Nationwide, children of diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and linguistic backgrounds are too often viewed as challenging, "at-risk," and of limited intellectual capacity. Wide disparities in achievement bear witness to the ways in which the educational and social systems have failed those most in need of support. Historic discrimination coupled with changing demographics necessitates clear and intentional efforts to support young children who are racially and ethnically diverse in achieving their personal, academic, and economic potential. A primary mission of FPG is to generate knowledge about the social context in which children of color live, establish programs that produce positive outcomes for those children and their families, and use that knowledge to prepare caregivers and teachers to provide the best possible environments for promoting development and success. Equity, diversity, and inclusion matters at the Institute.
Despite national attention on addressing racial injustices, which are especially pressing for Black children and families, improvements in Black children's and other minoritized children's health, well-being, and educational outcomes are still lacking. A consortium of experts who can use strengths-based data to shed light on the impact of historical and contemporary racism and inequities, and the differential impacts of programs, practices, and policies is needed. Iheoma Iruka, PhD, aims to address this through the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG.
The African-Centered Racial Equity Justice Project: Embracing Culturally Responsive Practices to Improve Early Learning and Child Outcomes project is developing a guide to culturally responsive practices with specific strategies, exemplars, and materials with connected professional learning modules to guide effective implementation. The ultimate and long-term goal is to increase Black children’s social, cognitive, and emotional skills, leading to strong academic and social competence and school success.
Advancing Equity in Early Care and Education Systems With the American Rescue Plan Act attends to critical levers to ensure equitable access, positive experiences, and outcomes in early care and education that are not associated with demographic characteristics in learning systems for our youngest children and their families. This unprecedented infusion of resources provides a unique opportunity to make tangible headway on building equitable learning systems.