The Promise of Preschool: From Head Start to Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Oxford University Press
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The past 45 years have seen the emergence of education for young children as a national issue, spurred by the initiation of the Head Start program in the 1960s, efforts to create a child care system in the 1970s, and the campaign to reform K-12 schooling in the 1980s. Today, the push to make preschool the beginning of public education for all children has gained support in many parts of the country and promises to put early education policy on the national agenda. Yet questions still remain about the best ways to shape policy that will fulfill the promise of preschool. In The Promise of Preschool, Elizabeth Rose traces the history of decisions on early education made by presidents from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush, by other lawmakers, and by experts, advocates, activists, and others. Using this historical context as a lens, the book shows how the past shapes today's preschool debate and provides meaningful perspective on the policy questions that need to be addressed as we move forward: Should we provide preschool to all children, or just to the neediest? Should it be run by public schools, or incorporate private child care providers? How do we most effectively ensure educational quality and success? The Promise of Preschool is a balanced, in-depth investigation into these and other important questions and demonstrates how an understanding of the past can stimulate valuable debate about the care and education of young children today.
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About the author

Elizabeth Rose is a historian with interests in women's history, family history, education, and social policy. She is the author of A Mother's Job: The History of Day Care, 1890-1960 and has taught at Vanderbilt University, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University, as well as working on several public history and museum projects. She is currently Library Director at the Fairfield Museum and History Center in Fairfield, Connecticut.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Mar 17, 2010
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780199742370
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Early Childhood (incl. Preschool & Kindergarten)
History / United States / 20th Century
Social Science / Sociology / Marriage & Family
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Americans today live with conflicting ideas about day care. We criticize mothers who choose not to stay at home, but we pressure women on welfare to leave their children behind. We recognize the benefits of early childhood education, but do not provide it as a public right until children enter kindergarten. Our children are priceless, but we pay minimum wages to the overwhelmingly female workforce which cares for them. We are not really sure if day care is detrimental or beneficial for children, or if mothers should really be in the workforce. To better understand how we have arrived at these present-day dilemmas, Elizabeth Rose argues, we need to explore day care's past. A Mother's Job is the first book to offer such an exploration. In this case study of Philadelphia, Rose examines the different meanings of day care for families and providers from the late nineteenth century through the postwar prosperity of the 1950s. Drawing on richly detailed records created by social workers, she explores changing attitudes about motherhood, charity, and children's needs. How did day care change from a charity for poor single mothers at the turn of the century into a recognized need of ordinary families by 1960? This book traces that transformation, telling the story of day care from the changing perspectives of the families who used it and the philanthropists and social workers who administered it. We see day care through the eyes of the immigrants, whites, and blacks who relied upon day care service as well as through those of the professionals who provided it. This volume will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the roots of our current day care crisis, as well as the broader issues of education, welfare, and women's work--all issues in which the key questions of day care are enmeshed. Students of social history, women's history, welfare policy, childcare, and education will also encounter much valuable information in this well-written book.
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From the Trade Paperback edition.
The aim of the Handbook of Sociology of Education is to present the most theoretically grounded and empirically rigorous sociological analyses of schools to date. The authors are distinguished researchers in the field. Their contributions to the Handbook offer major theoretical perspec tives on the schooling process and describe significant empirical studies of schools and their effects on individuals and society. The research presented in the Handbook is built on three fundamental tenets of sociol ogy. First, the authors adopt the perspective that schools are a central institution in society. An understanding of the function of schooling in social life is enhanced by viewing schools as interrelated with other societal institutions. The study of how the context of schooling influ ences education processes is critical to an understanding of school outcomes. Rather than being determined solely by ascribed and achieved characteristics, an individual's cognitive and social development are influenced heavily by the structures and networks in which the individual is embedded. Communities, families, schools, and social groups are critical ele ments in the educative process. By viewing the school as a societal institution and highlighting the interaction between context and individual behavior, the Handbook chapters provide a broader and deeper understanding of the determinants of learning in contemporary society. The second sociological insight that guides the research in the Handbook is that the school is a social system.
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