Contact: Crystal Prater
National Black Child Development Week (NBCDW) (May 13-18, 2019) is a time of national awareness, collective action and community mobilization to address and advance issues impacting Black children. This year, the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) is focusing NBCDW on one of today's greatest civil rights issues: the preschool-to-prison pipeline, and specifically, the disproportionate practice of suspending and expelling Black children in early learning programs, underscoring widespread injustice and racial inequality in our education systems.
This year’s theme is "Building Black Excellence." Throughout the week NBCDI will offer tools, resources, and strategies to eliminate exclusionary discipline practices in early childhood programs, address racial bias and provide inclusive, affirming early learning programs.
“There is a crisis in America’s preschools and public schools,” says Senator Cory Booker (NJ). “About 250 kids every single day are being pushed out of our schools for disciplinary reasons. This is problematic because kids who are suspended or facing expulsions are more likely to go into what is called the preschool-to-prison pipeline. That is unacceptable. What’s even more unacceptable is that these children are disproportionately Black kids.”
In 2014, under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights found that Black children are being systematically denied access to an early education at the most critical period in their development. Black preschoolers are 3.6 times more likely to receive one or more suspensions than White preschoolers.
“One of the five priorities identified in the National Black Child Development Institute’s Action Agenda is to ensure Black children are no longer excluded from learning environments due to suspensions and expulsions,” says Tobeka G. Green, NBCDI President and CEO. “To deliver on the positive outcomes that are possible through high-quality early childhood education, NBCDI launched our Delivering on the Promise initiative to encourage early childhood education systems to eliminate exclusionary discipline, address racial bias and provide inclusive, affirming early learning environments that are so critical to our children’s development.”
Throughout National Black Child Development Week, NBCDI will convene webinar and social media discussions, family engagement activities and more advocacy actions in communities across the country that address the rising rates of suspension and expulsion of Black children, systemic and cultural biases, and importantly, what it looks like when systems and families work collaboratively and effectively to positively impact Black children.
NBCDW IN FOCUS
Themed “Building Black Excellence,” NBCDI’s National Black Child Development Week features the following strengths-based frameworks and activities focused on eliminating the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of Black children:
Monday, May 13th
“Lifting Every Black Child”
NBCDI, in conjunction with a video release from Senator Cory Booker, introduces its first white paper “Delivering on the Promise of Effective Early Childhood Education” to shine a light on the injustice and inequality of the disproportionate rates of suspensions and expulsions of Black children in early childhood education settings. Read the white paper here.
Tuesday, May 14th
“Transforming Systems for Our Children”
NBCDI will host a day of digital storytelling highlighting work across the country by parents and caregivers, policymakers, district leaders and educators in advancing equitable policies and practices for Black children.
Wednesday, May 15th
“Winning for Our Children Through Advocacy”
NBCDI will host a webinar with Cassandra Johnson, President of Black Child Development Institute-Denver, highlighting best practices and learnings from the passing of House Bill 19-1194, “Addressing Early Childhood School Removal” in Colorado. Partners in the effort include Raise Colorado and Equity in Early Childhood. Guests include Dr. Rosemarie Allen, President & CEO at Center for Equity and Excellence; and Mr. Bill Jaeger, Vice President of Early Childhood and Policy Initiatives at Colorado Children’s Campaign. Watch the webinar here.
Thursday, May 16th
“How It Looks When It Works”
NBCDI will partner with Dr. Sade’ Johnson of Achievement First and the dean of students and school culture at AF Bushwick Elementary in Brooklyn, NY to host a webinar on real-life best practices. She will share highlights from her experience at one of the nation’s most culturally diverse elementary schools, as well as answer questions on creating an environment of excellence that affirms and positively impacts Black students. Watch the webinar here.
Friday, May 17th
“Delivering on the Promise”
NBCDI hosts a Twitter Takeover to highlight our work around the national "Delivering on the Promise" campaign while sharing research and findings from our first white paper. We will also release NBCDI’s second white paper and advocacy toolkit, “Delivering on Affirming Early Childhood Education: Lessons from Community Voices.”
Saturday, May 18th
“Building Black Excellence”
NBCDI Affiliates across the country host activities in their respective communities that celebrate and support the excellence of Black Children.
To learn more about National Black Child Development Week 2019, activities in NBCDI’s Affiliate communities and how you can bring an end to exclusionary discipline practices, visit www.nbcdi.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #NBCDW2019 #BuildingBlackExcellence on social media.