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Written by Marsha Basloe, President of CCSA

Dr. Walter Gilliam presenting Implicit Biases in Early Childhood Settings at the Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Institute 2019 Conference on March 11, 2019.

“Better Together” was the theme of this year’s Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Institute held in Greensboro, N.C. in March, and Mary Erwin recently shared details of the Institute. A highlight of this year’s conference was the keynote delivered by Dr. Walter Gilliam from the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale. This blog is to keep the keynote information on our minds and in our work.

Delivered in a “TED talk” manner, Dr. Gilliam shared his research on implicit bias with the audience and the implications research has on both policy and practice impacting the early childhood workforce and children in early learning settings.

What is Implicit Bias?

Webster’s dictionary defines it as “bias that results from the tendency to process information based on unconscious associations and feelings, even when these are contrary to one’s conscious or declared beliefs”.

What is the Relationship Between Implicit Bias and Early Childhood Settings?

Dr. Gilliam shared data from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights that found black boys in particular were disproportionately suspended or expelled from preschool. To learn more about whether this may be related to the behavior of the child or the perceptions of the teaching workforce, Dr. Gilliam and his team at Yale conducted a study.  Specifically, Dr. Gilliam wanted to see whether implicit biases may play a role in identifying children with challenging behaviors.

Video Observation Study

Dr. Gilliam’s team recruited participants at a nationwide conference of early childhood educators. Early childhood teachers were asked to watch several video clips of preschool children engaged in typical table top activities. The children were racially balanced (one white boy and girl and one black boy and girl). Early childhood teachers were told the study was related to better understanding to how teachers detect challenging behaviors in the classroom. They were told sometimes this involves seeing behavior before it becomes a problem and were asked to press the enter key on a computer keyboard every time they saw a behavior that could become a potential challenge. They were told the video clips may or may not contain challenging behaviors and to press the keypad as often as needed. In addition to the keypad entries, an eye tracking device was used to log the time teachers spent watching the behavior of individual children. (For frame of reference with regard to the children, they were child actors and no challenging behaviors were present).

Heat map related to study participants’ child behavior observations. (Photo Credit: Yale Child Study Center)

Results

Dr. Gilliam and his team found teachers spent more time looking at boys and at black children than girls and white children. In particular, teachers spent more time watching the black boy in the videos. When teachers were asked explicitly which of the children required most of their attention, 42% indicated the black boy, 34% indicated the white boy, 13% indicated the white girl, and 10% indicated the black girl. The race of the teacher did not impact the findings.

Background Information Study

A second part of the study was related to finding out if teachers were provided information about the child’s background, whether that impacted their perception of the severity of the behavior and their ability to impact the child’s behavior. For this part of the study, early childhood teachers were given a brief description of a preschool student with his or her behavioral challenges. The description of child behaviors remained the same, but the name of the child associated with the description changed to reflect stereotypical black and white girl and boy names (Latoya, Emily, DeShawn and Jake).

To test if teachers changed their perceptions of the child’s behavior when given a brief family background summary, some teachers were also given more context related to the child’s home environment (e.g., the child lives with a single mother working multiple jobs and who struggles with depression but doesn’t have resources to receive help; the father is barely around, but when he is around, the parents fight loudly in front of the children, and sometimes violent disputes occur). The study randomized whether the early childhood teachers received background information or not.

Results

Dr. Gilliam and his team found that teachers appeared to expect challenging behaviors more from black children and specifically black boys. Without family background, white teachers seemed to hold black children to lower behavioral expectations. In contrast, black teachers held black children to very high standards.

The provision of family background information caused different perceptions based on teacher-child race. For example, when black teachers were provided with family background information on black children, teachers rated child behavior as less severe. When white teachers were provided with family background information on black children, behavior severity ratings increased – potentially indicating knowing family stressors may lead to feelings of hopelessness that behavior problems can improve.

The Role of Implicit Bias in Early Childhood Settings

Dr. Gilliam explained that understanding the role implicit bias may play in child care and early learning settings is the first step toward addressing racial disparities in discipline approaches. He explained that interventions are underway throughout the country designed to address biases directly or increase teachers’ empathy for children (which paves the way for more effective strategies related to children’s learning styles and behaviors).

Progress in North Carolina

North Carolina is beginning to review and implement strategies to address implicit bias, give early childhood teachers strategies to promote more effective ways to address challenging behavior and to support high-quality child care programs through better teacher-child interactions.

For example, the Infant Toddler Quality Enhancement Project (ITQEP) provides technical assistance through the statewide CCR&R system to better support infant and toddler staff and to improve teacher and child interactions. Staff participating in the Healthy Social Behaviors project use the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) Pyramid Model to provide tiered support based on individual classroom needs.

