State Policy Learning Table Overview
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

2015-17 State Policy Learning Table

Advancing State Policies and Supports to Promote Effective Teaching and Learning


Over the course of three years (2015, 2016, 2017) BUILD and CEELO partnered to lead the State Policy Learning Table. Working with 16 states, we developed a community of practice to accelerate the process of shifting teaching and learning that results in improved outcomes for children, especially those at risk.

This Learning Table emphasizes equity: efforts to improve teaching and learning can be strengthened by applying an equity lens to the design of policies and practices related to workforce development (e.g., credentialing, licensure, professional evaluation, instructional tools).  Race, ethnicity, gender and social class of both children and teaching staff are associated with disparities.  Children who are poor and of color are more likely than their more affluent White peers to have teachers who are less well prepared to help them succeed in school.  Teachers in child care programs are more racially/ethnically diverse, more economically disadvantaged, and may have lower educational attainment than their peers who teach in public school systems.  An equity lens intentionally attempts to redress disparities in the early childhood workforce by examining inputs (e.g., policies related to teacher preparation, classroom resources, instructional practices) and outcomes (e.g., improvement in teacher competence and effectiveness, improved child outcomes).  It helps state leaders focus on ways to address specific levels of personal, interpersonal, institutional and structural change that can help to improve teacher practice and strengthen results.  To effectively apply an equity lens to teaching and learning state leaders need to consider how to manage the process of change for equity in teaching and learning required in their state; and consider how to engage a broad network of support for this work, including teachers, families and other stakeholders.  Change for racial, social class and gender equity cannot be achieved by top down strategies that do not include and involve those most affected. 

An overarching question to consider as we have worked together is: “To advance teaching and learning in your state, how do you see the connection between racial equity, the processes of implementation, and stakeholder engagement?”

We encourage you to read the guiding resource for this Learning Table: Sharpening the Focus: State Policy to Promote Effective Teaching that Improves Learning.

In addition, we recommend reading A Learning Table to Improve State Early Childhood Teaching and Learning Policy: Reflections and Recommendations After Three Years of Implementation. This report shares the lessons learned on/recommendations for providing technical assistance to state early education practices.