SESSION #7: Racism and White Supremacy in Early Childhood Education
The latest HighScope Roundtable series, inspired by the book Segregation by Experience: Agency, Racism, and Learning in the Early Grades (2021, University of Chicago Press) will delve into a groundbreaking study on equity and agency in the early childhood classroom.
This session focuses on how racism and white supremacy impact teaching and learning in early childhood education. Chapter 7 argues that preventing young children of color from enacting their agency at school is an act of segregation, and ultimately an operationalization of white supremacy and a means of controlling communities of color through the normalization of agency as something earned or deserved. Institutional racism and white supremacy collectively normalize offering children different kinds of early learning experiences at school. This segregation is then violently justified by (falsely) insisting that agency would be available to young children at school if only they and their families would just change, earn, prove, improve, or fix themselves to fit into the expectations of whiteness. How can we look inward to ourselves and the systems we participate in to fight segregation by experience instead of trying to “fix” families and children? What does it mean to remove the personhood/subpersonhood line from our schools, teaching practices, parent engagement, curriculum and policies?