All children deserve access to opportunities that support them to thrive—in school, at home, and in the community. Yet, for millions of US children, their families, and their communities, access to such opportunities is affected by historic and present-day policies and practices that work in reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities.
Children from low-income families and children of color do not have the same access to high-quality educational opportunities as do their peers. Their educational outcomes are lower. The opportunity and achievement gaps start early and result in much lower rates of college completion and social mobility for these children. While a high-quality education is important across a child’s life, much of the brain’s development occurs during the early years. This makes it an essential time to reduce educational disparities and improve the lives of children.
The Foundation’s work focuses on both California and the United States. The program’s strategy spans birth-to-3rd-grade and recognizes that early learning happens in many settings, both within the formal education system and outside of it—most notably, within families.
Our two complementary portfolios include initiatives that focus on:
- enabling systemic conditions for high-quality adult-child interactions and positive learning environments; and
- supporting effective practices that foster these interactions within the systems and settings in which children from low-income families and children of color develop and learn.
Current initiatives include the Stabilizing the Early Childhood Education Workforce initiative, the Data for Action initiative, and the Creating Coherent Early Math Instruction in California initiative.
New initiatives will continue to be defined for each of these two portfolios.