Addressing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps

Diverse group of childrenChildren begin to establish their personal and civic identities in the early years, based on the people and experiences they encounter. Positive outcomes are supported by high quality, inclusive environments and by practices and well-prepared adults who recognize and value difference and work to combat discrimination.

Gaps – by income, race, language, and ethnicity – that young children face at the time they enter kindergarten have been well-documented. Closing these gaps is fundamental to the success of each child and of the United States as a nation.

Currently, profound and interconnected disparities that go beyond early childhood education services exist among young children, across:

  • health
  • economic security
  • safety
  • learning
  • development

Addressing these disparities requires comprehensive responses that include attention to socioeconomic as well as ethnic, cultural, and language inequities.

Concerted, coordinated, and focused attention is needed to design early childhood education systems that reflect and respond to the diversity of the children and families in the state. This includes attention to race, ethnicity, culture and language in all aspects of early learning systems development, including a significant research and learning agenda devoted to issues of culture and language and planning and governance structures which themselves are more inclusive and representative of the families and communities they serve.