thornburg, Kathryn Tout, Fasaha Traylor, Jessica Vick Whittaker

Sharon Lynn Kagan is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy and Co-Director of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University. Kristie Kauerz is the program director for PreK-3rd Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

“A veritable encyclopedia of ideas on early childhood system building.”
—Barbara T. Bowman,Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development, Erikson Institute

“The key to successful change is continued development of the frames of reference. Both editors have respected the past, listened to the implementers, and provided a context for moving forward. Like efforts to build systems of child development, which we must now link to growth in specific children we know by name, the book ends with robust examples of the work in progress. Sharon Lynn Kagan and Kristie Kauerz don't just talk about the work, they participate in the creation of change.”
—Sherri Killins, Ed.D, Commissioner, Department of Early Education and Care, Massachusetts

“This remarkable book manages to pinpoint the critical issues in the care and education of young children with up-to-date research, and all of this in a pleasurable and lively style. This needs to be read widely, and right away.”
—Deborah Meier, MacArthur award–winning public school teacher, principal, and author

“An ambitious book, unlike any other in early childhood policy . . . a must-read for all who care about kids.”
—Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita, Lesley University

“Susan Ochshorn . . . shows us how a few dedicated people, schools, agencies, and institutions have made a difference in children’s lives—a difference that is enhancing early development in this generation and those to come.”
—Samuel J. Meisels, founding executive director, Buffett Early Childhood Institute University of Nebraska

“Indispensable for policymakers, educators, and all who care about our future.”
—Riane Eisler, social scientist, attorney, and author

“Sharp eyed, warm, and lively—a delightful read on a dead-serious topic.”
—Janet Gornick, professor of political science and sociology, City University of New York

“An urgent call to action that could change the course of the nation’s future.”
—Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University

“A kaleidoscope of stories and statistics to illustrate the profound injustices we are visiting on our children and the corresponding injuries we are inflicting on ourselves. We can only hope that Squandering America’s Future will help to turn the tide.”
—Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America

In this important new book, Sharon Lynn Kagan and her colleagues focus on the more than 2 million individuals who care for and educate nearly two thirds of the American children under age 5 participating in nonparental care. Providing the most thorough synthesis of current research on the early care and education teaching workforce to date, the authors address frequently asked questions about teacher quality, teacher effectiveness, and the professional development necessary to achieve both. They conclude with a call for bold changes that would transform the early care and education workforce. Relying on empirical data and overviews of dozens of initiatives and programs that address early care and education teachers, the book provides a broad and deep analysis of issues surrounding the early care and education teaching workforce.

Book Features:

Practical—guided by research, offers common-sense recommendations to better prepare, recruit, retain, and adequately compensate early care and education teachers. Current—synthesizes hundreds of articles and studies to provide the most up-to-date review of the research. Comprehensive—places the issues in a system-based context to examine the entire early care and education teaching workforce in all settings.

“This book honors Dr. Julius Richmond’s legacy by using his successful model of social change to comprehensively examine the important early care and education workforce issues facing our nation and to offer ambitious recommendations to address them.”
—Sarah M. Greene, President and CEO, National Head Start Association

An in-depth look at the challenges undocumented immigrants face as they raise children in the U.S. There are now nearly four million children born in the United States who have undocumented immigrant parents. In the current debates around immigration reform, policymakers often view immigrants as an economic or labor market problem to be solved, but the issue has a very real human dimension. Immigrant parents without legal status are raising their citizen children under stressful work and financial conditions, with the constant threat of discovery and deportation that may narrow social contacts and limit participation in public programs that might benefit their children. Immigrants Raising Citizens offers a compelling description of the everyday experiences of these parents, their very young children, and the consequences these experiences have on their children's development. Immigrants Raising Citizens challenges conventional wisdom about undocumented immigrants, viewing them not as lawbreakers or victims, but as the parents of citizens whose adult productivity will be essential to the nation's future. The book's findings are based on data from a three-year study of 380 infants from Dominican, Mexican, Chinese, and African American families, which included in-depth interviews, in-home child assessments, and parent surveys. The book shows that undocumented parents share three sets of experiences that distinguish them from legal-status parents and may adversely influence their children's development: avoidance of programs and authorities, isolated social networks, and poor work conditions. Fearing deportation, undocumented parents often avoid accessing valuable resources that could help their children's development—such as access to public programs and agencies providing child care and food subsidies. At the same time, many of these parents are forced to interact with illegal entities such as smugglers or loan sharks out of financial necessity. Undocumented immigrants also tend to have fewer reliable social ties to assist with child care or share information on child-rearing. Compared to legal-status parents, undocumented parents experience significantly more exploitive work conditions, including long hours, inadequate pay and raises, few job benefits, and limited autonomy in job duties. These conditions can result in ongoing parental stress, economic hardship, and avoidance of center-based child care—which is directly correlated with early skill development in children. The result is poorly developed cognitive skills, recognizable in children as young as two years old, which can negatively impact their future school performance and, eventually, their job prospects. Immigrants Raising Citizens has important implications for immigration policy, labor law enforcement, and the structure of community services for immigrant families. In addition to low income and educational levels, undocumented parents experience hardships due to their status that have potentially lifelong consequences for their children. With nothing less than the future contributions of these children at stake, the book presents a rigorous and sobering argument that the price for ignoring this reality may be too high to pay.
From the beloved TV disciplinarian and bestselling author of Supernanny comes an amazingly simple five-step program to help parents tame tantrums, prevent bad behavior, and create long-term peace and stability in the home.
 
