episode 2: once upon a time - The Raising of America

episode 2: once upon a time - The Raising of America

EPISODE 2: ONCE UPON A TIME WHEN CHILDCARE FOR ALL WASN’T JUST A FAIRYTALE Discussion Guide raisingofamerica.org EPISODE 2: ONCE UPON A TIME Disc...

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EPISODE 2: ONCE UPON A TIME

WHEN CHILDCARE FOR ALL WASN’T JUST A FAIRYTALE

Discussion Guide

raisingofamerica.org

EPISODE 2: ONCE UPON A TIME Discussion Guide 1.0

The Raising of America:

Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation The Raising of America is an ambitious documentary series and public engagement campaign that seeks to reframe the way we look at early child health and development. It illustrates how a strong start for all our kids leads not only to better individual life course outcomes (learning, earning and physical and mental health) but also to a healthier, safer, better educated, more prosperous and equitable nation. Learn more about each episode in the series at raisingofamerica.org: • • • • •

Ep 1: The Raising of America Ep 2: Once Upon a Time Ep 3: Are We Crazy About Our Kids? Ep 4: Wounded Places Ep 5: DNA is Not Destiny

View our hundreds of partner organizations at raisingofamerica.org/partners and join the campaign (raisingofamerica.org/join-campaign) to change the conversation about what we can—and should—do to give all our kids a strong start.

This guide was developed by Faith Rogow, PhD, Insighters Education Consulting with input from

Larry Adelman and Rachel Poulain at California Newsreel. Shannon K’doah Range and Alisha Saville produced the design.

Content from this guide may be reproduced without permission provided the following credit is included: “Taken from THE RAISING OF AMERICA Discussion Guide. Copyright © 2015 California Newsreel.”

Copyright © 2015 California Newsreel

In This Guide A) ABOUT THE FILM Synopsis ..................................................................................................... 1 Themes & Film Chapters .......................................................................... 3 Film Participants ....................................................................................... 4

B) DISCUSSING THE FILM 1. Facilitating the Discussion ..................................................................... 5 2. Pre-Viewing Activity ................................................................................ 6 3. Post-Viewing Discussions ...................................................................... 8 a) Opening Prompts ..................................................................... 8 b) Comprehension Check-ins ....................................................... 9 c) Personal vs. Collective Responsibility ....................................... 10 d) Economics ................................................................................ 13 e) Politics ...................................................................................... 15 f ) Family Values ............................................................................ 20 g) Summing Up ............................................................................ 23 4. Moving to Action .................................................................................. 24

C) BACKGROUND & RESOURCES The Comprehensive Child Development Act of 1971 (S-1512) ............... 26 What Does “Quality” Mean? ..................................................................... 27 Statistics Related to the Film .................................................................... 29 Resources on Childcare in the U.S. ............................................................ 31

A

ABOUT THE FILM

Once Upon a Time SYNOPSIS Episode 2: Once Upon a Time (32 minutes) is part of the documentary series The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation. This episode asks:

How did a country that says it cares about its youngest children and families end up with a system that neglects the needs of so many of them? Once Upon a Time helps viewers understand why the United States never adopted early childhood initiatives such as universal childcare, programs which are taken for granted in most other rich nations. In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act (CCDA) with a bipartisan majority. The bill guaranteed to any parent who wanted it, highquality childcare and early education from birth to age five, universal medical care, home visiting and other support services for families with young children. The episode reveals why the CCDA never became law, despite its popular support. The CCDA grew out of the Civil Rights movement and President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and was part of his Great Society vision to spread opportunity to those historically excluded. Sponsors of the legislation had reason to be optimistic. Their position was backed by solid evidence that quality early care would help children and their parents and even pay for itself. The initiative enjoyed broad bipartisan support. And the country’s successful creation of a network of childcare centers during World War II (for children whose mothers’ labor was needed in American factories) had already proven that we were capable.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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ABOUT THE FILM

President Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign included promises to improve the lives of all of America’s youngest children, so backers were stunned by his 11th hour veto of the CCDA. Once Upon a Time reveals how an elite group of conservatives viewed the defeat of the CCDA as a watershed possibility and brought pressure on President Nixon to veto the bill. For conservatives, the veto marked an initial victory in what would become a radical shift away from using government as a tool to enable more Americans to share in the prosperity of our economy. Relying on wordsmithing by young White House speechwriter Patrick Buchanan, President Nixon’s veto message rejected the CCDA not just because of its cost but on ideological grounds as government intrusion on the family—a government takeover of child rearing akin to so-called Sovietstyle “communal child-rearing.” They also argued that parents who make the “right choices” by being responsible and working hard do not need help from the government anyway, so the CCDA was unnecessary. Nixon’s veto was the first time ‘family values’ were invoked to undermine family friendly legislation. The veto also marked a critical inflection point from our movement towards a more inclusive nation to the “you’re-on-your own” society that characterizes much social policy today. This “you’re-on-your-own” vision of society—and its de-legitimation of government action on behalf of all citizens—continues to resonate in current political, budget, and policy debates. Yet in 1971 we came achingly close to providing quality early care and preschool and other services for all American young children. By helping viewers understand the roots of the tensions between those who embrace a vision of a “we’re in it together” society and those who believe that children’s chances should be shaped primarily by the resources of individual families, Once Upon a Time allows viewers to learn how we got here while communicating a sense of possibility and hope for the future.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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ABOUT THE FILM

THEMES Once Upon a Time is appropriate for audiences interested in: 1960s

Head Start

Childcare, preschool and early education

President Richard Nixon

American individualism Child development Civil rights

Collective responsibility Conservative politics

Political science

Rosie the Riveter

Social movements Social services

U.S. 20th century history

Early childhood policy

U.S. political history

Government

Women’s movement

Family-work life balance Great Society programs

Walter Mondale War on Poverty

FILM CHAPTERS 1.

00:00 – Prologue: The State of U.S. Childcare

2.

04:09 – Once Upon a Time: The Lanham Act

3.

06:13 – Towards a More Inclusive America

4.

09:05 – The Birth of Universal Childcare

5.

13:49 – A Bill Whose Time Has Come?

6.

16:15 – Roots of the Opposition

7.

18:32 - What the Legislation Covered

8.

20:20 - The Opposition Plots Power

9.

24:39 - America Changes Course

10. 29:10 - The Military Gets Smart

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DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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ABOUT THE FILM

FILM PARTICIPANTS In order of appearance Maria Langley Director, Browne Child Development Center, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base Clare Sanford Early Childhood Education Enrollment & Nutrition Manager, YWCA of Minneapolis Children’s Centers Laura Lovett Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Founding Editor, Journal of the History of Children and Youth Marian Wright Edelman President, Children’s Defense Fund Robert Self Professor of History, Brown University Author, All in the Family Sid Johnson Legislative Aide to Senator Mondale 1969-1976

Walter Mondale Senator from Minnesota (D) U.S. Vice President to President Carter, 1977-1981 Edward Zigler Director, Office of Child Development Chief, U.S. Children’s Bureau, 1970-1972 Phyllis Schlafly Founder & President, Eagle Forum Patrick Buchanan White House Advisor, Nixon Administration 1969-1974 Brigadier General Vincent Coglianese Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base ALSO REFERENCED John Brademas Congressman from Indiana (D), 1959-1981 Richard Nixon U.S. President, 1969-1974

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DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

1. Facilitating the Discussion A successful film screening allows participants to: • • • • •

Watch purposefully and critically Reflect on what they’ve seen Consider new information and how it affirms/conflicts with preconceived ideas Bring viewers’ attention back to their own situation and how they might tackle inequities Learn from others in the room

Your job as facilitator is not to lecture but to encourage participation and keep the discussion focused and flowing. Be prepared to accept reactions to the film without judgment. If people feel that you are fishing for particular opinions, they are less likely to engage. At the same time, participants will look to you to keep the discussion from wandering. If necessary, gently guide discussants to consider how their personal experiences or concerns reflect larger systems, structures and policies. Prior to the discussion, be sure to preview the film yourself so you won’t be processing your own reactions to the issues while trying to guide the group. You can also preview the transcript of the episode at www.raisingofamerica.org/once-upon-time. Finally, plan in advance how you will deal with logistical issues, including strategies to ensure that everyone who wishes to speak has an opportunity to be heard.

