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Equity

What's new? Get the latest early childhood education (ECE) information and resources directly to your inbox.

The Pennsylvania Key recognizes that as long as race, religion, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, immigration status, gender, and gender identity continue to predict the future success, health, and prosperity of children and adults in our society, we, as an organization, must engage in intentional change. We believe that holding a safe space for dialogue among individuals from diverse perspectives and backgrounds is critical in moving toward deeper understanding of these complex issues and the actions necessary to address them. We seek out experiences that will provide transformational learning and healing. We choose this path together with humility, compassion, and grace, as we seek a more equitable future for all.

The Pennsylvania Key's Equity Statement
The Pennsylvania Key is committed to expanding the knowledge and advancing the efforts of equitable practice. Part of this journey has required identifying what is equity, and how to ensure equitable and high-quality service of care for the children, families, professionals, and communities.

Equity has been defined by many organizations as an effort or strategy to ensure all who need services have access to and an understanding about opportunities. This effort recognizes not everyone comes from the same starting place, and regardless of the identity or financial background of someone, there may be a need for assistance in different and unique ways. Since opportunities arise in personal and professional life, having the lens of equity and equitable practice, helps everyone succeed and benefit from these efforts.

Current events have engaged education professionals to reflect on practice and identify ways educators can play a critical role in expanding the awareness of equity. As administrations and programs find opportunities to advance their understanding of equity and equitable practices, part of that journey is providing clear strategies and examples of treating everyone with an equal amount of respect and care, regardless of race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, language, national origin, indigenous heritage, religion, or other identities.

Equity is part of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) larger framework, and is component of the narrative in the education profession. The combination of all four concepts allows for an innovative and newer approach of previously established diversity initiatives.

While diversity is used in this framework to recognize that varied experiences and backgrounds from those who are similar, inclusion is the effort to invite individuals from varying backgrounds to be a part of the work. Inclusion requires action in which all participants can connect, engage, collaborate, and contribute to a space and taking into consideration individual uniqueness.

Equity recognizes that not everyone comes from the same starting place, and regardless of the identity or financial background of someone, there may be a need for assistance in different and unique ways.

Belonging is the element of this framework that keeps participants engaged and active in the group. Belonging creates the space for individuals to feel valued and respected as they bring forth their diverse experiences and suggestions to the collective group.

All these concepts—diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging—are tied to retention of a high-quality workforce in the early childhood education profession.

As organizations continue to reflect on their journey with equity, here are several resources that may be helpful.

Pennsylvania's Equity in Early Childhood Education (ECE) Awards

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is preparing for the Third Annual Pennsylvania Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Awards! The award recognizes the work of the early childhood education (ECE) programs and professionals on behalf of Pennsylvania children and their families through embracing diversity and full inclusion as strengths, upholding fundamental principles of fairness and justice, and working to eliminate structural inequities that limit equitable learning opportunities.

Resources for A Greater Understanding of Equity

For assistance related to civil rights, you may contact the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) headquarters office in Washington D.C. or the OCR enforcement office serving your state or territory, visit ocrcas.ed.gov/contact-ocr.

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