"If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much."

– Marian Wright Edelman

Welcome to day 13

Topic: Education Equity, Edition 2

Challenge yourself today to think about how education inequities can affect your child or children in your community.

Reminder, no matter who you are or where you are on the journey, you will not be perfect. Try to digest the information slowly and go at your own pace. Allow time for reflection and avoid feeling pressured to tackle everything.

Now is the time for equity in early childhood education.

No matter the adverse conditions under which Black people have found themselves, they have excelled in many ways, including academically. In 1879, Harriett Beecher-Stowe observed that right out of slavery, Black people rushed not to the grog shop but to the school room. They cried for the spelling book as bread and pleaded for teachers as a necessity for life.

Not only have Black people historically valued education, but research also confirms their innate capability to excel. Studies show that there is no achievement gap at birth—at least not one that highlights differences between European-American children and Black children. According to research, Black children outperform their white counterparts on most measures until they start school. (Multiplication is for White People: Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children)

Then, What Happens?

Unfortunately, “deficit thinking” can come into play for some educators. It is a frame through which the Black child can be viewed as either being intellectually inferior or inept because of their culture. For these teachers, this framing device allows them to blame factors such as poverty instead of examining and changing lesson plans.

Additional Resources

Challenge Menu

A Lesson in Humility: Diving into Anti-Racist Early Education Practices and Policies

In this podcast episode from Pre-K Teach & Play, Ijumaa Jordan and Kristie Pretti-Frontczak discuss developing humility with young students, how the white dominant culture shows up in early childhood practices and policies, and ways educators can examine their own beliefs and practices to work towards being an anti-racist. (1 hour)

Building Leadership, Equity & Social Justice in Early Learning

How do you build leadership in early learning? According to Maurice Sykes, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Leadership Institute, it goes beyond the usual skills and benefits from an eye towards equity and social justice: “[making] sure that children, regardless of zip code or surname or gender, have access to high quality programs.” (7 minutes)

Bias Isn’t Just a Police Problem, It’s a Preschool Problem

In this NPR segment, Cory Turner examines the issue of implicit bias in preschool teachers and sheds light on how subconscious racial stereotypes related to students of color guide the expectations and interactions of teachers, and the negative effects of these beliefs.
(4 minutes)

Inside the Anderson Cooper 360 Doll Study

Anderson Cooper 360 reveals children’s attitudes and biases toward race. With the help of Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer, renowned Child Psychologist and University of Chicago Researcher, CNN recreates the groundbreaking “doll test” from the 1940s performed by Mamie and Kenneth Clark, a husband-and-wife team of Black psychologists who devoted their life’s work to understanding and helping heal children’s racial biases. (5 minutes)

Take Action

Children watch and listen to adults for racial cues. Get conversation going with this age-appropriate guide for talking to young children about race, and for reading time, choose a culturally responsive book, like the ones at Lee And Low Books About Everyone, For Everyone.