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

2. Pre-Viewing Activity Before you show the film to your audience, you can get them thinking about the issues involved. You can use the “Agree or Disagree?” activity on the following page to start a pre-viewing conversation and get your audience engaged. There are several options for soliciting responses to this activity: •

Distribute a handout and invite people to write down answers



Create an agree/disagree line on the floor and ask people to physically move to the spot on the line that indicates their view as you read aloud one or more of the statements



Read aloud one or more of the statements and give people a moment to think about what their response is

If time allows, you might invite people to pair-and-share selected responses and reasoning for their positions, or discuss in small groups.

(cont. ⇢ )

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AGREE OR DISAGREE? On a scale of 1-10, do you agree or disagree with these statements? (1 =”don’t agree at all, not even a little bit”; 10 =“wholeheartedly agree”) •

People who can’t afford to raise children shouldn’t have them.



Anyone in the U.S. who works hard and makes responsible choices can improve their economic status without government help.



Government assistance to families produces greater payoffs than government programs or policies designed to create a favorable investment climate for Wall Street.



It’s easier today for most young families to provide for their babies’ and children’s well-being than it was 60 or 70 years ago.



Some income inequality is desirable, but when the gap grows too large, it threatens American democracy.



Children are our future, so government has a responsibility to invest in their well-being.



Social programs designed to combat poverty are more likely to instill a sense of dependence on government than to help people improve their economic situation.



The Constitution’s guarantee of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” means that individual families should be able to raise their children without any government interference.



Pre-K should be universally available at no charge to all children, just as K-12 is now.



Mothers (or fathers) should stay home and take care of their young children until they enter kindergarten.

As you view the film, try to determine how the filmmaker would respond to these statements and make note of the evidence that backs up the film’s conclusions.

DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

3. Post-Viewing Discussions The questions and prompts in this section are designed to help a wide range of audiences understand, analyze, explore and reflect on what they’ve seen, as well as on what they hear from others in the room. There is no need to use all the questions or use them in any particular order. Choose those that best meet the needs of your group.

A) OPENING PROMPTS 1. If a friend asked you what this film was about, what would you say? 2. Name three things from the film: one that surprised you, one that frustrated you, and one that inspired you. How did the things you named compare to the things named by others in the room? How would you account for the similarities and differences? 3. Jot down a “tweet” describing the film’s most important messages. ÐÐ

After people have had a minute or two to compose their tweet, invite volunteers to share what they wrote (and, if they wish, to send the tweet). Discuss whether there is a consensus about what the main message is or why people may have had different ideas about the main message.

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

B) COMPREHENSION CHECK-INS 1. What was the Comprehensive Child Development Act (also known as the Mondale-Brademas bill)? Why didn’t it become law? 2. What was the Lanham Act (WWII) and what were the circumstances that led to its passage—and to the dismantling of its programs? 3. What was President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society vision and why did he and others believe that the programs passed by Congress were an effective way to combat poverty? 4. What factors led to an increase in women’s workforce participation in the 1970s and forward? 5. What is the difference between “custodial care” and “quality care”? 6. Why did President Nixon veto a bill which had broad popular support, including members of his own administration?

TABLE OF CONTENTS DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

C) PERSONAL VS. COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY 1. Clare Sanford identifies the essence of the conflicts over government support for child development services saying, “We want to believe that every individual is able to pull themselves up with their own boot straps and there’s a sense that providing for children and families in some ways is a form of government interference instead of support for families and children.” •

Do you agree with the belief that everyone is “able to pull themselves up with their own bootstraps?” Why or why not?



How does this attitude relate to the belief that the United States is a meritocracy?



What are the origins of the attitude that government action is interference in the family?



Do you agree with this belief about government? Why or why not?



Who benefits most from the notion that government programs for children and families are “interference”? What other sectors of society have used that argument to their benefit?



How can populations and institutions benefit from affordable high-quality childcare and early education for all?

(cont. ⇢ )

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

C) PERSONAL VS. COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY (CONT.) 2. Historian Robert Self describes the Great Society programs of the 1960s growing out of a sense of “collective responsibility for the health and well-being of all families.” •

Where do you see evidence of that sense of “collective responsibility” today?



Why, in some circles, is the notion that we are responsible for one another seemingly out of fashion or even criticized as “wealth redistribution”?



What’s changed since the 1960s that influences our sense of our relationship to other Americans?

