Our Commitment to Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism and to Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
At the Schoenbaum Family Center (SFC) and Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy (Crane), we are committed to actively addressing and speaking out against racism and intolerance and to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. Our definition of diversity includes but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, color, nationality, biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, class, religious affiliation, disability, neurodiversity, age, military status, visa status, economic status, geographic location, and language/linguistic ability.
We believe that diversity is a critical component of a healthy work culture and the world at large. A diverse community cultivates diverse views, inspires new angles of inquiry and modes of analysis and research, and allows us to better serve our community and fulfill our land-grant mission at The Ohio State University. At our centers, we believe it is essential to be exposed to views and cultures other than one’s own and to have one’s opinions and assumptions challenged. Such engagement expands our horizons, enables understanding across difference, prevents complacency, and promotes intellectual breadth.
We are committed to evolving and to continual improvement to become a better and more inclusive organization in our pursuit of the values we hold dear. This commitment is in conjunction with plans and actions of the university and the College of Education and Human Ecology and includes the goal of cultivating a strong relationship with other departments within EHE and the university dedicated to DEI, including EDGE, The Kirwan Institute, and The Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
What this means for our day-to-day work
A commitment to anti-bias and anti-racism (ABAR) and to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a long-term one requiring action. Some ways in which we have engaged intentionally in this work include:
- 2020 Symposium on Children. Our most recent annual symposium was dedicated to learning about Anti-Bias and Anti-Racism in Early Childhood Education.
- A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning Policies. The School for Early Learning does not expel children who exhibit poor attendance or challenging behaviors, but instead partners and grows with the family and child to ensure school success. The school engages in focused professional development to support trauma-informed education and classroom practices to collaborate with families and continue successful education trajectories.
- DEI Advisory Council. Open to all Crane and SFC employees, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council is comprised of individuals who wish to help advance DEI initiatives within the organization. The Council works collaboratively with organizational leadership to move forward important initiatives to advance the centers’ work.
- SFC Book Study. Led by the Early Head Start education team, the group provides the opportunity for teachers and administrators to read and discuss, Don’t Look Away: Embracing ANTI-BIAS Classrooms. Through the reading, individuals reflect and consider perceptions and thought process when it comes to identifying their biases and minimizing biases in the classroom, school, and community.
- DEI monthly coffee break discussion. Led by DEI Advisory Council members, the discussion provides space and opportunity for employees to discuss recent topics related to DEI.
- Strategic Plan. Crane and SFC senior managers each have a goal addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their department. Senior managers meet monthly to discuss progress of department goals. Including these goals in the strategic plan creates accountability for senior leadership to take action on DEI initiatives.
- Publishing. The Executive Director for Crane and SFC, who is also the editor for the Early Childhood Research Quarterly (ECRQ), worked alongside a committee to create new publishing norms and processes that address bias in racism in early childhood research publishing. Among these is the commitment to elevate research that challenges whiteness, power, and privilege.
ABAR and DEI also deeply inform the various strands of our organizations’ work, which you can read more about below. While each area has its own focus, we also work collaboratively across these areas.
- Research. Crane’s research agenda aims to provide rigorous evidence to support the implementation of practices and policies that will strengthen children’s early learning and development and ultimately create a pathway to school, home, and life successes. We seek to conduct this research with an equity lens, with the goal of ensuring equitable opportunities for children in all facets of their lives. This is particularly important for children and families who are not afforded equitable opportunities due to poverty, institutional racism, adverse circumstances, or language and ability differences.
- Early childhood education. The A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning offers high-quality, research-based education and care to young children from diverse backgrounds. The School for Early Learning braids funding over 7 enrollment pathways and community partnerships to ensure that all children, regardless of family income and background, have access to high-quality, research-based early childhood education. This approach also has the potential to foster equitable learning environments for all children and narrow the opportunity gap for children of color and for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Teacher preparation and training. We are committed to addressing educational equity through teacher preparation and training. We strive to create programs to help teachers understand the roots of inequity and to help teachers develop the tools needed to address these root causes and help set children up for long-term success. Through internships, research, and observations, more students in early childhood education and allied professions placed in The School for Early Learning gain practical, hands-on experience working with diverse children and families to better prepare them for careers in urban educational settings. We ensure that all students trained within our walls develop a solid understanding of ABAR and DEI and are prepared to enter an increasingly diverse world. We also emphasize a growth mindset wherein we are committed to continual training and learning to better serve students.
- Community and stakeholder engagement. In all aspects of our engagement with the community, whether with families and children, partnering agencies or nonprofits, parents, policy makers, or the media, we strive to use an equity lens in highlighting the various, overlapping barriers facing children and families in relation to accessing equitable opportunities. We strive to challenge deficit language when we hear it, and to recognize the innate value and contributions of the populations we serve, research, or partner with.