"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."
NBCDI recognizes that the way Black families and children have historically been left out of the development of policies and intentionally excluded means we have a lot of work to do to bring the focus on inclusion. The guiding principle that builds NBCDI’s policy framework is that policies designed to benefit Black families and children should be informed by perspectives from the communities that are served.
The NBCDI Policy Department major initiatives are:
- Delivering on the Promise of Effective Early Childhood Education
- The Responsible Transformation of ECE Workforce
- Racial Equity in Early Childhood Education–State of the Black Child Report Cards
- NBCDI Policy Fellowship Program
- NBCDI and UnidosUS Policy Briefing
Delivering on the Promise of Effective Early Childhood Education
Exclusionary discipline has no place in learning environments and such educational disparities not only set Black children up for failure, but for the "preschool-to-prison" pipeline. To address this systemic issue, in 2017, the National Black Child Development Institute announced a partnership with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to launch a national campaign to end the "preschool-to-prison" pipeline. The "Delivering on the Promise" Initiative is designed to ensure that Black children truly benefit from early childhood education (ECE) programs by: 1) promoting inclusive early learning environments; and 2) ending harsh disciplinary practices that exclude them. Today, more than 250 preschoolers are suspended or expelled per day. Black preschoolers are nearly four times more likely to receive one or more suspensions than white preschoolers. This is tragic and intolerable.
Through the partnership, the National Black Child Development Institute supports practitioners and advocates seeking to eliminate suspensions and expulsions and implement positive discipline practices to ensure that young Black children have access to early learning settings that are supportive and affirming.
The Responsible Transformation of ECE Workforce
With generous support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Black Child Development Institute launched the “Responsible Transformation of the Early Childhood Education Workforce” initiative with the following goals:
- Examine the impact new education requirements may have on Black early childhood educators; and
- Explore how to best implement a bachelor’s degree requirement for early childhood educators in communities that primarily serve children of color, Black children in particular, by strengthening and not displacing the current workforce.
NBCDI will serve as an honest broker facilitating meaningful dialogue with the ECE workforce and experts, national thought leaders, civil rights organizations, state administrators, and policymakers. NBCDI is uniquely equipped and experienced to champion a transition that will benefit Black children while also addressing the difficult realities of how racial disparities impact educational attainment and compensation in the ECE field, and the impact of the fractured ECE delivery system and complex web of local, state, and federal funding streams with widely varying regulations and standards.
NBCDI is raising awareness of the importance of educational requirements in Early Childhood Education (ECE) as well as policy solutions and strategies needed to support implementation of new requirements. As a result of NBCDI’s education and communications campaign, more practitioners, parents, advocates, and community leaders will recognize the racial disparities in access to professionally-trained early childhood educators and gain a better understanding of the skills and qualifications needed for early childhood educators to provide high-quality early learning. Through stakeholder and community engagement, NBCDI will inspire a grassroots movement to advance the ECE workforce and ensure Black educators are not left behind or pushed out by the new requirements.
Racial Equity in Early Childhood Education–State of the Black Child Report Cards
NBCDI's State of the Black Child initiative is focused on creating resources that challenge the prevailing discourse about Black children-one which overemphasizes limitations and deficits and does not draw upon the considerable strengths, assets and resilience demonstrated by our children, families, and communities.
NBCDI "State of the Black Child" Report Cards
With the support of local advocates, community leaders, parents, caregivers, educators, and elected officials, NBCDI has designed this report card to serve as powerful advocacy tool in highlighting and addressing the racial disparities in outcomes for Black children and families. The policy recommendations in the “State of the Black Child” Report Cards highlight the racial disparities that affect outcomes for Black children and families. The Report Card provides parents, caregivers, advocates, community leaders and policymakers with high-priority policy recommendations to improve education, health and family support systems for Black children and families. The policy recommendations in the State of the Black Child Report Cards highlight the racial disparities that affect the learning outcomes for Black children and families. This advocacy tool is designed to support parents, caregivers, advocates, community leaders and policymakers with high-priority policy recommendations to improve education, health and family support systems for Black children and families.
