Groundwork Team, This week, we announced the official launch of our Ohio Early Childhood Race and Rural Equity project, funded by a half a million dollar grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation over the next two years. The project will include a thorough analysis of current statewide equity metrics and a series of community-facing events to share data and solicit responses, learnings and best practices from local stakeholders.
Currently, analysis shows us that only 40% of Ohio children enter Kindergarten ready to learn. However, a deeper analysis shows us that a mere 23.9% of black students and 23% of Hispanic students enter Kindergarten ready to learn. These disparities remain even when controlling for poverty. As we begin to explore this gap, it is indisputable that some kids are getting left behind more often than others. By measuring equity and raising awareness around the problem, we can begin to close these gaps so that all children, regardless of race and geography, have a promising future.
We look forward to updating you as the project progresses!
Warm personal regards,
Shannon Jones Executive Director Groundwork Ohio
Laying the Groundwork for Higher Attainment
With only 40% of Ohio kindergartners entering the classroom ready to learn, it is not surprising that only 43% of Ohio’s workforce has a degree or credential necessary for the jobs available today. In two short years, it’s estimated that 65% of the jobs will require more than a high school diploma. Ohio is facing a workforce crisis and state investment in high-quality early childhood education is a necessary first step to creating a successful workforce of tomorrow.
To further elevate this issue, Groundwork took the lead on the early childhood education portion of a data walk at the statehouse this week, Ensuring Ohio Can Compete: Meeting Ohio's 2025 Attainment Goal. Nearly 300 legislators, education advocates, and business leaders joined together to stress the importance of addressing Ohio's workforce crisis by increasing accessibility and quality of education for Ohio kids. After the data walk, Shannon Jones, Executive Director of Groundwork Ohio, presented testimony to the Senate Education Committee. The evidence is clear: brains are built, not born. Infants and toddlers who do not have access to high-quality learning environments will likely enter kindergarten unprepared to learn. We need to make investments much earlier than our formal compulsory K-12 system recognizes in order to address the needs of our most at-risk kids.