BUILDing Strong Foundations

What We're Reading - January 16

1/16/2018 12:00:00 AM
Posted by: Build Initiative
Racial Equity
  • NASBE: The NASBE Interview with BUILD Initiative’s Dr. Aisha Ray   Aisha Ray rounds out the issue in a rich Q&A on increasing the cultural and linguistic competence of early childhood educators.
  • CLASP: Equity Starts Early: Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Care and Early Education Policy   Equity Starts Early: Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Care and Early Education Policy explores these critical racial equity issues in major early childhood programs, policies, and systems, including CCDBG, Head Start, and state pre-kindergarten programs. It provides demographic and historical context for creating racially equitable early childhood policies and analyzes policy issues related to access, quality, and the early childhood workforce. Finally, the report offers state and federal policy strategies that can begin to address inequities.
  • The Atlantic: The Intrusion of White Families Into Bilingual Schools   Dual-immersion classrooms aren’t just joyful to watch. They’re also ever more important to understand as their approach grows in popularity across the country. But there are some indications that multilingual schools’ increasing appeal is inadvertently undermining the original purpose for the model.

Early Learning

Children must reach critical health and well-being benchmarks in order to thrive, be ready for kindergarten, and read at grade level by third grade. BUILD knows that families and communities are the primary source of this foundational support for children. We help state leaders create safe, healthy, nurturing early learning experiences for all children – to better support families and communities. This “whole-systems” approach includes an emphasis on: primary and preventive health care, early intervention, and quality early care and education. That is why  BUILD Initiative assists states in focusing on standards and assessment, including kindergarten entry assessmentearly care and education, with a focus on infant/toddler and pre-K services, programs and policies; and family, friend and neighbor care

  • New America: Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators   Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators is being launched to delve into the complexities, frictions, and mistrust embedded in the interplay among (1) preparation and education, (2) compensation and status, and (3) diversity and inclusivity. These strands have come together and created an increasingly difficult knot to disentangle as factions too often grab tightly onto one or another of these three strands. Loosening this knot will allow common interests and new possibilities to emerge and make progress more likely.  
  • New Jersey Policy Perspective Increasing Opportunities for Working Mothers Would Boost the Economy   The state’s early care and education programs help mothers with young kids earn $1.2 billion in wages and generate over $60 million in property and income taxes annually. However, the impacts of universal, high quality preschool would be far greater. In addition to the long-term economic benefits of investing in children, universal preschool would result in upwards of 10,000 more mothers entering the New Jersey workforce. In total, universal preschool would help about 200,000 mothers earn $7.5 billion and contribute $400 million in taxes each year.
  • Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute: Intentional Teaching Makes the Biggest Impact on Early Childhood Outcomes   A comprehensive review of research on several measures of the quality of early childhood education suggests that the instructional practices of preschool teachers have the largest impact on young children’s academic and social skills. The review helps untangle a complicated knot of factors that affect young children.

Suspension and Expulsion

Many factors contribute to the high rate of expulsion and suspension in early learning settings and to the disproportionate representation of children of color, particularly African American boys. These factors include: high teacher/child ratios, inadequate professional development related to addressing challenging behaviors, inadequate knowledge of child development about what is or is not developmentally appropriate, implicit racial biases, and the impact of stress and adverse experiences on young children. Reducing and, eliminating, young child expulsion and suspension from early learning settings requires multiple, coordinated approaches that address its root causes – approaches that BUILD is working with states to implement.

  • CEELO: Information and Resources to Assist States in Developing Policy on Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion   High-quality preschool lays the foundation for a child’s educational career. Preschool is where children are learning how to self-regulate, make friends, communicate, and express their wants and needs while preparing for their educational career within the K-12 system. If children do not have the behavioral and social-emotional skills needed to effectively participate in preschool programs, they are missing critical opportunities to grow and learn. Teachers and parents are often the “first responders” to address challenging behaviors and need knowledge, resources and support to nurture positive social-emotional development as a foundation of learning. This report includes resources to inform early childhood stakeholders at the state and local level interested in developing policy and guidance for programs to prevent and reduce suspension and expulsion.

Health Equity

At BUILD Initiative, our goal is to build early childhood systems that are comprehensive, of high quality and that promote equitable outcomes. In addition, our work in this area underscores the urgency of proactive timing in the first five years of life.

  • CLASP: Medicaid Work Requirements Harm Everyday Americans   Studies have shown that access to Medicaid makes it easier for people to look for work and obtain employment. A so-called “work requirement” does not support work but instead puts a critical support for work at risk. CLASP Senior Policy Analyst Suzanne Wikle notes: “When people are not healthy or able to access needed medications they are less likely to be able to work. If proponents of work requirements are serious about helping people find work, they would invest in skill training and workforce development programs rather than increasing red tape and making it harder for people to access health care.”


Large numbers of immigrant children and their families are experiencing serious problems - inadequate education, poor physical and mental health, and poverty. Although participation in early childhood education programs can offset some of these problems, immigrant children attend such programs at lower rates than  children of U.S.-born citizens. These factors have contributed to significant achievement disparities between immigrant children and non-immigrant children.

  • The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: Living in an Immigrant Family in America: How Fear and Toxic Stress are Affecting Daily Life, Well-Being, & Health   Immigrant families, including those with lawful status, are experiencing resounding levels of fear and uncertainty. Fears affected participants across backgrounds and locations, with particularly pronounced effects for Latinos and Muslims. Undocumented parents fear being deported and separated from their children while many of those with lawful status feel uncertain about their status and worry they may lose their status or permission to remain in the U.S. These feelings of uncertainty escalated after rescission of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017. Parents said that although they try to shield their children from these issues, many children are hearing about them at school and fear potentially losing their parents to deportation or having to leave the U.S., the only home many have ever known.

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