3. Describing the inspiration for introducing the CCDA, then-Senator Walter Mondale tells the story of a local boy who was hit and killed by a truck while rushing back to school after sharing half his lunch with his younger brother because mom had to work and there was no affordable childcare available. He asks, “How could this happen in the richest country in the world?” •

What was his answer? What would your answer be?



How is this situation repeating in today’s United States?

(cont. ⇢ )

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© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

C) PERSONAL VS. COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY (CONT.) 4. President of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, describes the civil rights movement as being about children. “Parents went and sacrificed everything in order to get their children a better life and a fair chance to realize their individual potential.” •

Why did racial minorities need government support in the 1960s and 70s in order to give their children a “fair chance”?



Why wasn’t passage of the Civil Rights Act, by itself, enough to equal the playing field for children who weren’t white?

5. Opponents of the CCDA and other government programs to help the poor or working families often claim they will undercut “personal responsibility.” •

What do you think?



Why is the “personal responsibility” argument used against benefits that help low income people but not to benefits that help businesses and the wealthy, such as tax preferences, home mortgage deductions for second homes, bank bailouts, offshore tax havens, or even Social Security and Medicare?

6. There is a huge range in the quality of child development services offered by childcare centers. •

How would you define quality?



How would you know what to look for in evaluating the quality of a childcare center or preschool for your child?



In your view, what role should government play in setting or regulating quality standards?

DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

D) ECONOMICS 1. Clare Sanford says that she spends more on childcare than for her mortgage—18-19% of the family’s gross income for two children in full-time care. •

As a percentage of your income, how much do you/did you spend on childcare (or how much would you have to spend if you had a child)?



What do you think is a reasonable amount to spend?

2. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for childcare staff in 2013 was $19,600 a year, lower than poverty level income for a family of three. •

What might the consequences be if employers don’t pay those whom we entrust with the care and development of our children a wage high enough for them to take care of their own children?



In terms of establishing fair pay for early childhood professionals, what are the alternatives if average families can’t afford to pay more for childcare than they currently pay?

(cont. ⇢ )

TABLE OF CONTENTS DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

D) ECONOMICS (CONT.) 3. Between the end of World War II and the start of President Johnson’s Great Society initiatives, the government provided low-cost mortgages, farm and small business loans, college tuition, job training, and tax deductions for dependent children. Most of the programs were racially restricted, helping white Americans but not others. But for white Americans, these federal subsidies “facilitated a move on a grand scale into what we would think of as middle class,” according to historian Laura Lovett. •

In what ways would providing affordable, accessible, highquality universal childcare facilitate people today moving into or maintaining their status as part of the middle class?

4. After watching historical television news footage announcing Pres. Nixon’s veto, Clare Sanford says, “Can you imagine if there was a federal program with sliding fee childcare? Would that be fantastic?” •

Do you agree or disagree?



How might the nation be different today if high-quality universal childcare had been available to all for the past four decades?

5. There have been a number of studies analyzing the costs and long term benefits of high-quality childcare and preschool programs. •

In what ways might these programs pay for themselves?

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

E) POLITICS 1. With endorsements from The League of Women Voters, the American Home Economics Association, the Parent Teacher Association, the National Conference of Catholic Charities, the American Academy of Pediatrics and a legion of other, Mondale says, “There was an overwhelming consensus that this was a sensible, reasonable bill. We were close to getting something that would give young Americans in that situation a better chance.” •

What did you learn from the film about the ways in which power and politics can trump popular will and shape policy?



Why didn’t supporters of the CCDA expect the opposition that arose?



How did the opposition succeed in the face of so much support?

2. Why was the bill named the Comprehensive Child Development Act and not, say, the Universal Childcare Act? 3. The CCDA was re-introduced in Congress twice after its 1971 veto. In a 1976 newspaper editorial by Phyllis Schlafly entitled “Mondale and the Baby-Sitting Bill,” the Conservative leader wrote, “We are told that the Mondale-Brademas bill will strengthen the family, whereas it will actually do the opposite because it will relieve parents of their responsibility for child rearing. Anyone who wants to strengthen the family should encourage mothers to stay home and care for their own preschool children.” (ObserverReporter, August 3, 1976, A-4)

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(cont. ⇢ ) DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

E) POLITICS (CONT.) •

Was the use of the word “babysitting” in the title fair? Why might Schlafly have chosen that word?



