Policymakers predominantly represent Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) as an investment in children’s human capital development. Despite the dominance of this policy discourse, limited research explores how it operates as a policymaking strategy or compares the perspectives of policymakers, children, parents, and educators regarding ECEC. This dissertation research addresses this gap through a Comparative Case Study of ECEC in Minnesota, where investment discourse is pervasive.
A Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is applied to Minnesota ECEC policy texts to explore how policy actors privilege investment discourse in legitmating ECEC reform. Through this CDA assumptions regarding children's subjectivity that underlie Minnesota policy actors' use of investment discourse are highlighted. Critical Race Theory is applied to explore how Minnesota ECEC policy actors' engagement of investment discourse reinforces racist assumptions regarding inequality in education.