Racial Equity Theory of Change

Our state’s road map to eliminate race as a predictor of success

The Racial Equity Theory of Change (RE-TOC) is the product of a collaborative community effort owned by early learning professionals in Washington state.

Thrive convened a group of over 100 early learning stakeholders in a year-long process to develop the RE-TOC to inform the implementation of the Early Learning Plan. This series of meetings was designed to be a conversation of stakeholders from across the state, including parents, practitioners, researchers, and community leaders, as well as partners at the Department of Early Learning (DEL) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), to closely examine the opportunity gap and how it manifests itself in the early learning system.

The theory of change, also called RE-TOC, has four building blocks.

  • Increase community voice and influence for those furthest away from opportunity
  • Inform practice with diverse measures and diverse stories
  • Make decisions that genuinely meet the requirements of communities of color
  • Design and implement systems that respond to children’s diverse situations

“Taking Up” the Work of Racial Equity

To realize the goal of the RE-TOC, we must all take up the work from the places where we have passion, leverage, and influence. To support that effort, our partners generated the Community of Practice for people who seek to take action to advance racial equity in early learning in Washington state. Participants in the Community of Practice learn together, practice and build muscle around being leaders for equity, and have a collective source of support as we carry out this work together and individually. The Community of Practice is a space where participants can bring actual pieces of work with them to test, develop and learn with peers.

These combined efforts undertaken by early learning stakeholders will collectively create greater momentum and commitment to ensure a future in which race is eliminated as a predictor of progress and success for children birth through third grade.

Thrive’s Role

Thrive applies a racial equity lens to all of its work. In the earlier stages of this work, Thrive convened Community of Practice conversations about racial equity and offered grants to organizations whose efforts advance the RE-TOC and can help to inform Thrive’s core bodies of work.

Now, Thrive prioritizes racial equity in the work of all its grantees, with special training and technical assistance in this area for Thrive’s partners and grantees to hold community conversations and advocate for policies and programs that advance racial equity.