"The political push to institutionalize early education into a one-size-fits-all program is the real target of this bookand it hits the target in the bulls-eye. There is solid criticism and analyses here that requires airing, especially at a time when researchers , policy makers, and early educators are drawing public attention to the present status of our youngest children. A must read. Eugene E. Garcia, Vice President, Arizona State University
"Standardized Childhood is a must-read book for everyone who cares about early education in America today. Bruce Fuller takes on the thorny issues in the field and addresses them head-on. Should pre-K programs be universal? Who should pay for them? And, finally, what will help equalize access to preschool? The result is a refreshing and penetrating look at the condition of preschool in this country." Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
"A frank, provocative critique of the pre-K movement. The basic question is not whether we should have a national policy in regards to pre-kindergarten education, but what should that policy look like. No other question in education policy is as timely and has the potential for such a long lasting, transformative impact on public schooling today."Cynthia García Coll, Brown University
"Drawing from both his own team's research and the research of others, as well as from the accounts of teachers, community activists, and political leaders, [Fuller] offers insights into the complex array of concerns that drive [universal pre-kindergarten] proponents as well as those who oppose the movement. Readers from either camp will find the author's research findings enlightening."Library Journal
From the Inside Flap
Sociologist Bruce Fuller traveled the country—sitting in preschool classrooms, delving into the birth of universal preschool in California and Oklahoma, and interviewing this robust movement’s eager leaders—to understand the ideologies of childhood and the raw political forces at play. He details how these new progressives earnestly seek to extend the rigors of public schooling down into the lives of very young children. Fuller then illuminates the stiff resistance by some children’s activists, ethnic leaders, and conservatives, who hold less trust in government solutions and more faith in nonprofits and local groups in contributing to the upbringing of young children.
The call for universal preschool is a new front in the culture wars, raising sharp questions about American families, cultural diversity, and the appropriate role of the state in the lives of our young children. How are state governments variably shaping universal preschool? Why does the state want to standardize childhood? Which children benefit from quality preschool? Will civic organizations grow weak as the state comes to run and regulate early education?
Drawing on the voices of teachers, community activists, and political leaders actively shaping this debate,Standardized Childhood shows why the universal preschool movement is attracting such robust support—and strident opposition—nationwide.