Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version

November 2005


Student Research Conference keynote address, University of Nebraska College of Education and Human Sciences, November 19, 2005.


Lessons from around the world; What does it matter about early childhood education? Why the controversy about public support for early childhood education? What process or system should be used to determine what works in early education? Can the same process be used to improve services? What is the role of government? Alternatives: 1. Consumers should determine… (What happens when private choices drive the market for early childhood services?) Observed quality of care in four Midwestern states; Parent data: “All things considered, how would you grade the quality of the care your child is receiving from his/her current caregiver?” Role of government What is a Quality Rating System? Ten states have implemented statewide systems (e.g. Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina) Findings 2. Objective science should determine… Firm findings from empirical research 3. Something else is needed: Some differences between Italian and American models. Teacher action research (and documentation) from a Reggio-inspired preschool in South Korea by Misuk Kim. Teacher Action Research at the Ruth Staples CDL. Can we now answer our opening questions? What process or system should be used to determine what is best for young children? Can the same process be used to improve the quality of services?
Conclusions: The free market does not work well to determine quality in early education and care; Licensing, accreditation, and quality rating systems can help improve the market; Empirical research is useful for measuring what works; Teacher action research (reflective practice) is necessary for fostering continuous quality improvement. The tower of quality.