Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention (CECEI)

CECEI Hosts Second Virtual Colloquium

Dr. Iheoma Iruka

The Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention (CECEI) was honored to host our second Virtual Colloquium. Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka, Research Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, presented on the topic, “Ensuring Equitable Learning Opportunities: Ensuring Justice in Early Care and Education.”

Dr. Iruka spoke about the importance of understanding the legacy of racism, sexism, and economic disparities in the early care and education workforce and how we can act to create healthy and humanizing experiences for early childhood educators. Dr. Iruka also led the audience on a journey that threaded together issues of history, equity, and liberation. She presented data that painted a picture of the workforce inequity that is prevalent in early care and education. She walked through the long history, rooted in racist and sexist culture and policies, that has led to this inequity, highlighting how federal policy actively reflects and perpetuates the devaluation of the child- and family-serving workforce.

To address this workforce inequity, Dr. Iruka stressed that we must have a mindset aimed at both creating a fair system in the present, as well as redressing the wrongdoings of the past, and provided multiple action items that the diverse audience of teachers, researchers, administrators, etc. could think about and act on after the colloquium concluded. An engaging Q&A session followed, allowing attendees to ask Dr. Iruka questions about equity and justice in the context of early childhood education and research.