Professor Frankenberg’s report, the first I have seen to document the stark lack of diversity in our preschools, suggests that in too many communities we continue to fail our children. As long as we fail to create the integrative conditions that support children to see each other as fully human across lines of race and class, the cost of our failure will continue to be etched in newspaper headlines and reflected in our color-coded social networks and polarized politics. The promising news is that in the midst of the present turmoil more and more people of all racial stripes are calling for ways to do the work of racial healing and justice in our homes, schools, and communities. It is my fervent hope that this brief report can help sound the alarm about the imperative to begin that work with the youngest among us. Parents, teachers, daycare providers, community members, superintendents, elected officials and policymakers -- we all have important parts to play.
Thus, attending to preschool diversity could help to close kindergarten readiness gaps and lay the foundation for students from all back- grounds to play and learn together across racial and economic lines.
Creating integrated early-childhood programs is likely “beyond where many states are thinking,” said Danielle Ewen, a senior policy adviser at EducationCounsel, a D.C.-based consulting organization. Most have focused on expanding services to children with the greatest needs, she said, adding that creating more integrated classrooms “is something states might think about when they are looking for best practices.”