Updated: Jul 30
Thank you for joining the State of Black Children in Georgia webinar for an overview of NBCDI's State of the Black Child Report Card - Georgia. If you missed this webinar, you are in luck! We highlight key points from the webinar below for your review. You can also access the recording (Password: rfn$x7E*) and view the slides from this webinar below.
Cemeré James, Senior Vice President of Policy at NBCDI, and Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis, President of BCDI-Atlanta led this webinar and offered much information on programs and initiatives to enhance the outcomes of Black children, their families, and communities.
NBCDI's Action Agenda:
Eliminate suspensions and expulsions in early childhood education.
Challenge early learning centers and elementary schools to provide comprehensive, aligned, wrap-around supports as a core service.
Challenge school districts to better equip educators to meaningfully partner with parents.
Challenge parents and caregivers to engage in daily development brain activities and health practices.
Challenge all Black adults to invest their energy and talents into public education.
State of the Black Child Report Cards
The purpose of the State of the Black Child Report Card is to accelerate the progress of racial equity in our nation and assist policymakers, educators, parents, caregivers, and community leaders in advocating for and working towards the improvement of education, health and family support systems for Black children and families.
The State of the Black Child Report Card consists of policy recommendations that address the ongoing racial disparities that are extremely detrimental to the outcomes of Black children and families.
State of the Black Child Report Card- Georgia
Support Positive Discipline and End Suspensions and Expulsions.
Black Children make up 37% of children in Georgia's public schools, however are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended as White students.
In Georgia, it is mandated that a multi-tiered support system that includes families, administrators, teachers, and social service organizations is engaged before expelling or delivering a five day suspension to a child enrolled in in preschool through third grade. NBCDI offers a more deliberate and purposive initiative that may prevent the suspension and expulsion of young children:
Engage the multi-tiered support system to support teachers and children before disciplinary action is needed, and
Provide annual professional development on positive guidance, racial bias, and developmentally-appropriate practices for educators.
Increase Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education for Black Children.
In 2016, 12% of Black Georgians lived in Zip codes with limited access to affordable, high quality child care services.
Many working families cannot afford infant care, which cost on average $8,327 per year in Georgia. The Childcare and Parent Services program (CAPS), which serves only 8.5% of eligible Georgia families, was introduced to provide low income families with financial assistance so that these families may have equal access to high-quality child care for their children. NBCDI suggests the amendment of eligibility criteria so that more low income families may have access to high-quality child care.
Support Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health of Black Children
Georgia has ranked last in the U.S. regarding the school psychologist to student ratio (1:6, 389; the national recommendation is 1:700)
People of color have less access to quality mental health care services. NBCDI advises that there is a need to increase people of color's access to quality mental health care. This can be done by ensuring that schools contain an appropriate number of certified school-based specialists, including psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, etc., necessary to meet the needs of children.
This is especially important as children deal with the emotional impact of COVID-19.
Ensure Teacher Diversity Reflects the Diversity of Students
Black children comprise 37% of Georgia's public school teachers, however 26% of the teachers are Black.
It is important that students see educators who look like them in positions of leadership and in their classrooms.
NBCDI suggests the increase of recruitment and retainment strategies at all levels from early childhood education through high school in regards to Black educators. This can be done by:
actively engaging diverse participants in educator preparation and scholarship programs
streamlining hiring processes, and
enhancing the work environment for educators.
NBCDI challenges policymakers to expand scholarship programs to increase access to higher education for Black early childhood educators.
Equip Educators to Partner Meaningfully with Black Parents and Caregivers
Many Black parents feel unwelcomed and silenced from their children's schools.
Highlight the voices of Black parents and caregivers in the decision-making process as it concerns education funding, discipline policies and school climate from early childhood education through high school. Some research suggests that children perform better when families and schools are united. However, parents often feel excluded from the decision making process. In order for family and schools to successfully unite, educators must be adequately trained with the tools to create positive learning environments for Black children and engage parents as partners.
Below is a brief overview on a few of BCDI-Atlanta's initiatives that were highlighted in the webinar. Please visit BCDI-Atlanta's Programs page for more information on our many initiatives and partnerships that support our 6 core focus areas.
Our goal is to ensure that Black people understand the importance of completing the Census and voting.
Visit the following websites to learn about our census and voting initiatives:
Get out the Count --> blackchildrencount.org
Get out the Vote --> BCDI's Policy Page
Learn more about our partnership with Fair Count and "We Count" Storytime
Early Care and Education
Our goal is to help educators better support Blacks children and their families.
Refresh ECE Projects
2 day "Level Up" Conference (Canceled due to COVID-19 complications)
2021 Conference collaboration with Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children
Our goal is to honor the skills and strengths that families already have, but to also help them develop and strengthen their child-rearing skills.
BCDI-Atlanta's newly funded two-generational Powerful Families program.
Health & Wellness
Our goal is to provide culturally-relevant health information to Black families to encourage a more healthier lifestyle.
We are seeking funding to extend the Good For Me program to Atlanta, and for our new trauma-informed care program, called Strength Within.
Visit our COVID-19 page for a list of supports to help families and programs during this time.
Our goal is to increase the culturally-relevant books provided in early childcare programs, and support literacy development among Black children.
Through our Read to Succeed Program, we are offering
State-approved literacy workshops to family childcare providers
FREE culturally-relevant books to every child in the childcare centers, a long with books for each childcare center library
Read-alouds and lesson plans for the provided books from Georgia State University-Perimeter College Early childhood education majors
Our goal is to support Black parents so that they may build healthy relationships with their children.
Community Cafes, in partnership with United Way
Thank you to NBCDI for providing the Georgia State of the Black Child Report Card so that we could send a summarized overview to our local community, and to Senior Vice President of Policy, Cemeré James for being a part of the conversation!