Two thousand and twenty was a year that exposed many painful racial inequities in our society and demanded that we take stock of how systemic racism and oppression lives within all industries and sectors—including our early learning and care system.
The global pandemic has made it clear like never before: the early learning and care field is indispensable. This workforce, predominantly women of color, serves as the essential workers to the essential workers and families and is critical to California’s economy.
Advancement Project California developed this blog series that builds on our partners’ vital work to document the current state of California’s early learning and care system under COVID-19. The series begins with a review of the field’s history and the foundations of systemic racism in early learning that still impacts us today. The rest of the series are stories of family child care providers committed to serving children despite the pandemic dangers. These stories shed light on what this field is grappling with and what support they need.
Governor Newsom’s January budget has made it a priority to support child care providers who offer safe environments for children during the pandemic and have an additional responsibility to support school-aged children with distance learning. It will be critical to ensure the state invests in the early learning and care system through the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery.
We hope this series helps us better understand how coupled with California’s new Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, California has the opportunity to take initial steps to build an early learning and care system that begins to address the foundations of systemic racism and advances racial equity and economic justice for California’s children and the dedicated providers that serve them.
- Tracing the Roots of Systemic Racism in the US Early Childhood System
- Saving What Is Left of Early Childhood
- Daily Reality of Home-based Child Care Providers During COVID-19
- Quality Learning and Care that Women of Color Providers Bring Amidst COVID-19
- Serving Infants, Toddlers, and School-aged Children During COVID-19
- Jumping Hoops and New Ways to Show Love
- The Necessity of Staying Open During COVID-19
- Navigating an Uncertain Reality
- I Am Whole
- State and Local Resources to Support Early Learning and Care
- In-depth Supplement to the Essential Workers to the Essential Workers Blog Post Series
Jessenia Reyes, Associate Director, Educational Equity, Policy
Ernesto Saldaña, Associate Director, Educational Equity, Programs
Emma Watson, former Senior Policy Analyst
Esther Nguyen, Policy and Research Analyst
JunHee Doh, Senior Policy Analyst
STORY DEVELOPMENT & EDITING
Vickie Ramos Harris, Director of Educational Equity
Katie Smith, Director of Communications
Amy Sausser, Director of Development
Jennifer Arceneaux, Associate Director of Development, Foundation Relations
Katie Smith, Director of Communications
Ronald Simms, Jr., Communications Manager
The Supporting the Essential Workers of the Essential Workers blog series was made possible through the generous funding and support from First 5 Los Angeles, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the Sobrato Family Foundation.
We offer our gratitude to the dedicated early learning and care (ELC) providers who shared their stories with us and serve on the front lines to support children and families through the global pandemic:
- Sue Carrera
- Crystal Jones
- Esperanza Melo
- Tameka Runnels-Gibson
- Renaldo Sanders
- Sharon Sar
- Catherine Scott
We also want to thank our invaluable partners who helped us connect to ELC providers, supported our research, and provided their incredible insight on the state of early childhood in California that was woven into the context of these stories, including:
- Linda Asato, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- Lea Austin, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment
- Jen Baca, SEIU Local 99
- Ofelia Carrillo, SEIU Local 99
- Domenica Benitez, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- Gemma DiMatteo, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- Kelly Graesch, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- Jessica Guerra, Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles
- September Hill, formerly with Crystal Stairs, Inc.
- Ritu Mahajan, Public Counsel
- Melissa Noriega , SEIU Local 99
- Keisha Nzewi, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- Michele Sartell, Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education
- Jerri Stewart, Child Care Resource Center
- Julie Taren, Infant Development Association of California
- Ashley C. Williams, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment
- Cindy Young, Long Beach Unified School District, Child Development Center