BUILD Initiative Blog | What We're Reading This Week - September
Strong Foundations For Our Youngest Children

BUILDing Strong Foundations

BUILD Initiative Blog




At the time they enter kindergarten, many young children face gaps that exist - by income, race/ethnicity, language, and culture - in child outcomes and opportunities, as well as in system capacity and response. Closing these gaps is fundamental to the success of each child and of the United States as a nation. BUILD supports state leaders through tailored technical assistance, capacity building, and peer learning opportunities to support them in doing so. These resources can help build and expand your state's focus on equity in systems.
  • SFGATE: Babies’ race affects quality of care in California neonatal intensive care, study says  An infant’s race and ethnicity affect the quality of care they receive in California neonatal intensive care units, according to a study by the Stanford University School of Medicine.
  • AAP News and Journals Gateway: Racial/Ethnic Disparity in NICU Quality of Care Delivery Differences in NICU quality of care provided to very low birth weight (<1500 g) infants may contribute to the persistence of racial and/or ethnic disparity. An examination of such disparities in a population-based sample across multiple dimensions of care and outcomes is lacking.
  • CLASP: Trump’s Decision to End the DACA Program Is a Blow to Our Nation’s Values and Future  The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) stands with our partners in the immigrant, civil rights, faith, education, and anti-poverty communities to condemn this shameful and misguided decision. DACA is supported by the majority of Americans because it is smart policy, not only for DACA youth, but also for their families, communities, and our country’s overall economy. A recent survey reveals that more than 90 percent of DACA youth are currently employed and nearly half are enrolled in school. In addition to contributing to the economy and helping support their parents and siblings, more than a quarter of DACA recipients are also parents raising young children, the majority of whom are U.S. citizens. Robbing DACA recipients of their ability to work and putting them at risk of deportation after they willingly—and in good faith—divulged personal identifying information to the government undermines our American values of justice and fairness and threatens our nation’s future prosperity.
  • Medium: New ways to bring English learner success into focus  More than 1.3 million California public school students are English learners. Some are new arrivals to the United States, others have attended American schools for years. Both groups, though, share the challenge of learning English through an unfamiliar language — English. Teachers and administrators are charged with the important role of guiding this student group to English language proficiency while also ensuring they graduate from high school ready for college and career. The lack of reliable data used to track the progress of this student group makes it difficult to get a clear picture of how ELs are doing in the public school system.
  • NYTimes: Race/Related We want to stir up conversation, with The Times and with you. Race matters, and it’s time to listen. A newsletter exploring race with provocative reporting and discussion.
  • Center for American Progress: DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow  The data illustrate that DACA recipients continue to make positive and significant contributions to the economy, including earning higher wages, which translates into higher tax revenue and economic growth that benefits all Americans. In addition, DACA recipients are buying cars, purchasing their first homes, and even creating new businesses. The survey’s results also show that at least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients. Moreover, 97 percent of respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school.
  • Center for American Progress: STATEMENT: “We Will Not Stop Until We Win Permanent Protection for Dreamers,” Says CAP Action’s Neera Tanden Reacting to Trump Ending DACA  Dreamers are our neighbors, our fellow students, our colleagues at work, and we will fight this action. While this may energize President Trump’s most anti-immigrant supporters, particularly coming on the heels of his shameful pardon of the infamous former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it does not reflect the views of the majority of Americans who believe Dreamers should be given the chance to live permanently in the United States, the country they call home—and for many, the only home they’ve ever known.

Early Learning

Children must reach critical health and well-being benchmarks in order to thrive, be ready for kindergarten, and read at grade level by third grade. BUILD knows that families and communities are the primary source of this foundational support for children. We help state leaders create safe, healthy, nurturing early learning experiences for all children – to better support families and communities. These resources can help support your state's efforts in building early learning systems.

  • Center for American Progress: Mapping America’s Child Care Deserts  CAP’s geographic study of child care markets finds that approximately half of Americans across 22 states live in areas with an undersupply of child care options.
  • Illinois Education Research Council: Advancing the Illinois Early Childhood Education Workforce: A Model College and Career Pathway  This policy brief proposes a postsecondary education and career pathway model for Illinois early childhood educators. It delineates the proposed pathway within the Illinois context, describes the underlying rationale for its development, and concludes with recommendations for Illinois policymakers, State agencies, and institutions of higher education.

Health and Health Equity

BUILD Initiative’s health equity efforts have focused on raising awareness and expanding understanding of the social determinants of health, their connection to disparities in health and early learning outcomes of young children and their families, and to our goals of building early childhood systems that are comprehensive and of high quality and that promote equitable outcomes. In addition, our work in this areas underscores the urgency and proactive timing of acting in the first five years of life. These resources can help your state embed health and health equity into your systems work.


Too many children in the United States lack access to excellent early childhood education and care opportunities. The challenge is acute for young children from linguistically, racially, and economically marginalized communities. While disparities in children’s development emerge well before kindergarten entry, high-quality early learning can ameliorate these disparities. A Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) can be part of the solution, as it serves as a process of incremental steps for programs to move up the quality continuum. A well-designed QRIS, the framework for an ECE System, has all the elements of a high-functioning standards-based system. This QRIS resource can help you improve on your state's QRIS.

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