EdNC is currently spotlighting an important new report on racial equity in North Carolina public schools. The report, titled “E(race)ing Inequities: The State of Racial Equity in North Carolina Public Schools,” by the Center for Racial Equity in Education (CREED) shows how NC students of color continue to fall behind their white peers in access to educational resources and academic outcomes. The full report and a series of accompanying articles and videos on race and education in North Carolina can be accessed here.
Equity is a key focus of the Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Initiative and the Pathways Action Framework. The Framework addresses many of the disparities highlighted in the E(race)ing Inequities report and Pathways Measures of Success Framework.
As a part of the Pathways process, a group of Design Team members crafted the following statement that explains Pathways’ approach to racial equity and why they believe it is a critical lens.
Today in North Carolina, too many children from all racial groups are not reading on grade-level by the end of third grade. However, there are vast differences in outcomes between racial groups, with 52 percent of white children meeting this benchmark, while only 22 percent of Black and 22 percent of Latinx children do. These disparities in outcomes are the result of systemic barriers, both current and historic.
Ensuring that all our children and families have high quality child care and early education, effective public elementary schools, high quality health care and well-paying jobs that can support a family is the key to improving third grade reading proficiency—and the key to prosperity for all of us. To get there, Pathways focuses explicitly on racial equity, since race in America plays such a large role in determining children’s life outcomes.
Pathways used a racial equity lens to guide its recommendations to dedicate more and different resources to support children and families of color and creating systems that work for all. Leading with racial equity means prioritizing strategies that specifically work to improve outcomes for children of color. It also means giving special consideration to the wisdom and innovation of people of color to develop responses that are lasting and reach all children.
Targeted interventions that account for structural racism benefit all children. The Pathways Action Framework also aims to reduce disparities in children’s outcomes based on income, ability, language of origin, geography, gender or age.
Pathways uses a racial equity lens by:
- Disaggregating data so that we can clearly see and address the racial and other disparities in outcomes among groups of children,
- Ensuring that people of color and white people work together to make decisions about what to prioritize and how,
- Encouraging and supporting partner organizations and agencies to lead with a racial equity lens, and
- Convening organizations so they can learn together, support each other, and partner to advance racial equity work for young children.
When our systems work collaboratively and are shaped using a racial equity lens, we ensure the best possible future for our children and North Carolina.
Thanks to CREED and our partners at EdNC for continuing to shine a light on this important issue. Be sure to also check out EdNC’s perspective piece on a recent policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics addressing the negative effects of racism on children’s health. The NC Early Childhood Foundation is committed to learning and improving racial equity in early childhood outcomes.