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Abstract

In many schools across the United States, educators are opening their doors to children as young as three or four years of age or even younger. Although much of this attention concentrates on providing disadvantaged children with preschool education, an increasing number of schools are beginning to address the needs of children and families of all incomes by offering child care and family support services not traditionally associated with public education. This recent increase in interest among educators reflects the growing awareness that high quality early childhood education enhances school readiness and prevents later social problems. Educators acknowledge that the current inadequate supply of high quality child care services potentially harms families and children. This is of broad concern because the negative consequences of poor quality care, or the lack of care, may hurt children's performance throughout their tenure in the education system. In this Article, we discuss the School of the 21st Century-an education reform initiative designed to address the nation's child care problem while enhancing the capacity of schools to meet the educational needs of all children.

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