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Governance of Early Care and Education Politics and Policy in France and Sweden Michelle J. Neuman, Ph.D. Columbia University EECERA Conference, Prague.

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Presentation on theme: "Governance of Early Care and Education Politics and Policy in France and Sweden Michelle J. Neuman, Ph.D. Columbia University EECERA Conference, Prague."— Presentation transcript:

1 Governance of Early Care and Education Politics and Policy in France and Sweden Michelle J. Neuman, Ph.D. Columbia University EECERA Conference, Prague – 31 August, 2007 Research funding from: German Marshall Fund of the U.S., American-Scandinavian Foundation, Council for European Studies/Florence Gould Foundation, Teachers College Office for Policy Research, and Columbia University Public Policy Consortium.

2 2 Rationale for the Study Why governance of ECE? Why France and Sweden? Why ?

3 3 Three Institutional Dimensions of ECE Governance ECE Governance Administrative integration PrivatizationDecentralization

4 4 Case Selection Case study country Administrative integration PrivatizationDecentralization FRANCE Divided auspices  education: 2-6 yrs  health/social: 0-3 yrs Medium Education: Low Care: High SWEDEN Unified auspices  education: 0-7 yrs LowMedium

5 5 Research Questions 1. How does the national context influence ECE governance? 2. Which actors and ideas (politics) benefit under different institutional arrangements? 3. What are the consequences for ECE policy outcomes (quality, access, coherence)?

6 6 Conceptual Framework: Governance of Early Care & Education ECE Politics ECE GovernanceNational ContextECE Policy Outcomes Note: Numbers refer to research questions

7 7 Research Design Data collection: Fieldwork - Archival and document research - Semi-structured interviews Comparative, qualitative case study analysis  Today: Focus on decentralization findings

8 (De)centralization of ECE in France and Sweden: Origins and Process

9 9 Conceptual Framework: Decentralization of ECE ECE Politics DecentralizationNational ContextECE Policy Outcomes

10 10 France: Limited and Incremental Institutional Change in Ed. System Strong Republican values include centralization Since 19 th century, preschool part of education system Early 1980s, Socialists initiated ed. decentralization 1989 – legal right to preschool; universal coverage 3-5 Since 1990, few administrative reforms to preschools

11 11 France: Universal Coverage of 3-5s in Preschools by 1990 Source: OECD

12 12 France: Decentralization and Diversification for Infants-toddlers Child care linked to health and social policy domains Expansion of crèches = national priority 1986 – Decentralized child care administration No clear legal responsibility for child care 1988 – “childhood contracts” provide incentives to local authorities to expand and improve provision

13 13 France: Paradox of “Free Choice” Since 1990s – rhetoric of “free choice” Focus on supporting family day care and nannies More generous long paid parental leave policies Concern with unemployment underlies policy Recent reforms seek to expand private provision

14 14 France: Most Children under 3 cared for by Parents or a Family Day Care Provider Drees: 2002

15 15 France: Geographic Disparities in Crèches

16 16 Sweden: “Educare” Approach Early childhood – key part of welfare state 1970s and 80s – Expansion of local child care, centralized funding, and regulations Non-socialist government Rising unemployment & large budget deficits Supported private for-profit providers Created a “care” allowance instead of formal services

17 17 Sweden: Shift to Goal-Governing 1991 – Local Government Act = shift from central rules to “goal governing” of ECE Earmarked funds  block grants to municipalities 1995 – legal requirement for municipalities to provide child care to 1-6 year olds with working parents Local governments facing budget crunch responded with higher fees and lower quality standards

18 18 Sweden: Recentralization? Return of Social Democrats to government Improved economy, less unemployment – “Lifelong learning” reforms  Shift all ECE to Ministry of Education  Preschool curriculum – pedagogical steering  Universal preschool for 4 and 5 year olds  Maximum fee to rectify disparities in local fees Targeted funding to steer decentralized system

19 19 Sweden: Increasing Proportion of Children Enrolled in Preschool since mid-1970s

20 Comparative Analysis Consequences for policy and politics

21 21 Consequences of Decentralization for Access Geographical disparities - less in Sweden than in France Greater parent “choice”, but may not benefit children Family day care: increase in France decrease in Sweden

22 22 Sweden: More Families Choosing Preschool Over Family Day Care, 1975–2003 Source: Skolverket

23 23 France: Rising Numbers of Authorized and Employed Family Day Care Providers Source: DREES, 2003

24 24 Consequences of Decentralization for Quality Deregulation = larger group sizes and child-staff ratios in Sweden Targeted financial incentives support can quality improvement Deregulation

25 25 Consequences of Decentralization for Coherence Some improved local coordination across ECE services More challenging in France because of different levels of responsibility – 2 strong sectors Lack of coherence between individual and group child care raises concerns about child well-being

26 26 Implications 1. Decentralization raises serious equity concerns 2. Local politics and resources determine services available to families 3. Shifts political focus to new actors and institutions 4. Freedom and democracy = the need for local capacity 5. National steering & targeted funding reduce inequities Institutional history, economic context, and ideology play roles  France and Sweden on different paths


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