We are exploring infant and toddler mental health consultant evidence-based approaches as well as the use of tools to improve teacher-child interactions through the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), which measures teacher interactions and is paired with specific improvement strategies identified through observational assessments. Overall, practice-based coaching models can impact teacher strategies to better meet the needs of children.

For more information on Dr. Gilliam’s research, check out this research brief and the work of the Yale Edward Zigler Center and Child Development and Social Policy.  

Written by Jennifer Gioia, CCSA Communications Manager

Former Gov. James Hunt (right) presents the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award to winner Robin Britt (left), Executive Director of Guilford Child Development, at Child Care Services Association’s 45th Anniversary Celebration. (Photographer: Phil Thalheimer)

Last Friday, April 5, 2019, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) celebrated 45 years of service at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in RTP with a dinner, a silent auction and an award ceremony. While the rain poured, more than 200 people celebrated with CCSA. Many special guests joined, including:

  • The Honorable Governor James Hunt and Carolyn Hunt;
  • Susan Perry-Manning, principal deputy secretary of NCDHHS;
  • Durham County Commissioners: Wendy Jacobs, Heidi Carter, James Hill and Brenda Howerton;
  • Representatives Verla Insko from Orange County and MaryAnn Black from Durham County;
  • Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street;
  • Janet Singerman, president, Child Care Resources Inc.;
  • Michele Rivest, policy director, North Carolina Early Education Coalition;
  • Cindy Watkins, president, North Carolina Partnership for Children;
  • Representatives from Orange County Partnership for Children;
  • Beth Messersmith from North Carolina MomsRising;
  • Becki Planchard from NCDHHS;
  • Gerry Cobb, Director of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative;
  • Robin Britt, executive director of Guilford Child Development (GCD) and this year’s winner of the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership award;
  • And the Honorary Committee members who helped us launch this event.
Julie Wilson, ABC11 WTVD (Photographer: Phil Thalheimer)

We were thrilled to have Julie Wilson, ABC11 WTVD Eyewitness News’ Breaking News Anchor, host the celebration.

During the reception, many people mingled and placed bids on a variety of exciting items in our silent auction from local politicians to early childhood education teachers and directors to early childhood education industry leaders and experts.

Peggy Ball, chair of CCSA’s Board of Directors, spoke briefly before Reverend Dr. Michael Page, who also sits on CCSA’s board, delivered an inspiring invocation before dinner.

After dinner, Susan Perry-Manning, principal deputy secretary of NCDHHS, spoke on behalf of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Perry-Manning congratulated Britt as the winner of the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award and thanked many in the room for inspiring her, including former Gov. Hunt for his leadership, dedication and commitment to improving the quality of child care and education in North Carolina and across the country.

Terry David, president of the North Carolina Head Start Association and Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project (CHTOP), Silver sponsor of the night, presented Britt with a certificate on behalf of the North Carolina Head Start Association for his years of dedicated service to improving the lives of so many children.

Sue Russell, CCSA’s first president and current executive director of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center, spoke about Gov. Hunt’s decades of leadership and service, including his four historic terms as governor of North Carolina, his efforts to improve North Carolina public schools’ test scores, the establishment of the Smart Start program during his tenure, and many awards recognizing his focus on early childhood education.

Former Gov. James Hunt speaking at CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration. (Photographer: Phil Thalheimer)

Gov. Hunt emphasized how important the work of early childhood educators is for young children and their families and educators. Throughout his years, he’s seen with compassion and conviction, we can bring change to improve the lives of many and continue to expand our services so every child has access to high quality, affordable child care—that it is a child’s right to a high quality education. “Helping the little children is the best thing we can do for them and for our future,” Gov. Hunt said.

Gov. Hunt presented the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award to Britt. CCSA established the award in 1995 to honor North Carolinians who make a difference in the lives of young children in the state. It was named in honor of Gov. and Mrs. Hunt for their years of dedication and service. He also recognized five of the 13 previous award recipients in attendance: Peggy Ball, Dick Clifford, Carolyn Cobb, Michele Rivest and Karen Ponder.

(From left to right) Carolyn Hunt, Robin Britt and Gov. James Hunt. (Photographer: Phil Thalheimer)

Gov. Hunt spoke about how he met Britt during his second term as governor while Britt served in the House of Representatives. He lauded Britt for his leadership, integrity, and care for North Carolina’s children.

Finally, CCSA President Marsha Basloe, spoke.

