Early Start

Preschool Politics in the United States

Subjects: Political Science, Public Policy, American Politics, Education
Paperback : 9780472035885, 284 pages, 1 fig, 3 tables, 6 x 9, April 2014
Hardcover : 9780472118724, 288 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables, 6 x 9, April 2013
Open Access : 9780472900787, 288 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables, May 2017

This open access version made available with the support of libraries participating in Knowledge Unlatched.
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A political history of the debate over preschool education policy in the United States

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In the United States, preschool education is characterized by the dominance of a variegated private sector and patchy, uncoordinated oversight of the public sector. Tracing the history of the American debate over preschool education, Andrew Karch argues that the current state of decentralization and fragmentation is the consequence of a chain of reactions and counterreactions to policy decisions dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when preschool advocates did not achieve their vision for a comprehensive national program but did manage to foster initiatives at both the state and national levels. Over time, beneficiaries of these initiatives and officials with jurisdiction over preschool education have become ardent defenders of the status quo. Today, advocates of greater government involvement must take on a diverse and entrenched set of constituencies resistant to policy change. 

In his close analysis of the politics of preschool education, Karch demonstrates how to apply the concepts of policy feedback, critical junctures, and venue shopping to the study of social policy.

Andrew Karch is Arleen C. Carlson Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota.

Winner: American Library Association (ALA) Choice Outstanding Academic Title 

- ALA Choice Outstanding Academic Title

"Early Start is an important addition to the growing library of histories of
preschool initiatives in the USA."
Journal of Children and Poverty

- Journal of Children and Poverty

"the book... provides a useful, broad, and well-informed account of preschool politics; it is an essential addition to an academic library in several fields."

- B. Justice