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Our Children, Our Workforce: Why We Must Talk About Race and Racism in Early Childhood Education

by Kelly Matthews and Ijumaa Jordan
September/October 2019
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/our-children-our-workforce-why-we-must-talk-about-race-and-racism-in-early-childhood-education/5024950/

Racism exists in early childhood education. Writing that might be a shocking statement, but it is true because almost all institutions in the United States have policies and practices based in racism. Recently, I was listening to a Radiolab podcast episode titled “G: The Miseducation of Larry P,” which begins with researching a California law that forbids administering IQ tests to African American students for placement in special education programs. The first episode discussed that when developed, IQ tests were normed to the cultural knowledge of white children in Europe. It has been documented that the researchers and developers of these tests supported Eugenics; when these tests were given in San Francisco in the 1970s, the head of the special education department testified that Black people were intellectually inferior. This personal bias was institutionalized through the large numbers of Black children given this test, resulting in the children being tracked into special education classes, which provided little formal education. These tests were usually administered in kindergarten. “Larry P” was given the test in first grade without his mother’s permission. It was not until the lawsuit was filed that she learned that he was labeled the “R” word; it took her ...

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