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Critical Examinations of Quality in Early Education and Care

Regulation, Disqualification, and Erasure


Edited By Gaile S. Cannella, Michelle Salazar Pérez and I-Fang Lee

Quality rating systems discourses and practices are increasingly dominating early childhood care and education around the globe. These rating systems are constructed with the assumption that universally appropriate environments can be constructed for all those who are younger. This deterministic, ratings, and measurement oriented perspective is consistent with neoliberal discourses that privilege competition, accountability, consumer materialism, and notions such as human capital; this contemporary neoliberal condition does not support concern for the common good, democracy, equity, justice, or diversity (unless the support can facilitate new forms of capitalist gains). Ultimately, this is not a positive situation for those who are younger. The chapters in this book have two goals: (1) to provide the reader with an opportunity to engage with some of the specific problems that result from putting forward ‘quality’ as a dominant construct, and (2) to generate conversations and locations from diverse knowledges and multiple ways of being that could lead to the rethinking of quality, understandings of quality as a narrowing construct/practice, and/or going beyond (and outside of) notions of quality.
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Chapter Two: Power and the Framing of Quality Discourses in Early Childhood Education and Care: A Case Study of Arizona’s Proposition 203


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Power AND THE Framing OF Quality Discourses IN Early Childhood Education AND Care

A Case Study of Arizona’s Proposition 203


Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) systems in the United States vary in both structural form and oversight from state to state. Variances in structural arrangements allow for both greater flexibility within each system and concerns about fragmentation. Further, just as “childhood” as a construct can result in power for those who label themselves “adult” (Cannella, 1997), ECEC services and systems are often political pawns used by individuals and groups in addition to public and private sector stakeholders to generate regulations and redistributions of financial and political power (Cannella & Swadener, 2005; Smith, 2004; Cannella, 1997). As is obvious from the chapters in this book, ECEC quality is a construct now used as a disciplinary and regulatory technology that would judge and construct both corporate (as with managing and labeling others) and financial power. This chapter presents a discursive case study of the creation of ECEC quality in Arizona, a southwestern state in the United States.


In Arizona, power issues in the current ECEC system, as well as a lack of legislative commitment to funding for early childhood and 0–5 programs, led to the ← 27 | 28 → development of Proposition 203, a citizen initiative voted on and passed...

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