A new video from the business organization CEO Action for Racial Equity (CEOARE) makes the case for increasing access to early education and care, especially for Black families.
The video begins with a forceful statement from Kate Barrand, president and CEO of Horizons for Homeless Children, who says:
“Just to be clear, the only way that we are going to arrive at greater equity is through early education. That’s what’s going to level the playing field is when we allow the majority of children, even those coming from deep poverty, to get access to early education.”
CEOARE provides more context on its website, noting:
“The early childhood education (ECE) system is faltering. While demand for ECE services remains high, limited access, lack of affordability and low-quality of service can leave Black children at a disadvantage during critical years of development. Without access to high-quality early learning, developmental gaps can be seen in children as young as 18 months.”
The video also looks at the many costs to society of having a failing ECE system, noting that early childhood programs are too expensive for many families. Providers earn too little money to support themselves and their own families. Parents who can’t access child care can’t go to work, which hurts the economy and makes it harder for them to save for goals like buying a home, paying for their children’s college education, or having enough money for retirement.
“More than half of Americans live in childcare deserts,” the video adds, “where there can be more than three children for every available childcare slot. For the Black community, nearly 54% of eligible Black preschoolers are being served by a Head Start preschool and only 6% are served in early Head Start.”
“These challenges have a direct impact on businesses who stand to lose approximately $3 billion each year when employees miss work due to child care breakdowns.”
CEOARE’s ECE video webpage also features useful information for advocates, including testimony submitted to the Massachusetts Joint Education Committee for Senate Bill 301 and House Bill 489 and a 2021 letter to Congress on Advancing Early Childhood Education.
CEOARE’s early childhood work is part of a larger commitment. It was created in 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, when more than 100 companies came together to address equity.
“We focus our efforts on eight issues across four key areas where longstanding racial disparities are widening: education, healthcare, economic empowerment, and public safety – with the goal of improving well-being in the Black community and impacting society at large,” CEOARE’s website explains.
“Through our Fellowship, we hope the power of the business community and the individual can work together to achieve equity for the more than 47 million Black Americans and end systemic racism. By improving the lives of Black Americans, we improve the well-being of our society as a whole.”
CEOARE is also focused on forming partnerships with academics, community leaders, decision makers, and nonprofit organizations, including Strategies for Children.
Please join us in this partnership by sharing this video with your professional and social networks. We are eager to spread the idea that having a strong system of early education is a victory for everyone.