Michelle Thomas, MSW, TCC Early Childhood Policy Advisor and Client Engagement Manager
TCC Sponsored the virtual 2022 BUILD Conference held July 11-13. We held Roundtable Sessions titled You Can’t Measure Equity Without a Data Plan. We heard valuable contributions and insights from the States and National Organizations during these sessions. We heard successes, and we also heard uncertainty and struggles. Below are highlights of these conversations.
- Equitable practices should extend to multiple groups/partners in the early childhood system, including, at a minimum: families/children, providers and the workforce.
- Measuring equity starts with examining current policies and practices.
- Identifying and disrupting non-equitable policies and practices is key to creating an Equity Data Plan.
- Because some data needed to measure equity can be perceived as sensitive, there are barriers to collecting it. For instance, immigrants may be reluctant to apply for services if they are required to share immigration and/or employment information. Sharing preferred language may feel threatening to some groups. The ECE workforce may perceive sharing wage/salary data as intrusive.
- Measuring equitable access starts with defining the policies and practices you want to examine and determining the questions you want to answer and measure. States must be mindful to include authentic representation from key stakeholder groups and include them at all parts of this process – planning, implementing, and reporting.
- We should not be afraid to infuse quantitative data with qualitative data to tell a more compelling story.
- IT systems may be linked to share data that will answer key questions. However, it is important to map existing data and use a data dictionary to ensure shared understanding and meaning of data elements across systems.
- IT systems can be adapted to support business processes and workflows to put equitable practices in motion.
Keep an eye out for a series of briefs that provide a deeper, practical level of detail to assist states with a rigorous Data Plan to inform early childhood system equitable practices and policies.
To learn more about TCC’s work with Early Childhood Data Systems please visit our website https://www.e-tcc.com/early-childhood.