In your experience, does having childcare available “relieve parents of their responsibility for child rearing”?



If the only proper way to strengthen the family is for mothers to stay home, what does that mean for women who must work or want to in order to support their families?

4. Presidential aide Charles Colson told President Nixon that he asked Patrick Buchanan to get involved because “the words we use are very, very important.” At the time, what was the particular power of words like “radical,” “Soviet,” and “family values?” •

Why did these words carry weight?



What trigger words are used in today’s debates over early childhood policy and what gives them their power?

5. Walter Mondale explains the failure to enact the CCDA saying that opponents found “a golden vein of anxiety in America.” His legislative aide added, “Fear in politics almost always triumphs hope.” •

What, exactly, were people afraid of ?



Why did those fears outweigh the fears of children not having an equal chance to achieve the American Dream?



What fears exist today that impede providing universal early childhood services to American families?



What actions could you take to help people overcome those fears?

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(cont. ⇢ ) DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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E) POLITICS (CONT.) 6. Aside from the CCDA, can you identify other government initiatives over the past century that were opposed with the similar argument of: “We can’t afford it. It’s not government’s job. It’s an intrusion on the family.”? What happened? 7. During WWII, when the nation needed women to work, there was little opposition to the government providing childcare. So if women need to work now, why do you suppose there isn’t similar consensus about creating a system of affordable child development centers? 8. The film shows a Nixon campaign ad in which the soon-to-be-President says, “I ask you to help me make the American dream come true, for those to whom it seems an impossible dream today.” •

If he were making that request today, what would the logical policy and legislative outcomes be?



How might the federal government help make the American dream come true “for those to whom it seems impossible”?

(cont. ⇢ )

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E) POLITICS (CONT.) 9. Patrick Buchanan described the CCDA as “the most radical piece of legislation to come out of this Congress of the United States.” He compared it to the Soviet government “taking kids from their parents and putting them into these institutions and having them educated there rather than at home,” which didn’t seem to him “to be traditionally American.” Do any of the features seem “radical” or un-American to you? Review each of the features and describe how each would support or undermine families. •

$10 billion (in today’s dollars) would be appropriated in the first year to develop high-quality, universal childcare and preschool, after-school care for older children, and other services related to the health and well-being of young children



Children who needed them would be provided with meals, medical treatment, and dental check-ups



Home visiting programs for new mothers and counseling would be made available to the poor for free and to everyone else on a sliding scale



Child development centers would be locally controlled



Participation would be limited to children whose parents requested services

10. The film notes that the social programs responsible for the growth of America’s middle class after World War II were largely limited to whites. •

What role does race and racism play in support for or opposition to government spending on child development services?



What about other social programs?

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(cont. ⇢ ) DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

© 2015 California Newsreel www.raisingofamerica.org

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

E) POLITICS (CONT.) 11. One of the programs for children established during the Johnson Administration was Head Start, a preschool program for children aged four and five. Although Head Start, which serves low-income families, has continued to receive funding, there have never been enough slots available to meet the needs of all eligible children. In 2013, for example, less than 50% of eligible low-income preschoolers were enrolled in Head Start. Though not all of those children would attend even if a slot was available, many families who want services are being turned away. •

Why do you suppose that this is the case?



If Head Start is effective enough to receive continued funding, why wouldn’t we choose to fund it at levels that would guarantee a space to every eligible child?

12. In the 1990s, Congress passed Healthy Start, a program offering pre-natal care, childcare, home visiting and other services to low-income families for children from birth to age three. But in 2013, its funding was so low it served less than 5% of eligible children. •

Why do you think Congress never followed up the authorization with the appropriation of sufficient funding?

13. There’s an argument about whether government subsidies for childcare should be needs-based (like Head Start) or universal (like Social Security). •

What do you think? Which is more likely to attract public support and why?

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DISCUSSING THE FILM

F) FAMILY VALUES 1. The CCDA was going to be available to all those who wanted it. Would you have been interested in having your children participate? Why or why not? 2. Some Americans saw the Comprehensive Child Development Act as increasing the strength of families while others believed it would undermine American families. •

What evidence supported each of these positions?



What were the weaknesses of each argument?

3. Buchanan and Schlafly read from Nixon’s veto statement: “For the federal government to plunge headlong financially into supporting child development would commit the vast moral authority of the national government to the side of communal approaches to child rearing over and against the family centered approach.” •

What’s your reaction to the way that this frames the issue?