"State of the Black Child" Report Card for Washington Action Planning Event
The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) policy team held an action planning event on the “State of the Black Child” Report Card for Washington with BCDI-Seattle affiliates, advocates, policymakers, educators, parents, caregivers, and community leaders in Seattle, Washington on November 23rd, 2019. During the convening, NBCDI’s Senior Vice President of Policy and the BCDI-Seattle Affiliate President presented information on how to take the next steps to implement successful policies and programs that support Black families, and to define strategies that will dismantle systemic barriers and challenges that Black children and families continue to face in Seattle and throughout the state of Washington. The convening led to breakout discussions on the systematic racism in Washington, the lack of teaching diversity within the King County School System, effective ways to organize and unite as a community and successful policies to increase the allocation of state funds toward education. The group was vocal and extremely engaged about education inequality especially within the City of Seattle because from their vantage point, the schools belong to the community and there is power within an active group. The group has the ability to effectuate change on systems and policies currently in place that can advance racial equity in the area school systems by providing pathways for more black teachers, provide training for educators on racism and internalized oppression and informing parents about accessing available educational resources and seeking proper resources and education in advocating for their children.
- State of the Black Child Report Card for Washington
- State of the Black Child Report Card for Texas
- State of the Black Child Report Card for Georgia
- State of the Black Child Report Card for Ohio
Following the release of the “State of the Black Child” Report Card for Ohio in February 2020:
National Black Child Development Institute's Statement on the City of Cleveland Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis
The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) salutes our Affiliate, Black Child Development Institute Cleveland (BCDI-Cleveland), for sounding the alarm and leading the charge to have racism declared a public health crisis in the City of Cleveland. BCDI-Cleveland released its "State of the Black Child Report Card - Ohio" (Report Card) at a special event attended by local advocates, community leaders, educators, parents and caregivers in February 2020.
The Report Card's overall recommendation was to declare systemic racism a public health crisis. Following BCDI-Cleveland's bold and courageous declaration, the Cleveland City Council (Council) introduced legislation to promote racial equity and inclusion in March 2020. Then on June 3, 2020, the Council unanimously passed legislation declaring racism a public health crisis, which every member of the Council sponsored.
Cleveland, which was ranked as the second worst state for Black children in The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2017 Race for Results, is now leading the nation in a new way. Cleveland Council member Blaine Griffin stated, "Since this legislation has passed the health services committee, we've gotten several calls from other cities across the state of Ohio as well as across the country that want to do the same thing that Cleveland is doing." The Ohio Legislature is now considering legislation which, if adopted, would make Ohio the first state in the U.S. to name systemic racism as a public health emergency.
In the midst of a national and international uprising and demand in support of justice and the establishment of the fair and equitable treatment of Black people, NBCDI celebrates the City of Cleveland and positively reflects on the fact that all communities are strengthened by local leaders like BCDI-Cleveland President Gloria Blevins and community-based organizations like BCDI-Cleveland, for it is their acts of speaking truth to power and passionately advocating on behalf of their communities that lead to change.
NBCDI Policy Fellowship Program
Launched in June 2019, the National Black Child Development Institute Policy Fellowship elevates and accelerates Black leaders to ensure leadership at the national level more closely reflects the young children that are being served in education, health, and social service systems. NBCDI’s commitment to equity in education and to supporting the health and wellbeing of Black children and families is the impetus for this Policy Fellowship. For 18 months, the NBCDI Policy Fellows have been engaged in intensive leadership and career development programs that have prepared them for senior and executive-level leadership roles in policy and advocacy related to families and children at the national level. Each of the Fellows have been equipped with new approaches to policy, diverse points of view, and fresh perspectives on increasing racial equity and access to high-quality programs and developing policies that support the overall health and wellbeing of young Black children.
NBCDI and UnidosUS Policy Briefing
Recognizing the need to rebuild early childhood education (ECE) because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBCDI and its valued partner UnidosUS saw an opportunity to emphasize the critical importance of ECE through a joint brief. The joint brief highlights ways to rebuild ECE better by explicitly supporting Black and Latina educators; recognizing that a diverse, well-compensated, and well-qualified workforce is a fundamental component of high-quality programs. NBCDI and UnidosUS recognize this time as a critical opportunity to rebuild ECE better: to prioritize and increase investments in the field, with a focus on equity and diversity, while continuing to emphasize and increase quality. ECE must rebuild better. ECE has and will continue to transform and rebuild as the industry shifts due to COVID-19. As the field seeks to reopen or works to transform to meet this new reality, NBCDI and UnidosUS underscore the importance of equity in access to high-quality ECE for all children and supporting a diverse and well-qualified workforce. We rebuild ECE better by explicitly supporting Black and Latina educators; recognizing that a diverse, well compensated, and well-qualified workforce is a fundamental component of high-quality programs.