The Equity Breakthrough team has been working strategically to identify where we need to solidify our equity work at the Early Learning Division. We’ve identified four areas:
First, we must take steps to eliminate the implicit bias, cultural insensitivity, structural discrimination and institutionalized racism that exists in our organization today. Oregon’s opportunity and achievement gaps continue to persist as cultural and linguistic diversity grows throughout the state. Children of color make up over 30% of the 0-5 year old population in the state- and are growing at an inspiring rate.
Second, there is a lack of culturally relevant verbal and written communication across the Oregon early learning system. This limits the timeliness and quality of communication to Oregon’s linguistically diverse populations.
Third, there is a lack of accurate, accessible, consistent and comprehensive child-level and workforce level race, ethnicity and language data in the early learning system. Data on children accessing public services is not collected in consistent ways and there is not a mechanism to collect child-level data on children that do not access public services.
Lastly, there is a lack of diversity and inclusion across the Early Learning System. Workforce composition and an inclusive environment is critical for achieving cultural competence and for establishing policy that will ensure the delivery of culturally responsive services. The Division recently completed the Coalition of Communities of Colors’ Organizational Self-Assessment Related to Racial Equity and identified that the Division was lacking important tools such as written procedures to increase the recruitment, retention and promotion of professionals of color.
Strengthening performance and capability in these four key areas will move us toward an envisioned future where all children receive the educational supports, family stability and coordinated care necessary to reach their fullest potential.