4. Historian Laura Lovett described a conservative narrative that framed the fight for women’s rights and its “re-imagining of gender roles as an attack on the family.” •

What did people like Phyllis Schlafly find threatening about calls for women’s equality?



Why did they interpret government attempts to help the children of working women as a threat to the strength of families? (cont. ⇢ )

DISCUSSION GUIDE: Once Upon a Time

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F) FAMILY VALUES (CONT.) 5. Phyllis Schlafly said that the CCDA was “really for the government to take over the raising of children,” adding that “that was not the kind of country we wanted to live in.” •

In today’s world, would you describe Head Start or other childcare subsidy programs as a government takeover of raising children? Why or why not?

6. Conservatives took the position that families who were moral and worked hard would prosper without any help from government. The implication is that families who needed or received help were somehow immoral. •

Do you think that universal childcare would encourage immorality? Why or why not?



Studies show that a majority of affluent and college educated parents enroll their children in preschool programs. Why is the “morality” argument not applied to them?

7. In order to save money, some people suggested that the government fund only custodial rather than comprehensive, high-quality care. Head Start’s first Director, Edward Zigler, rejected that approach because “just custodial care—a child stacked with other children with no help—could be harmful.” •

Why might custodial care actually be harmful?

(cont. ⇢ )

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F) FAMILY VALUES (CONT.) 8. What lessons do you take away from the affordable childcare offered by the Armed Forces? •

How does that care enable soldiers to do their jobs better?



How does it help the country?



Would any of the benefits you listed also apply to workers who aren’t in the military?



How does the military’s childcare system challenge the claims of Conservatives that universal childcare is unnecessary or would weaken families?

9. Many parents rely on “friends and family” or other homebased care arrangements for childcare rather than center-based care. How might a government program improve rather than undermine the friends and family care network? 10. Recent studies have revealed that preschool is the most racially segregated of any level of American education. Why do you think this is, and how might it be addressed?

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G) SUMMING UP 1. Describe one thing you learned from the film. How does your new insight affect the way you think about early care and education? 2. What major questions was the filmmaker trying to answer (and how do you know)? •

How did the filmmaker answer those questions?



Did you agree with the answers? Why or why not?



Were there other questions you wanted to ask, and if so, what were they?

3. In what ways is this film similar to or different from other media you have seen, read, or heard on this issue? In what ways did it confirm or challenge ideas you held? 4. If you could guarantee that policy makers and politicians would watch this film, what would you want their “takeaway” to be?

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4. Moving to Action Ending discussions by planning action steps creates energy and optimism, even when the conversation has been difficult. Powerful action ideas are most likely to come from participants themselves, so we recommend leaving time at the end of your event, meeting or class to brainstorm.

SUGGESTIONS FOR GETTING STARTED 1. Host a special screening of Once Upon a Time for the many organizations in your area who would have an interest in the issues it raises: childcare center staff and parents, of course, but also neighborhood associations and other community-based groups, affordable housing and racial justice advocates, service clubs, PTAs, school volunteers, social service providers, your local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and even stakeholders such as law enforcement and juvenile justice. •

Remember to include government officials and your local Chamber of Commerce or other business groups. Invite them to suggest ideas about how the business community could help address the need for affordable, universal, highquality childcare in your city or town.

2. There are a growing number of initiatives on the city, state and federal level related to early childhood education. Find out what’s happening in your city or state. Arrange to meet with your elected representatives and their designated education staffers and explain what you think is important and why. Share with them a copy of the film along with key talking points. 3. In lieu of federal action, two states currently offer universal preschool: Oklahoma and Georgia, both ‘red’ states. Research and analyze those initiatives, how they are structured, why they were passed into law, and what lessons—positive and negative— you might take away from them.

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4. Child Care Aware® of America (www.usa.childcareaware. org) issues an annual report grading states on the quality and the costs of the childcare offered. How does your state stack up? Find ways to publicize what you discover. 5. Many states and some cities now offer subsidies for childcare and preschool for low-income children. Research those subsidies in your area, compare them to the cost of care, and determine whether they are adequate. Share your findings with your community and local/state policy makers. 6. Investigate existing advocacy initiatives both locally and nationally. Get in touch with those that interest you and find out how you can help. 7. Recent economic research summarized in the companion episode Are We Crazy About Our Kids? suggests that highquality early care and education pays for itself in the long term many times over. Consider screening this episode as a follow-up to Once Upon a Time.