“I have only been at the helm of CCSA for a little more than a year,” she said, “and although in Durham for many years and an SS partner with CCSA, I now truly have learned of its programs, its passion and its people. All three go hand in hand…CCSA conceives, studies, experiments, implements and tests until we arrive at models worthy of system change. Now we know…there is no excuse for not providing high quality experiences for children.”

Basloe closed the evening by looking toward the future.

“We need to focus on improving the experiences being provided to our infants and toddlers,” she said. “We need to strive for our teachers to be adequately compensated for the work that they do—teachers need to receive a fair rate for the quality they provide regardless where they teach—and we need to make sure the support systems we have built for so many years remains in place to support all of these endeavors.”

CCSA wouldn’t be what it is today without the leadership and dedication of our staff, our first president, Sue Russell, our second president, Anna Carter, and our dedicated leadership team of vice presidents and Board of Directors.

We would not have been able to celebrate 45 years without our generous sponsors. Our sincere thanks to:

  • Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project,
  • Lakeshore,
  • Merchants Foodservice,
  • Triangle Community Foundation,
  • Blackman & Sloop,
  • The Cemala Foundation,
  • Budget Courier,
  • Illuminated Direction,
  • Kaplan Early Learning Company,
  • Alice Thorp,
  • White Rock Child Development,
  • Liz Winer and
  • an anonymous donor.

Thank you as well to our wonderful table sponsors for their support:

  • Richard Burton,
  • Daniel Hudgins,
  • Capital Bank,
  • Gerry Cobb,
  • Community School for People Under Six,
  • Durham County Government,
  • East Durham Children’s Initiative,
  • Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute,
  • Guilford Child Development,
  • North Carolina Early Education Coalition,
  • Orange County Partnership for Young Children and
  • Wake County Smart Start.

Thank you also to everyone who donated a silent auction item, to everyone who came out on a rainy Friday night to celebrate 45 years of service at CCSA and to everyone who helped, in some way, to improve the lives of North Carolina’s youngest children, their families and early childhood educators.

Here’s to another 45 years of Child Care Services Association!

Written by Mary Erwin, CCR&R Council Coordinator at CCSA

“When we identify where our privilege intersects with somebody else’s oppression, we’ll find our opportunities to make real change.” 
― Ijeoma Oluo

“Better Together!” That was the theme of this year’s 2019 CCR&R Institute held at the Greensboro Downtown Marriott on March 12th and 13th, and it was an opportunity to congregate, enjoy each other’s company, learn how to excel at our jobs, get rejuvenated and also to explore how implicit bias affects early childhood education.

Over 170 staff and 24 presenters from child care resource and referral, Smart Start, Frank Porter Graham Center, UNCG, SchoolHouse Connection, Self Help, the Salvation Army, the Abecedarian Education Foundation, MomsRising and many more gathered from every region across the state for the annual CCR&R professional development conference. Sponsors of the event included Kaplan Early Learning®, Lakeshore Learning®, Discount School Supply®, Teachstone®, The Greensboro Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Self Help Credit Union. The NC CCR&R Council could not convene the conference without these corporate champions!

Dr. Kristi Snuggs

Conference highlights included:

  • ThinkBabies® Train the Trainer through the NC Early Education Coalition, Dr. Kristi Snuggs’ opening plenary speech about upcoming opportunities and positive changes at the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education and the terrific keynote and session from Dr. Walter Gilliam on implicit bias in early education!
  • Session attendees also learned about increasing access to subsidized child care for children experiencing homelessness and how to be a better advocate for babies and toddlers.
  • Technical assistance and professional development staff received training on helping child care providers understand and address children’s challenging behaviors and the benefits of coaching and mentoring when working with teachers in the classroom.
  • The impacts of family separation on immigrant families and processes to strengthen resilience among children was a popular subject.
  • Save the Children shared the unique needs of children in emergency situations and offered a continuing education credit on helping children cope with crisis and helping caregivers recover!
  • Paid family leave was a topic as well as using multicultural books in the classroom.
  • Community Self Help taught CCR&Rs how to help providers construct budgets that work in their favor as well as recognizing trends and formulating the true cost of child care.
Woolworth’s Lunch Counter

Tuesday night’s reception at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum welcomed approximately 100 conference attendees for a beautiful cocktail party and tour of the original Woolworth’s Lunch Counter where four NC A&T University students started the sit-in movement in 1960. The lovely event was catered by Guilford Child Development’s Regional CCR&R, sponsor of the event along with the Greensboro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau!

Dr. Gilliam

Dr. Gilliam leads The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University where research and policy analyses focus on early childhood development and intervention programs. During the keynote on Wednesday, attendees gained insight on how implicit biases affect nearly everything we do, even as early childhood professionals. The keynote address dug down to the core of so many of our current issues. Click here to see and hear Dr. Gilliam’s similar keynote address at Dayton’s Readiness Conference.

