This week, Vote for Ohio Kids released fact sheets on High-Quality Child Care and High-Quality Preschool that help provide context and support to the strong agenda the campaign has put forward to ensure Ohio’s next governor prioritizes investments in early childhood education and healthcare. The fact sheets provide a broad overview of child care and preschool in Ohio, the benefits of participation in quality programs, the return on investment for the state, and our recommendations for Ohio’s next governor. The new fact sheets supplement our Early Childhood Experiences overview fact sheet that was released in February. New resources will be added to the Vote for Ohio Kids website regularly, so be sure to visit our Resources page often. In addition to the fact sheets that were released this week, Vote for Ohio Kids has assembled a Media Toolkit to help coalition members spread the word about the campaign. The Toolkit includes campaign information, a list of the ways to engage with the campaign, sample content to be shared on various platforms, and shareable images. If you haven’t yet, make sure you Join the Coalition and follow @Vote4OhioKids on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest campaign news.
"Know the Gap, Close the Gap - Now and How"
Last Friday, I was grateful to join over 500 of Dayton’s child advocates ranging from early childhood educators to superintendents to business leaders who gathered with a shared commitment to closing the achievement gap in Dayton and Montgomery County. Dayton’s focus on equity began with a report published in January 2017 by Learn to Earn Dayton called “Know the Gap, Close the Gap”, which told a powerful story about the county’s unacceptable achievement gap. For example, only 18.8% of African American children demonstrated readiness for kindergarten compared to 41% of white children in Montgomery County. As they work to expose this gap, the ultimate goal is to give every child an equal chance at success.
Building on the progress launched through the report, this year’s Kindergarten Readiness Summit was appropriately called “Know the Gap, Close the Gap—Now and How.” Through the initial report and the thoughtful sharing and understanding of the story behind the data, the community is now coalescing around specific goals to achieve racial equity. For example, through further analysis, Learn to Earn Dayton determined that helping an additional 245 African American students demonstrate readiness would close the racial gap and overall proficiency in the county would increase from 34.9%-40.7% By establishing a measurable target, the community can now begin to strategically close this gap.
The event's keynote speaker Dr. John Marshall, Chief Equity Officer for Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky, said it best: “Equity is not hard—it just has to be brave.” Inspired by the bravery of Learn to Earn, the City of Dayton, and Montgomery County, I am excited to dive deeper into Groundwork’s Race and Rural Equity data project, which will be shared as a report late this Spring. I am hopeful that this important work will encourage our state to follow the model of local communities like Dayton to work toward closing the achievement gap in Ohio once and for all.
Lynanne Wolf Policy and Advocacy Associate, Groundwork Ohio