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Background & Resources THE COMPREHENSIVE CHILD DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 1971 (S-1512) The Act was commonly known as the Mondale-Brademas bill for its coauthors, Senator Walter Mondale (then a Senator from Minnesota) and Representative John Brademas (a member of the House of Representatives from Indiana). The bill easily passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, but it was intensely debated in the House of Representatives where it was significantly amended before passage (186 in favor to 183 opposed). The preamble of the Act summarized its goal: “It is the purpose of this Act to provide every child with a fair and full opportunity to reach his full potential by establishing and expanding comprehensive child development programs and services designed to assure the sound and coordinated development of these programs, to recognize and build upon the experience and success gained through Head Start and similar efforts, to furnish child development services for those children who need them most, with special emphasis on preschool programs for economically disadvantaged children, and for children of working mothers and single parent families, to provide that decisions on the nature and funding of such programs made at the community level with the full involvement of parents and other individuals and organizations in the community interested in child development, and to establish the legislative framework for the future expansion of such programs to universally available child development services.” To track what has happened to childcare legislation in the interim, visit: www.law.cornell.edu/topn/comprehensive_child_development_act To read the original bill in the Congressional Record, visit: http://mondale.law.umn.edu/pdf18/v.117_pt.8_p.9869-9881.pdf Source: www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp36976.pdf

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WHAT DOES “QUALITY” MEAN? In current policy debates, “high quality” early care and education is sometimes misinterpreted to mean that preschool or childcare should focus on a very narrow set of academic and cognitive skills. When The Raising of America talks about “high quality,” it means the set of practices that proved to be beneficial in the High Scope Perry Preschool and other classic studies, as well as the initial Head Start programs and researchbased “best practice” findings in the decades since the 1960s. These include care that: •

Is safe and provides an environment that includes developmentally appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments



Is affordable and accessible for all children and families



Uses a developmentally appropriate curriculum that includes these learning areas: social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive



Uses developmentally appropriate instruction that is flexible while also ensuring that teachers intentionally plan a daily schedule that maximizes children’s learning through effective use of time and play materials, includes time for self-initiated learning, free play, and creative expression, offers opportunities for children to learn individually and in groups according to their developmental needs and interests, balances sedentary and physical activities, and includes both indoor and outdoor time



Is run by knowledgeable and well-trained program staff and educators, including educators with advanced degrees in child development



Respects the whole child, including providing comprehensive services that support children’s health, nutrition, and social wellbeing (cont. ⇢ )

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Creates an environment that respects and supports diversity and the cultural backgrounds of children and their families



Establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family in ways that are sensitive to family composition, language and culture, and in ways that help family members increase their level of education



Treats staff as professionals, including offering regular opportunities for professional development and career advancement



Promotes positive relationships among all children and adults to encourage each child’s sense of individual worth, sense of security and belonging as part of a community and to foster each child’s ability to contribute as a responsible community member



Establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children’s communities to support the achievement of program goals



Adjusts programs according to feedback from ongoing systematic, formal and informal assessment

Sources: www.naeyc.org/policy/excellence www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/Position%20Statement%20EC%20Standards.pdf (2005)

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STATISTICS RELATED TO THE FILM POVERTY In 2013, there were 19.9 million children under age five in the United States. Source: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml

In 2011, 25% of children ages 0-5 lived in poverty.

Source: http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/eco1a.asp

In 2011, African-American children had a 39% poverty rate, almost three times that of white children, who have a rate of 14 %. Source: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/files/2013KIDSCOUNTDataBook.pdf

The 2014 poverty cutoff for a family of three was $19,790. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2013 median wage for childcare workers was $9.38/hour, or $19,510/annually. Sources: www.familiesusa.org/resources/tools-for-advocates/guides/federal-povertyguidelines.html and www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399011.htm

CHILDCARE PARTICIPATION According to U.S. Census data, in 2011 just under half (49%) of the children with employed mothers were primarily cared for by a relative—their father, grandparent, sibling, other relative, or mother— while she worked. Another 24% were in a center-based arrangement (day care, nursery school, preschool, or Head Start). Thirteen percent were primarily cared for by a nonrelative in a home-based environment, such as care from a family day care provider, nanny, babysitter, or au pair. Source: http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/famsoc3.asp

In 1965, one tenth of children aged three or four were in some kind of formal preschool institution; by 1970 it was one fifth.

