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'The greatest of equalisers': a critical review of international organisations views on early childhood care and education

Christian Morabito (UGent) , Michel Vandenbroeck (UGent) and Rudi Roose (UGent)
(2013) JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY. 42(3). p.451-467
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Abstract
There is a large consensus among international organisations (e.g., United Nations and the World Bank) in considering Early Childhood Care and Education a prominent policy to equalise opportunities. Moreover, it is common opinion that interventions in early childhood aiming at equalising ‘opportunities’ rather than ‘outcomes’ will overcome political dissent. These two claims draw upon a particular interpretation of the work of contemporary egalitarian philosophers, as well as a number of studies in both developed and developing countries, finding higher benefits for disadvantaged children. Despite the tradition of analysing welfare provision from an equality perspective, the shift towards early childhood education as an equality policy has not yet fully been analysed. We critically examine the consensus advocated by international organisations regarding Early Childhood Care and Education as key to ‘levelling the playing field’ and suggest that the first claim (early childhood as greatest equaliser) should be considered with caution. We also argue that the alleged consensus on this claim may lead to a depoliticisation of social policy.
Keywords
YOUNG-CHILDREN, INCOME, WELFARE, LATIN-AMERICA, NEW-LABOR, WOMEN, POLICY, OPPORTUNITY, INEQUALITY

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MLA
Morabito, Christian, et al. “‘The Greatest of Equalisers’: A Critical Review of International Organisations Views on Early Childhood Care and Education.” JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY, edited by T Burchardt and H Dean, vol. 42, no. 3, 2013, pp. 451–67, doi:10.1017/S0047279413000214.
APA
Morabito, C., Vandenbroeck, M., & Roose, R. (2013). “The greatest of equalisers”: a critical review of international organisations views on early childhood care and education. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY, 42(3), 451–467. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279413000214
Chicago author-date
Morabito, Christian, Michel Vandenbroeck, and Rudi Roose. 2013. “‘The Greatest of Equalisers’: A Critical Review of International Organisations Views on Early Childhood Care and Education.” Edited by T Burchardt and H Dean. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY 42 (3): 451–67. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279413000214.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Morabito, Christian, Michel Vandenbroeck, and Rudi Roose. 2013. “‘The Greatest of Equalisers’: A Critical Review of International Organisations Views on Early Childhood Care and Education.” Ed by. T Burchardt and H Dean. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY 42 (3): 451–467. doi:10.1017/S0047279413000214.
Vancouver
1.
Morabito C, Vandenbroeck M, Roose R. “The greatest of equalisers”: a critical review of international organisations views on early childhood care and education. Burchardt T, Dean H, editors. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY. 2013;42(3):451–67.
IEEE
[1]
C. Morabito, M. Vandenbroeck, and R. Roose, “‘The greatest of equalisers’: a critical review of international organisations views on early childhood care and education,” JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 451–467, 2013.
@article{3230191,
  abstract     = {{There is a large consensus among international organisations (e.g., United Nations and the World Bank) in considering Early Childhood Care and Education a prominent policy to equalise opportunities. Moreover, it is common opinion that interventions in early childhood aiming at equalising ‘opportunities’ rather than ‘outcomes’ will overcome political dissent. These two claims draw upon a particular interpretation of the work of contemporary egalitarian philosophers, as well as a number of studies in both developed and developing countries, finding higher benefits for disadvantaged children. Despite the tradition of analysing welfare provision from an equality perspective, the shift towards early childhood education as an equality policy has not yet fully been analysed. We critically examine the consensus advocated by international organisations regarding Early Childhood Care and Education as key to ‘levelling the playing field’ and suggest that the first claim (early childhood as greatest equaliser) should be considered with caution. We also argue that the alleged consensus on this claim may lead to a depoliticisation of social policy.}},
  author       = {{Morabito, Christian and Vandenbroeck, Michel and Roose, Rudi}},
  editor       = {{Burchardt, T and Dean, H}},
  issn         = {{0047-2794}},
  journal      = {{JOURNAL OF SOCIAL POLICY}},
  keywords     = {{YOUNG-CHILDREN,INCOME,WELFARE,LATIN-AMERICA,NEW-LABOR,WOMEN,POLICY,OPPORTUNITY,INEQUALITY}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{3}},
  pages        = {{451--467}},
  title        = {{'The greatest of equalisers': a critical review of international organisations views on early childhood care and education}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047279413000214}},
  volume       = {{42}},
  year         = {{2013}},
}

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