Advancing Equity: The Story of a Position Statement
A Note from NAEYC:
This blog, which tells some of the story of how the Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement came about, is a part of Equity in Action, a blog series exploring the many ways early childhood educators and administrators, higher education faculty members, policymakers, advocates, and other ECE allies can bring the new Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement to life in practice and policy. We hope readers engage with the ideas presented in each blog post, and offer reflections on how you will integrate them in your own work, by posting in the comments below, on Hello!, and on social media, using #EquityinECE.
Such an exciting and important time for our field, and NAEYC, as we have launched the Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement and embark on new and more intentional ways to turn its words into actions. As Chair of the Early Learning Systems Committee of the NAEYC Governing Board, I would like to take a few moments to reflect on the process and share some of my hopes as this important and relevant position statement has “gone live” and the field begins to wrestles with how to put it into practice!
In 2017, after a review of NAEYC’s current position statements, the Governing Board charged the Early Learning Systems Committee with revising both the Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) position statement and the position statement on Early Childhood teacher preparation. In addition, the Governing Board wanted to create a position statement which addressed some of the societal issues we face today, particularly around equity and diversity. We began vetting experts in the field to add their voices to this work in the fall of 2017. Two workgroups were created – one to focus on revisions to the ECE teacher preparation standards and the other to focus on revisions to DAP and the creation of the new position on equity and diversity.
Many are eager to more fully live the words that have been adopted in this position statement...
In January 2018 the DAP/Equity Workgroup set out to formally begin the process and we gathered nearly 30 thought leaders of our field to think hard and work hard. What we realized very quickly was that we could not revise the DAP position statement without first having the guidance that a formal position on equity had to offer to the process. So, we switched gears and began the very rich and meaningful dialogues that were the foundation for this “Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education” position statement. The process included writing drafts that were guided by DAP/Equity Workgroup conversations and several opportunities for public comment. This iterative process resulted in a stronger position statement with each draft., w We released it with pride and with the hope that it will significantly impact our field and the children and families we serve.
For this position statement to really make a difference and to be used by the field, we know that resources and supports must be in place, and we are begun to work towards that goal. Many are eager to more fully live the words that have been adopted in this position statement, and I am grateful to all of the NAEYC Staff, DAP/Equity Workgroup members, and Early Learning Systems members who contributed to this work and have now created ways to bring the values of this position statement to life, especially with newly-created resources. And, kudos to the many members who took the time to weigh in and offer personal and professional insights. Your words of wisdom were not only considered, but valued in the position’s development. This resulting document has the potential to be transformative!
Our challenge now is to turn these words into action...
One of the most important lessons that I learned over the course of the process is that words matter. The Equity Statement is a set of very carefully selected words with important intentions behind them. Our challenge now is to turn these words into action so that “all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential”! It begins with each and every one of us in our daily interactions with one another…inside the classroom and out! Are you leading with equity? Are you teaching with equity? Are you caring with equity? Are you going through your day with equity? No matter your role in this profession, equity should be at the forefront! With equity as our focus, we will make a difference!
Elisa Huss-Hage is Chair, Early Learning Systems Committee at NAEYC.