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This study investigated the relationship between visions of human nature and progress within Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) government initiatives of 19 Western countries. Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions served as the theoretical framework guiding the research. An analytic tool was developed to measure the degree to which each country's vision of human nature tended toward an unconstrained or a constrained approach to each of eight key factors: locus of policy making, administrative auspices, funding strategy, curriculum type, evaluation of children, staff training and credentialing, quality standards and family involvement. The mean of these scores provided the country's overall Constrained/Unconstrained Tendency Score (C/UTS). These scores were then correlated to demographic characteristics and progress indicators from three categories: material, educational and familial wellbeing. The major findings of this study were threefold. First, all 19 countries' ECEC policy frameworks exhibited an ideological bias, in terms of vision of human nature. The wide range of tendency scores substantiates that, despite a common Eurocentric patrimony and cultural affinity, there are distinct and sometimes discordant ideologies underlying the policies that govern ECEC in the selected Western nations. The second set of findings establishes that these pre-possessive tendencies are, in some cases, very strongly related to both demographic characteristics and progress indicators. Neither the constrained nor the unconstrained vision consistently performed better on all of the progress indicators. Countries with constrained tendencies excelled in indicators of material well-being, as well as some indicators of educational well-being, whereas the countries with unconstrained tendencies demonstrated stronger performance on indicators of familial well-being. The third and unanticipated finding was the relationship between the degree of CUTS dispersion (Policy Approach Variance) and several key progress indicators providing further evidence that ideological assumptions are important in the creation and analysis of governmental policies, particularly as they affect ECEC.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243508867
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/2/2011
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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