chapter  3
16 Pages

Public Policy and Workforce in Early Childhood Education

ByW. Steven Barnett, Shannon Riley-Ayers

The fault lines that defi ne early childhood education policy and divide the early childhood education fi eld have been evident in the United States for hundreds of years (Beatty, 1997). Should it be a public or private responsibility? Should it be part of the public schools? Is the primary goal child care or education? Should programs focus on children in poverty or serve all children? Can states be trusted to administer federally funded programs? Ambivalence and differences of opinion about the answers to these questions have shaped early childhood policy from colonial times and continue to do so today (Beatty, 1997; Cahan, 1989; Karch, 2013). As policy has evolved, it has intensifi ed the divisions within the fi eld, perhaps making them more diffi cult to resolve. As a result, there is no single early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce. Instead, there are three (or four) distinct workforces.