Racial Equity

We know that not all kids need the same things to get a strong start in school and life, and racial inequities begin early. Evidence of the opportunity gap can be seen in children less than a year old. Children of color in Washington are more likely to be poor and further from opportunity.

The Opportunity Gap

Our state is only getting more diverse. A substantial proportion of the state’s growing numbers of poor children are non-white children who experience complex barriers that contribute to vast disparities in outcomes. Choosing to do nothing to close the opportunity gap only puts more children at-risk of not realizing their full potential. Read the State of Washington’s Children 2013 for more information.

Thrive has made a commitment to employ an equity lens in all of its work. Reframing our work through a racial equity lens engages us in courageous conversations that help us:

  • Learn from our experiences
  • Foster healing
  • Uncover policies, practices and behaviors that sustain unequal outcomes for children

A Vision for Racial Equity

The state’s Early Learning Plan describes what is necessary to support the healthy development of children and outlines a universal implementation approach, but it does NOT fully address the impact that race, culture and language have on child outcomes — particularly for children of color. Nor does the plan identify specific strategies to implement the ELP to intentionally remove and reduce these barriers keeping children from opportunity.

With funding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Thrive, its partners and other community stakeholders developed a Racial Equity Theory of Change for early learning in Washington state. It is a vision of what we want to accomplish, with the steps to get there, all informed and disciplined by a structural racism analytical framework.

Why it matters:

  • Provides collaborative vision and approach for all levels of WA’s early learning system
  • Identifies and helps us act on what we know about the best way to implement the policies, practices and cultural perspectives to realize the outcome we envision for children of color
  • Articulates how individuals, organizations and institutions can take both individual and collective action to reduce the opportunity gap