The goal of this resource was to develop a tool that would help advocates around the country &emdash; at the local, state, and national level in the U.S. &emdash; talk about early childhood education more effectively, regardless of the specific policy they are working on at the moment. From the onset of The Berkeley Media Studies Group's work in child care, they noticed a great deal of discord and disagreement among advocates about what the focus should be. This book does not set out to resolve differences among advocates on policy priorities. Instead, it offers advocates arguments to make, and value statements to support those arguments, for a variety of early care and education policy goals. The group believes that young children, their families, and the community at large will benefit if all early childhood education advocates get better at making their case, whether it's for improving teachers' salaries, establishing paid family leave, creating standards for quality, increasing tax credits, shifting monies in state budgets, changing local zoning laws, or any number of policies to increase public expenditures for early childhood education programs.
This book is filled with substantive things to say about various early childhood education policies, expressed in ways designed to evoke the values that illustrate interconnections in the American society. This style contrasts with the emphasis on personal responsibility and individualism that permeates much of the nation's current political discussion. The authors believe that personal responsibility is extremely important &emdash; a pillar of society &emdash; but not the only common value. The values that connect children and their families to their neighborhoods and society at large seem to get lost in the rhetorical shuffle. In the context of the arguments in support of early childhood education, an effort has been made to articulate the values of interconnectedness.