New Report: Toward a More Equitable Tomorrow: A Landscape Analysis of Early Childhood Leadership
Posted by Aspen Institute on May 31, 2022
Leadership that reflects the full diversity and genius of our communities, sectors, identities, and lived experiences matters now more than ever. In Toward A More Equitable Tomorrow: A Landscape Analysis of Early Childhood Leadership, we uncover the essentials for future leadership investments that value and center equity—especially racial equity and inclusion—to surface new possibilities and equitable prosperity moving forward. Insights from stakeholders including state and federal cabinet directors, service providers, funders, and parents offer powerful perspectives to guide the future early childhood field, and guide those who seek to accelerate families’ well-being, educational success, and economic mobility.
What came through loud and clear with every parent and partner we spoke to is that this moment demands leadership that reflects the full talent of our country, and that is courageous, collaborative, and visionary. If we are serious about a bold new path for early childhood, we must invest in the leaders who will shape and sustain the policies and systems needed to change the trajectory of our youngest children and families.
More specifically, there are six priorities that stand out for cultivating transformative leadership.
- Curate racially diverse leadership cohorts and design experiences for learning and growth that are centered around racial equity as a value, behavior, and outcome.
- Enable work across systems, bringing together siloes for more effective and efficient work with lasting outcomes, making this a field and policy expectation.
- Make better sense of the economics that drive care now, to build a system that makes sense for the care workforce and for those who need services.
- Integrate lived experience; don’t leave it on the sidelines. We need families’ expertise to improve and transform systems and services of care for our families and children. Parents and caregivers are partners well-positioned to offer insights and ideas so our policies, practices, and systems are respectful, culturally resonant, and work better.
- Our leadership forces need to be strong case makers. Change isn’t easy and a contagious vision is essential to build support for bold action. Leaders need to excel at telling stories that capture our imaginations and motivate us to do more for our families and children.
- Finally, if we do the same thing, we’ll get the same results—and that isn’t good enough. We need leadership that is open to innovation, that is eager to apply what we have learned can improve the lives of children and families, and is able to see failure as the source of valuable lessons rather than a reason to avoid risks.
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