Source: Kimberly Morgan, “A Child of the Sixties: The Great Society, the New Right, and the Politics of Federal Child Care,” Journal of Policy History, 13 (2001), 222.

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In 1965, Mississippi created the largest Head Start program in the nation. It served 13,000 children and created 3,000 new jobs. In 2013, funding for Head Start (ages four and five) was so low that it served less than 50% of the eligible population in its preschool programs, and the quality of programs varied greatly from state to state. In 2013, funding for Early Head Start—established in 1994 to serve children birth to age three and their families—was so low that it served less than 5% of the eligible population. CHILDCARE COSTS The U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation reports that, in 2010, on average, households living below the poverty line spent 40% of their monthly income on childcare services. For people above the poverty line, the average was 7%. In the film, Clare Sanford reports that Clare Sanford she spends 18-19% of the family’s gross income, which is more than the cost of her mortgage.

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RESOURCES ON CHILDCARE IN THE U.S. ORGANIZATIONS Children’s Defense Fund - www.childrensdefense.org The website of the child advocacy organization founded by Marian Wright Edelman (featured in the film) is rich with research, statistics, policy statements, and suggestions for action. Think Progress http://thinkprogress.org/education/2013/11/27/3003061/head-startenrollment A very good summary of U.S. childcare statistics, including useful infographics. Child Care Aware® of America - www.usa.childcareaware.org This information hub conducts and publishes an annual state-by-state survey of childcare costs, services, and related information. National Institute for Early Education and Research - www.nieer.org This Rutgers University site aggregates a substantial body of research that is searchable by topic. Zero to Three - www.zerotothree.org This advocacy organization provides research-based policy recommendations and initiatives. It is a great place to start for those interested in working on legislation and public policy. National Healthy Start Association - www.nationalhealthystart.org This advocacy organization works for equitable services and interventions to improve birth outcomes and family well-being. It provides leadership training along with calls to action. Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs - www.amchp.org This organization focuses on providing resources to state public health leaders working to improve the health of women, children and families.

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BOOKS Cohen, Sally. Championing Child Care (2001) Fousekis, Natalie. Demanding Child Care: Womens Activism and the Politics of Welfare, 1940-1971 (2011) Hewlett, Sylvia Ann and Cornel West. War Against Parents (1998) Lovett, Laura. Conceiving the Future: Pronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1938 (2007) Self, Robert. All in The Family (2012) Zigler, Edward, Katherine Marsland and Heather Lord. The Tragedy of Child Care in America (2009) ARTICLES Cahan, Emily, “Past Caring, A History of U.S. Preschool Care and Education for the Poor, 1820-1965” (c.1989 - paper copy only, in research binder) Cohen, Abby, “A Brief History of Federal Financing for Child Care in the United States,” The Future of Children, Financing Child Care, Vol. 6 No. 2 (Summer/Fall 1996) Cohen, Jonathan, “The Hell That is American Childcare,” New Republic (15 April 2013) www.newrepublic.com/article/112892/hell-american-day-care Morgan, Kimberly, “A Child of the Sixties: The Great Society, the New Right, and the Politics of Federal Child Care,” Journal of Policy History, Vol. 13 No. 2 (2001) Roth, William, “The Politics of Daycare: The Comprehensive Child Development Act of 1971,” (1976) (www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/ pdfs/dp36976.pdf)

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MAJOR FUNDING

CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL

The Raising of America project funded by: • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation • The California Endowment • The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)*

The Raising of America was produced by California Newsreel with Vital Pictures.

Additional funding provided by: • Kaiser Permanente • The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation • National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM) * This discussion guide was supported in part by Grant Number CE002079 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

California Newsreel produces and distributes cutting-edge social justice films that inspire, educate and engage audiences. Founded in 1968, Newsreel is the oldest non-profit, social issue documentary film center in the country, the first to marry media production and contemporary social movements. Award-winning titles include Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, RACEThe Power of an Illusion and Homegoings. Visit www.newsreel.org to view over 150 documentary titles.