The Western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Day 13

day 13: early childhood

Early childhood is one of the most critical times for developing healthy minds and bodies. Those who face the challenges of poverty, racism, discrimination, and inequitable access to resources, find themselves “behind the starting line” compared to their peers who do not face these issues. 

When a child enters school already behind, it is very difficult to catch up. Resources like universal pre-K, well-child health screenings, and quality childcare are key to ensuring that children enter kindergarten ready to learn and grow with their peers. Low-income Black and Latino families are the most at-risk for inequitable access to these essential resources. 

Fortunately, progress has been made in recent years. Since 2010, more than 40 states have instituted state-funded preschool programs and results show that children who attend a high-quality early learning program gain four months of learning, on average. In addition, children see positive gains throughout their lives including improved reading and math scores, better graduation rates, and higher income later in life. 

There is still more to be done to provide equitable access to resources that support healthy early childhood development.


Students who are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. (Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation)


  1. Read this U.S. News article on how ‘Education Inequality Starts Early’ for children in households with low incomes. (6 minutes)
  2. Watch this CBS News report on how systemic racism persists in early childhood education, where black preschool students are disproportionately facing harsh punishments, like suspension. (2 minutes)
  3. View this info-graphic that explains how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), like racism and community violence, without supportive adults, can cause what’s known as toxic stress. (2 minutes)



DAY 14: Education and School-Aged Children

Back to Day 12

Back to Pre-Challenge