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Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education

Critical Questions, New Imaginaries and Social Activism: A Reader

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Edited By Marianne N. Bloch, Beth Blue Swadener and Gaile S. Cannella

Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education is a foundational text, which presents contemporary theories and debates about early education and child care in many nations. The authors selected are leading contributors in discussions about critical early childhood studies over the past twenty years; the editors are long-time scholars in the reconceptualizing early childhood movement. Audiences include students in graduate courses focused on early childhood and primary education, critical cultural studies of childhood, critical curriculum studies and critical theories that have been contested and debated and drawn from over the course of two decades.
The book is filled with recent scholarship by leading authors in the reconceptualization and rethinking of childhood studies and early childhood fields, who discuss foundational debates, new imaginaries in theory and practice and activist scholarship. A must-read for graduate students and professionals interested in beginning or continuing critical interrogations of current early childhood policy and reforms globally.
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Chapter Twenty-One: None for You: Children’s Capabilities and Rights in Profoundly Unequal Times

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TWENTY-ONE

None for You: Children’s Capabilities and Rights in Profoundly Unequal Times

Valerie Polakow

As I look back at the past 30 years during which progressive early childhood educators, critical reconceptualists, advocates, and allies have attempted to reframe early childhood policies and practices, several moments stand out. There has been a critical interrogation of the bureaucratization of childhood, of at-risk deficit categories, of developmentally appropriate practice, of voice and agency, of race and gender, of working conditions of child care workers, of deconstructing and decolonizing discourses of care, and, more recently, of neoliberalism and its impacts—all have engendered prolific forms of scholarship. Yet the crisis of child poverty that reemerged during the Reagan years in the 1980s, and the intersectionality of child poverty and the acute deficit of childcare have not been urgent priority agendas addressed by activists and critical scholars. More recently, deconstructing neoliberal power regimes, the corporatization of accountability, the emphasis on standardized testing, and the impact of privatization and deregulation on early education and schooling have gained far more traction as is evidenced by the vast array of publications and presentations on these topics.

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