Since its inception, NBCDI has been dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality, accessible, affordable and aligned system of early care and education for children birth through age eight. Each of these years is critical to the socio-emotional and educational success of students, particularly students of color, because they provide the foundation for all subsequent learning and development.
In our program and policy work, NBCDI supports federal, state and local efforts to provide increasing numbers of low-income children with access to quality early education and care; efforts to create a strong and supported early childhood workforce; and efforts to promote developmentally and culturally-appropriate standards, curriculum, instruction and assessment that are aligned within and across the early childhood to early grades continuum.
We believe it is critical for the sometimes disparate communities of early care and education, K-12 education and higher education to come together, particularly around the priority area of effective teaching. In both the early education and K-12 systems, we know that effective teaching and high-quality instruction is a central component of children's achievement, and, further, that consistent access to effective teachers and leaders can narrow the achievement gap and provide particularly strong benefits for children from low-income communities.[i] Yet we also know that on nearly every available measure, we can be confident that Black students are being taught by less qualified and less effective teachers over time.
- To increase and equitably distribute quality across the birth through eight continuum, while also connecting early childhood and elementary schools, NBCDI focuses on:
- Supporting specific efforts to recruit, professionally prepare, compensate and retain a well-qualified workforce across multiple birth through eight settings, including family and center-based child care as well as public and charter schools
- Commitments to ensuring cultural and racial diversity in the workforce, which has decreased, even while the population of children has grown increasingly more diverse
- Supporting the development and revision of QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement Systems) that are as focused on the "Quality" and the "Improvement" as they are on the "Rating"
- Explicitly advocating for the inclusion of school- and community-based early childhood teachers and administrators in joint professional development opportunities with K-12 teachers and administrators
- Encouraging the development of culturally, linguistically and developmentally valid and reliable measurement tools for young children and the classrooms in which they learn
- Encouraging states, districts and schools to embed professional development opportunities that support a deeper understanding of families' race and culture, and explicitly teach teachers from all backgrounds how to develop and strengthen relationships with parents and the community
 Kagan, S. L., Kauerz, K., & Tarrant, K. (2008). The early care and education teaching workforce: At the fulcrum. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. See also Julia Coffman and Melinda Green's brief Reaching for Quality: Lessons from New Jersey on Raising Preschool Teacher Qualifications While Maintaining Workforce Diversity. On the web at: www.buildinitiative.org/files/AbbottDiversityBrief.pdf.