Quotes from the conference:

“You and the NC CCR&R Council team did a phenomenal job!”

“Great event. Good energy all around. You guys have it going on!”

“It was great working with you.”

“I thought I was in a TED Talk and I was going to vote for [Dr. Gilliam] for president!”

Jennifer Lacewell is the director of White Rock Child Development Center in Durham, NC. She is a recent master’s graduate thanks to CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. NC Early Childhood Scholarship program, and as of March 2019, one of the newly chosen sites for the Durham PreK pipeline project. See her celebrate 45 years with CCSA this April 5th!

Learn more about CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration here.

In celebration of 45 years, this March, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) will be sharing videos from early childhood care and education industry experts. Florianna Thompson is an instructor and Wake Tech and Adjunct Instructor at Durham Tech. Hear her story about how CCSA’s 45 years of service has helped her come full circle thanks to CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. NC program.

Learn more about CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration here.

In celebration of 45 years, this March, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) will be sharing videos from early childhood care and education industry experts. Our third video focuses on CCSA’s impact over these past 45 years on NC’s workforce, children and families as told by Anna Carter, the second president of CCSA.

Learn more about CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration here.

2019 is an exciting year for CCSA as we’re celebrating 45 years of service! Before the big celebration April 5th, read the newest edition of CCSA Communicates, our quarterly newsletter that details what we have been up to on behalf of our youngest children.

 

 

Highlights from this edition:

  • Letter from the President
  • Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$
  • What to look forward to at CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration
  • Durham PreK
  • Shape NC
  • Early Childhood Homelessness
  • And much more!

Read the newest edition of CCSA Communicates here!

Jennifer Gioia, Communications Manager of Child Care Services Association

Carolina Demography Releases Info about North Carolina’s Leaky Education Pipeline, T.E.A.C.H. NC Can Help to Seal the Gaps

Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill has been slowly trickling information about North Carolina’s Leaky Education Pipeline since last month. Robert Kinlaw at EdNC writes, “Most people in North Carolina don’t have any education beyond high school. That’s a big problem for the state’s workforce. If we think about the path to higher education as a pipeline, we can find the ‘leaks’ where students often fall out of their journey to a degree or credential.”

“The fastest-growing sectors of North Carolina’s economy demand employees with increasingly higher levels of educational attainment. By 2020, an estimated 67% of all jobs in North Carolina will require some education and training beyond high school. Today, 47% of North Carolina’s 5.3 million working-age adults (25-64 years old) have a postsecondary degree or nondegree credential,” writes Rebecca Tippett, Director of the Carolina Demography, and Jessica Stanford, Demographic Analyst of the Carolina Demography.

“Educational attainment is part of a decades-long process. It is the sum of educational experiences and exposures that begin at birth and continue well into adulthood. Overall pipeline completion—measured here as the timely completion of a postsecondary degree—is the cumulative result of success across multiple transition points in K-12 and postsecondary. Each transition point offers an opportunity for intervention to improve educational outcomes for individuals and North Carolina as a whole” (North Carolina’s Education Pipeline).

Tippett and Stanford suggest “Students currently in the state’s K-12 system represent the largest potential opportunity for North Carolina to move towards 60%” by 2030. However, let us not forget the largest potential opportunity for North Carolina is also in its youngest children—birth-5 years old—and those in the early childhood care and education workforce.

Potential in North Carolina’s Birth-5 Years Old

In many important ways, our preschool years determine our future competitive role in the global economy, the public safety of our communities, the cost-effective investment of public and private dollars and the success of welfare reform. Current research has shown that the early years (ages birth-5) are the most sensitive for brain development. More than 90% of brain growth occurs during this period. The people who help care for a child are also those who help shape a child’s mind. Studies show that children who receive quality child care enter school with better math, language and social skills. These skills give children a good start to succeed in school and in life.

To ensure North Carolina’s youngest children have access to affordable, high-quality child care, we must also focus on the teachers and providers who care for and educate birth-5 year olds. For many educators, barriers such as low wages, having children of their own, working full time and/or being a person of color stand in the way of furthering their education. “If we are to meet the demands of tomorrow’s job market, all North Carolinians must be able to realize the promise of education, particularly nontraditional students, minority and low-income students, rural students, and others who are disproportionately affected by challenges associated with postsecondary access and completion” (Tippett and Stanford).

