As we have seen, public policy can drive the issues that create a cultural climate looking for change. Several issues that are finding platforms for discussion among politicians, teachers, and communities could provoke changes in the next few years. The trends we currently see in family support services are:

  • States adopting a variety of tax credits for working families giving them help with childcare and in-home care expenses (Hirschhorn Donahue, 2006)
  • Family-leave policies, allowing both parents opportunities to spend time with newborn babies in the early formative years of infancy
  • Flexible work schedules and job-sharing opportunities for parents who want to continue on their career path
  • Internet and media control legislation to assure parents that children will not view or find inappropriate materials while using these media for learning
  • Improvement in the quality and availability of infant and toddler care

Educational trends and research that we will see in the coming years include:

  • Standards-based education, focusing on outcomes for student learning (Schumacher, Irish, & Lombardi, 2003)
  • Full-day kindergarten providing more time for in-class experiential learning (Walston & West, 2004)
  • Research on the economic impact of the child-care industry and its effect on the local community; employment needs are identified to maintain a workforce (Rolnick & Grunewald, 2003).
  • Prekindergarten opportunities for every four-year-old in the United States, the universal Pre-K movement (Pre[K] Now, 2006)
  • National School Readiness Indicators Initiative, creating a set of measurable indicators defining school readiness (Getting Ready, February 2005)
  • Quality Rating Systems, a system of rating the quality of child-care programs that is tied to incentives and reimbursement rates (NCCIC, June 2002)
  • TEACH, professional development for early-care and early-education teachers tied to education and training incentives (TEACH, 2004)
  • Early childhood assessment, looking at appropriate assessments spurred on by the debate surrounding the Head Start National Reporting System assessment (Horton & Bowman, 2001).
  • Gubernatorial Leadership for Early Care and Education (Lovejoy, 2006)
  • Environmental Rating scales used in measuring the quality of early childhood programs (Harms, Clifford, & Cryer, 1998)