DAY 13: Early Childhood Education

“We must acknowledge the broader diversity in and of the African American experience and celebrate that all Black children are born geniuses. Black students continue to pursue educational excellence despite the many unnecessary obstacles they face due to constructions and perceptions of race, class, gender, and sexual orientations in America.” —David J. Johns, executive director of National Black Justice Coalition

No matter the adverse conditions under which Black people have found themselves, they have excelled in many ways, including academically. In 1879, Harriet Beecher-Stowe observed that right out of slavery, Black people rushed not to the grog shop but to the schoolroom. 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, research confirms their innate capability to excel. Studies show that there is no achievement gap at birth – at least not one that highlights differences between white children and Black children. According to research, Black children outperform their white counterparts on most measures until they start school. Source: Delpit, L. (2012). Multiplication is for White People:  Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children. New York, NY: The New Press.
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 race and culture. For these teachers, this framing device allows them to blame factors such as poverty instead of examining and changing lesson plans.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…


Read chapter 23, “White Teachers and the Power to Transform: Early Childhood Educators and the Potential for Lasting Harm,” from the book The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Ali Michael and Marguerite W. Penick-Parks. This chapter provides a list of 10 important things to know for white educators who teach students of color in order to provide these students equitable learning conditions and opportunities.


Watch this clip from Anderson Cooper 360, which 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.


Listen to Bias Isn’t Just a Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem, an NPR ED podcast with Cory Turner that 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.
Listen to the podcast about the dangers of deficit thinking with Zaretta Hammond, author of Culture Responsive Teaching and the Brain.


Children watch and listen to adults for racial cues. Get conversations going with this age-appropriate guide for talking to very young children about race. And for reading time, choose a culturally responsive book like the ones at Lee & Low Books About Everyone, For Everyone. 
United Way Takes Action
United Way of Central Carolinas knows that in order to positively influence our community’s future, we must set our youngest minds and their families up for success. By investing in efforts to improve childhood literacy, eliminate the digital divide and foster entrepreneurship, we ensure people have the skills and resources needed to reach their full potential. We accomplish this with nonprofit partners across the Charlotte region, including Families First in Cabarrus County, E2D and Stiletto Boss University.
Donate to United Way of Central Carolinas to help advance the fight for education equity.


Take part in this week's service activity: Food Drive

Food insecurity in our region impacts a growing number of families due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our food distribution partners have asked for the following donations: canned entrees (e.g., spaghetti-o’s, chili, etc.), canned meat, canned soup or stews, canned low-sodium vegetables and canned fruit. Learn more and give back.




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