SILVER MEDAL WINNER, NATIONAL PARENTING PUBLICATIONS AWARDS

Jo Frost has always had a natural gift for connecting with kids, and for helping parents navigate milestones with practical know-how and ease. With the success of her hit TV shows Supernanny, Extreme Parental Guidance, and Family S.O.S. with Jo Frost, she’s proven her ability to expertly rein in unacceptable conduct and bring peace and stability to millions of homes worldwide. Now, in this invaluable book, she shows you how to identify and eliminate toddler tantrums, and curb behaviors in other child rearing areas. Frost’s effective five-step program for disciplined parenting addresses such challenges as
 
• Sleep: winning those nightly battles—going to bed and staying there
• Food: what to cook, trying new things, and enjoying meal times
• Play: sharing toys, defusing squabbles, developing social skills
• Learning: listening, language, and development
• Manners: teaching respect, showing examples, and positive praise
 
The key to achieving success with these Toddler Rules is Frost’s proven S.O.S. method: Step Back, Observe, Step In. Complete with troubleshooting tips for living tantrum-free, this welcome, honest, straightforward guide has all you need to help your children grow, thrive, and make family time even more precious.

Praise for Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules
 
“The indomitable Frost shares both her wisdom and experience for parents of toddlers. The five rules . . . are presented in her charming and conversational tone and provide not only a foundation for sanity but sure scaffolding to greater learning and happier parenting. . . . Frost is a favorite with many, and her engaging manner carries into her written work.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Common-sense and practical advice on raising young children by an expert in the field . . . A full chapter devoted to handling temper tantrums is an added bonus for parents in crisis mode.”—Kirkus Reviews
This inspiring memoir by the Muslim American Gold Star father and captivating DNC speaker is the story of one family’s pursuit of the American dream.

NAMED ONE OF THE FIVE BEST MEMOIRS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
 
“Moving . . . a story about family and faith, told with a poet’s sensibility . . . Khizr Khan’s book can teach all of us what real American patriotism looks like.” —The New York Times Book Review

In fewer than three hundred words, Khizr Khan electrified viewers around the world when he took the stage at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And when he offered to lend Donald Trump his own much-read and dog-eared pocket Constitution, his gesture perfectly encapsulated the feelings of millions. But who was that man, standing beside his wife, extolling the promises and virtues of the U.S. Constitution?

In this urgent and timeless immigrant story, we learn that Khizr Khan has been many things. He was the oldest of ten children born to farmers in Pakistan, and a curious and thoughtful boy who listened rapt as his grandfather recited Rumi beneath the moonlight. He was a university student who read the Declaration of Independence and was awestruck by what might be possible in life. He was a hopeful suitor, awkwardly but earnestly trying to win the heart of a woman far out of his league. He was a brilliant and diligent young family man who worked two jobs to save enough money to put himself through Harvard Law School. He was a loving father who, having instilled in his children the ideals that brought him and his wife to America—the sense of shared dignity and mutual responsibility—tragically lost his son, an Army captain killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq. He was and is a patriot, and a fierce advocate for the rights, dignities, and values enshrined in the American system.

An American Family shows us who Khizr Khan and millions of other American immigrants are, and why—especially in these tumultuous times—we must not be afraid to step forward for what we believe in when it matters most.

Praise for An American Family

“An American Family is a small but lovely immigrant’s journey, full of carefully observed details from the order in which Ghazala served tea at a university event, to the schedule of the police patrols in the Boston Public Garden where Khan briefly slept while he was in between apartments, to the description of Humayun’s headstone as a ‘slab of white marble with soft streaks the color of wood smoke.’”—Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post
In the five years following the passage of federal welfare reform law, the labor force participation of low-income, single mothers with young children climbed by more than 25 percent. With significantly more hours spent outside the home, single working mothers face a serious childcare crunch—how can they provide quality care for their children? In Putting Children First, Ajay Chaudry follows 42 low-income families in New York City over three years to illuminate the plight of these mothers and the ways in which they respond to the difficult challenge of providing for their children's material and developmental needs with limited resources. Using the words of the women themselves, Chaudry tells a startling story. Scarce subsidies, complicated bureaucracies, inflexible work schedules, and limited choices force families to piece together care arrangements that are often unstable, unreliable, inconvenient, and of limited quality. Because their wages are so low, these women are forced to rely on inexpensive caregivers who are often under-qualified to serve the developmental needs of their children. Even when these mothers find good, affordable care, it rarely lasts long because their volatile employment situations throw their needs into constant flux. The average woman in Chaudry's sample had to find five different primary caregivers in her child's first four years, while over a quarter of them needed seven or more in that time. This book lets single, low-income mothers describe the childcare arrangements they desire and the ways that options available to them fail to meet even their most basic needs. As Chaudry tracks these women through erratic childcare spells, he reveals the strategies they employ, the tremendous costs they incur and the anxiety they face when trying to ensure that their children are given proper care. Honest, powerful, and alarming, Putting Children First gives a fresh perspective on work and family for the disadvantaged. It infuses a human voice into the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of welfare reform, showing the flaws of a social policy based solely on personal responsibility without concurrent societal responsibility, and suggesting a better path for the future.
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