Advancing Equity in State Professional Development Systems

Final Learning Table Assignment on Equity and Professional Development

October 18-19, 2015

Arlington, Virginia

The 2015 Early Childhood Professional Development Learning Table has been designed to support states professional development systems to ensure that the early childhood health, early learning and family support workforce is well-qualified to advance racial equity and ensure equitable outcomes for children birth to age 8. Throughout this year our three goals have been to:

  1. Support the development of state efforts to embed specialized knowledge and competencies related to racial equity within professional development opportunities at all levels;
  2. Support states in the development of consistent, high-quality, and coherent professional learning supports that strengthen professional practice in all settings serving children birth-8; and
  3. Identify existing policy levers for advancing more effective professional development systems, including policy levers for increasing access for professionals in geographic areas that serve racially/ethnically, and linguistically diverse children; and improving professional competencies in ways that are grounded in the science of early learning.

Throughout the learning table we have discussed ways that leaders of state systems may use varied opportunities to make changes that contribute to improving equity and competencies in the early childhood professional development systems to enhance the workforce. For example, state leaders can be confronted with decisions, or “choice points” that can advance equity and quality goals when developing programs, regulations, contracts, grant applications, and when developing requirements for professionals working directly with children or for those who train the workforce. Also, state leaders may have opportunities to develop greater knowledge regarding the needs of particular populations of children (e.g., dual language learners; boys of color) and infuse that knowledge in designing content rich and content relevant professional development initiatives. Further, state leaders may reframe and redefine state teacher or learning standards using a racial equity lens; and/or design more effective data collection strategies and benchmarks that allow for robust assessment of racial equity goals within professional development systems.

Final Assignment

This final exercise asks state teams to integrate and reflect on what you have learned this year regarding advancing racial equity in professional development systems within your state and your own work. Each team should prepare a 20 minute oral presentation with PowerPoint for the October meeting. As you work together use the tools on the learning table landing pad page (e.g., blueprint, PowerPoint’s) as you consider the questions below.

In preparing your presentation please complete both task 1 and task 2:

Task 1: Tell your state team’s story: Please integrate and reflect on what your team has learned accomplished and will do in the future in relation to professional development and racial equity. Your presentation should briefly tell the learning table members:

  1. Where your team started in addressing issues of professional development and racial equity in your state. For example, why you chose to participate in this learning table, what you felt were your state’s greatest challenges regarding racial equity and professional development system development; and what you hoped to learn, address and build?
  2. What you have learned about the development of both a racial equity framework and professional development in early childhood systems. In your state work how do you plan to knit these two issues together to develop the early childhood workforce you need? For example, what have been the two or three most important insights your team has developed in relation to racial equity and professional development as learning table members? What has been most challenging insight? What are you going to do differently within your state’s workforce development efforts that will advance racial equity?
  3. Your team was designed to include diverse members across multiple areas of work. Have you discovered policies, practices or programs that have opportunities for joint work across health, early learning and family support?What will support you to implement joint efforts?What policy, procedure or practice creates a challenge to joint work?
  4. Using the Racial Equity Impact Analysis Questions (see below) select two (excluding question 7) and discuss how your state’s professional development system work will address the questions. Define the key next steps that your state will take to move forward.
  5. Using question 7, reflect on two or three next steps your state will take going forward to develop useful, robust and effective data that will enable your state to better advance racial equity in professional development.
  6. Please email 3-4 PowerPoint slides to Blanche Stokes at by October 15th.

Task 2: Peer review of another state team’s report. At the meeting each state team will be responsible forresponding to the work of another team. The task of the lead state is to begin the conversation; and all participants are free and encouraged to offer peer review comments. Peer review requires that we are both supportive and critical of the work of others; and that we accept the reviews of our own work in a spirit of collaboration. This task is intended to help us benefit from the insights and experiences of others—and to improve our work and critical thinking. Your peer review comments should be:

  1. Designed to improve the thinking of your peers and therefore needs to provide feedback that is helpful to others.
  2. Substantive and responsive to what the team reported. Do you understand what they are proposing? If not, ask specific questions that will help them and you understand the work they are planning to do/or are doing currently.
  3. Actionable, concrete and useful—are the state team’s plans doable and attainable? Do you think they will succeed? What feedback can you offer to help them think more about critical issues they may encounter?
  4. Helpful in providing feedback about ways in which the state team could better address racial equity and apply a racial equity lens to the issues related to professional development.

To complete task 2, team peer review teams will be the following:

  • Iowa presents and Arkansas reviews
  • Arkansas presents and Iowa reviews
  • New Jersey presents and Ohio reviews
  • Ohio presents and New Jersey reviews

Tools and Resources

All the materials and resources on the landing pad

Racial Equity Impact Analysis Questions: Racial Equity and Professional Development Systems:

  1. Who are the racial and ethnic groups (educators and children birth to 5 and their families) most affected by the policy, program or practice? What are the racial disparities related to this project?
  2. How does the proposed action expand opportunity and access to racially diverse individuals (educators or children birth to 5)?
  3. How does the proposed action promote racially inclusive collaboration and engagement?
  4. Is there diverse support for the policy, program or practice that addresses racial inequities? What is your state’s evidence?
  5. Do diverse populations support specific policies, programs or practices designed to reduce racial inequities?Who are the stakeholders?
  6. How does the proposed action affect systemic change within the early childhood system of health, early learning and family support?
  7. What are the possible unintended consequences your state’s current or proposed early childhood system plan may have on racial equity? What strategies will your state implement or propose to mitigate negative effects?
  8. How will you measure success in increasing racial equity for educators and children birth to 5 and their families? What are the indicators you will use?

Taking an Equity Stance

  1. How does your state personalize professional development opportunities for each early childhood professional to ensure his or her individual competency is built?
  2. Will your state provide educators equal access to professional development opportunities regardless of their (or their center’s) past performance? Explain your state’s decision-making.
  3. How will your state ensure that all early childhood professionals meet or exceed a common standard?

D. Other Considerations

  1. In developing your state’s action plan, to what extent has your state talked with a representative sample of early childhood professionals or children and families to understand their needs and why they are or are not accessing the system, what they feel they need or what their experiences have been with existing professional development programs?
  2. In your state’s current plan and future plans, will professional development resources be distributed based on populations of early childhood professionals and/or children in most need, or based on some other decision?
  3. Are additional resources made available to communities who have historically not participated in professional development or other systems of quality such as QRIS systems? Please provide a rationale for your state’s distribution of professional development resources.