Equity and COVID-19: Considering Equity in the Transition Back to School and Early Childhood Programs - Policy Recommendations

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of nearly every American. But the effects of COVID-19 are not equally distributed. Long-standing inequities in the United States stemming from policies and practices that discriminate against people of color in almost every aspect of life—housing, education, health, employment, wealth and economic mobility, and criminal justice— have made it so that communities of color are bearing a disproportionate amount of hardship under this pandemic. Indeed, COVID-19 does not discriminate, but the systems that created stubborn opportunity gaps, which contribute to disparities in outcomes, do.

Early childhood and education systems are not immune to these inequities. The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to exacerbate opportunity gaps if systems leaders are not intentional about addressing them. As states begin the reopening process, and as education and early childhood leaders are in the midst of transition planning, it is critical that they move forward with equity as an essential focal point.

The Children’s Equity Project (CEP) has developed a set of recommendations to support equitable transition planning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the full resource.

Contributing Authors

Dr. Shantel Meek, Lisa Gordon, Dr. Kent McIntosh, Dr. Rosemarie Allen, Dr. Camille Smith, Dr. Walter Gilliam, Dr. Evandra Catherine

Shantel Meek, PhD
Professor of Practice
T. Denny School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Dr. Shantel Meek is a Professor of Practice and the Founding Director of the Children's Equity Project, a multi-university initiative that aims to close opportunity gaps between children from historically marginalized communities and their peers. Dr. Meek previously served in the Obama Administration as a Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.

Lisa Gordon
Project Director
School Systems Partnerships and Programs with the Bank Street Education Center at Bank Street College

Lisa Gordon, is Project Director of School Systems Partnerships and Programs with the Bank Street Education Center at Bank Street College where she partners with schools, school systems, and districts across the US, to support positive learning outcomes for students and educators. She is co-founder of Colorful World, a women-owned diversity educational consulting firm whose mission is to facilitate the creation of inclusive learning environments that empower all children and families to succeed.

Kent McIntosh, PhD
Professor
Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences, University of Oregon

Kent McIntosh, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University of Oregon and Director of Educational and Community Supports, a research unit in the College of Education. He is Co-Director on the OSEP National Technical Assistance Center on PBIS and lead of the Center's Equity Workgroup, as well as a founding member of the PBIS-SCP Canada Network and a member of the board of directors of the Association for Positive Behavior Support.

Rosemarie Allen, PhD
President and CEO
Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence
Assistant Professor
School of Education, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Dr. Rosemarie Allen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is also the founder and CEO of the Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence (IREE) which serves as the lead agency for ensuring equity in educational practices. Rosemarie has served in directorship roles with the Colorado Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the State's child care licensing program, the federal child care assistance program, the redesign of the State's quality rating and improvement system, the implementation of the State's professional development plan, and assisted in the creation of Colorado's early learning guidelines. Dr. Allen also served on President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" (MBK) initiative, Early Childhood Task Force.

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE
Educational Psychologist
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE is an Educational Psychologist and Certified Childbirth Educator who has spent over 35 years working to strengthen families and communities by helping parents and the providers who serve them feel confident, strong and resilient. Most recently, she has worked as a Behavioral Scientist with the Learn the Signs. Act Early. Program in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Walter S. Gilliam, PhD
Director
The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy
Professor
Yale University Child Study Center

Dr. Walter S. Gilliam is Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center, as well as the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. He is a member of the board of directors for ZERO TO THREE, Child Care Aware of America, the Irving Harris Foundation; All Our Kin, and First Children's Finance; a research fellow of the National Institute for Early Education Research; and former Senior Advisor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Evandra Catherine, PhD
T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Dr. Evandra Catherine is a postdoctoral research scholar on the Children’s Equity Project. Dr. Catherine’s research focuses on inequities in the implementation of exclusionary discipline practices and the placement of preschool-aged children in segregated and self-contained settings, with an emphasis on boys of color. Evandra is the mother of a son with Aspergers’ and a United States Air Force Veteran. She was also a House of Delegates candidate in Virginia’s 2013 democratic primary and was awarded Top 40 Under 40 in Richmond, Virginia in 2015.