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Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education

Critical Questions, New Imaginaries and Social Activism: A Reader


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-Two: The Costs of Putting Quality First: Neoliberalism, (Ine)quality, (Un)affordability, and (In)accessibility?



The Costs of Putting Quality First: Neoliberalism, (Ine)quality, (Un)affordability, and (In)accessibility?

Mark Nagasawa, Lacey Peters, and Beth Blue Swadener

Economic globalization and related neoliberal policies continue to be pervasive forces, impacting wider societies, their systems of care provision, and marginalized communities. Drawing from our life experiences and research, in this chapter we deconstruct the prevailing discourse of quality in the U.S. state of Arizona’s “Quality First” childcare rating program and discuss how this effort reflects neoliberal discourses and common-sense notions about what constitutes a coherent, quality-focused early childhood system. Our analysis draws upon Antonio Gramsci’s (1971) notions of common and good sense to illuminate concerns about Arizona’s burgeoning system focused on improving the quality of childcare, which currently touches only a fraction of childcare providers, families, and children in the state and in ways that may (re)produce social inequalities rather than ameliorating them as is ostensibly intended.

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