Early Education and Child Care for Poor Children in the 1980s
The education reform movement of the 1980s drew preschool closer to the world of public education, leading to the spread of public pre‐kindergarten programs. Research on the long‐term benefits of quality preschool for disadvantaged children put preschool education on the national agenda of K‐12 education reform and bolstered the fortunes of the Head Start program. At the same time, advocates also pushed child care back onto the federal agenda, prompting unprecedented political debate over children's policy and securing a new federal commitment to supporting child care for low‐income families. Some reformers urged bringing preschool “into the education tent,” seeing the public K‐12 system as a more secure home for early childhood education. Nevertheless, the relationship between private providers and public school educators was often marked by mistrust and competition.
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