Potential in North Carolina’s Early Childhood Workforce

The Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (T.E.A.C.H.) Early Childhood® North Carolina Scholarship program takes on the issues facing many early childhood educators—under-education, low compensation and high turnover rates—by offering professional development opportunities for early childhood educators in North Carolina. As they complete coursework along a degree pathway, participants increase their marketability in the early childhood education system and experience incremental growth in their wages as well.

Nearly 49% of teachers working toward a bachelor’s degree through T.E.A.C.H. NC said they were not considering furthering their education before they heard about T.E.A.C.H. In fiscal year 2018, T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipients were enrolled in 55 of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges, as well as in 12 state-supported universities and four private colleges. T.E.A.C.H. NC scholarships give them significant financial support and an experienced counselor to help them navigate the obstacles they may face in their personal life, career or in the higher education system.

“A highly trained workforce is a key driver of economic growth. Employers are drawn to regions where they can easily hire and retain skilled employees, and communities benefit substantially when new industries move to town or existing companies grow. More-educated workers are less likely to be unemployed and more likely to earn higher family-supporting wages. In addition, increased educational attainment is a powerful predictor of adult well-being, including better physical and mental health outcomes, more stable relationships, and greater civic knowledge and engagement. Adults’ educational attainment is also a key predictor of their children’s own level of education and wages” (Tippett and Stanford).

T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipients represent the ethnic diversity of the children in North Carolina. Compared to 47% of the early care and education workforce statewide, nearly 50% of T.E.A.C.H. scholarship recipients are people of color. Recognizing the diverse educational backgrounds of the early childhood workforce, T.E.A.C.H. NC offers scholarship programs ranging from those appropriate for early childhood educators with no formal education beyond high school to scholarships that help degreed teachers earn their Birth-Kindergarten License or an Early Childhood Leadership Master’s Degree.

Since 2011, just over 37% of T.E.A.C.H. NC Associate Degree recipients are first generation students, meaning they do not have a parent or sibling who has attended college. Of those first generation students 58.5% came to T.E.A.C.H. with only a HS diploma/GED and 75.5% indicated their educational goal was to complete a degree. Since 2011, 33.3% of Bachelor Degree recipients are first generation students and of those first generation students, 93% indicated their educational goal was to complete a Bachelor or higher degree. From 2016-2018, 43% of associate in applied science degrees (specifically in early childhood education) and 66% of bachelor of arts degrees of T.E.A.C.H. NC recipients were first generation students.

In fiscal year 2018, 2,106 people participated in T.E.A.C.H. NC, with 141 associates degree graduates (up from 77 in fiscal year 2017), 32 bachelor’s degree graduates (up from 25 in fiscal year 2017) and 17 master’s in education degree graduates. Those educators completed nearly 13,000 credit hours at 71 higher education institutions, and ultimately, the end goal—improving the education and care they give children—was served for more than 57,543 children in North Carolina.

Just as Tippett and Stanford said, “Rather than rely on attracting highly educated individuals from other states and countries to increase our state’s attainment, we can strengthen our ability to cultivate our own talent,” and T.E.A.C.H. NC helps to cultivate talent among North Carolinians from birth-5 and in the early childhood education workforce.

About T.E.A.C.H. NC:

The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® North Carolina Scholarship Program is an umbrella for a variety of different scholarship programs for those working in the early education field in North Carolina. Based on the partnership principle that requires support from the employing sponsoring program, T.E.A.C.H. scholarships are configured with five essential components: scholarship, education, compensation, commitment and counseling support. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® North Carolina Scholarship program is offered statewide and partners with the state’s higher education system to provide educational scholarship opportunities for early educators including those teaching in NCPK classrooms and infant toddler educators caring for children ages 0-2  in licensed facilities. Additionally, unique scholarship programs are available for system specialists within the early care and education system. Typically, comprehensive, core scholarships provide significant financial  support for the following costs: in-state tuition, books, travel and if applicable, release time. Most importantly, all comprehensive scholarships mandate an award incentive for participants who successfully complete an annually specified number of semester credits. The T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® North Carolina Scholarship program is administered by Child Care Services Association. For more information, visit www.childcareservices.org/teach-nc.

About Child Care Services Association:

Founded in 1974, Child Care Services Association’s mission is to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for all young children and their families. Using a holistic approach, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) supports children and families, helps child care professionals improve the quality of early education children receive and ensures that all families can afford and access the high-quality early care and education that is so important for a child’s early development. Through its Meal Services Program, CCSA also provides nutritious meals to children at child care centers, where they may eat 50-100 percent of their meals. Our T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$® programs give child care professionals the means to obtain an education and supplement their salary based on that education. CCSA also licenses T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ across the U.S. and conducts early childhood systems research and policy development statewide and nationally. For more information, visit www.childcareservices.org.

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