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Early Childhood Iowa Equity Guiding Principles

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ECI Equity Guiding Principles: 2020

Principles to Define and Establish Equity

1. A COMMITMENT TO ADDRESS EQUITY: Equity means responding so people have what they need to be
successful. By moving from equality to equity, we recognize the relevance of race and ethnicity, value
individual’s potential and strengths, and develop supports and services that are responsive to each and
every child and family. We are committed to building systems where disparities based on race and
ethnicity no longer exist.

2. A COMMITMENT TO HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Early childhood services and systems in Iowa will provide
equitable access to opportunities for all children to be healthy and successful, expecting that they can
reach optimal levels of physical, social-emotional and cognitive development within healthy, safe and
nurturing families.

3. A COMMITMENT TO RECOGNIZE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CULTURE: Every individual is rooted in culture
(see footnote 1) and is central to her or his identity and a source of pride and strength. Early childhood
systems and services will be aware and responsive to the important role that culture and language play
in shaping a child’s development [5].

4. A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE: Early Childhood Iowa will apply an equity lens [6] to build and make
changes to the current early childhood system to meet the diverse needs of all children and their
families. Changes in the early childhood system will be based on a frequent assessment of strengths,
needs and outcomes using those results to plan and implement services and systems that respond to
the cultural and linguistic diversity of the population, removing barriers to success. A commitment to
make these changes will be manifest in intentional efforts at goal-setting, planning, implementation, and

Principles for Strategy

5. CRITICAL ANALYSIS: We will continuously work to identify root causes and strategies to address
disparities at the individual, interpersonal, organizational, institutional and structural levels to build and
sustain an equitable system for children 0-5 and their families.

6. FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: We will promote equity through intentional and authentic engagement of
families. Family engagement assures leadership by families and communities that incorporates their
values and contributions in decision making and planning, builds vital partnerships with them to better
support and serve all Iowa families and results in a more equitable system.

7. COMMUNICATION: Rooted in trusting and mutual relationships among individuals and groups, we
commit ourselves to candid and frequent two-way communication, across all levels of Early Childhood
Iowa. Two-way communication ensures transparency, and feedback loops that engage stakeholders,
families and communities at all levels of planning, decision-making, and implementation.

Principles for System Components

8. QUALITY SERVICES AND PROGRAMS: An equitable system recognizes that equity is an essential
dimension of quality. We will intentionally employ an equity lens (see footnote #3) when developing,
implementing and evaluating policies and practices designed to improve services and programs.

9. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: An equitable system will recruit, promote and support a culturally
and linguistically competent [5] and diverse workforce that understands and addresses stereotypes and
biases, and is capable of providing culturally and linguistically responsive service. The workforce should
be trained in culturally and linguistically responsive practices, recognizing internal racial bias.

10. RESOURCES AND FUNDING: An equitable system requires funding and resource allocation that
ensure the healthy development of all young children regardless of race, ethnicity, culture and home

11. RESULTS ACCOUNTABILITY: An equitable system requires ongoing data collection by race, ethnicity
and language so the system can assess ongoing disparities within implementation, access and outcomes.

12. GOVERNANCE: An equitable system eliminates barriers to positions of power and leadership.
Leaders and decision-makers that influence early childhood programs, institutions and systems must
reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the state.

13. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: An equitable system creates intentional pathways of communication and
influence that ensure underrepresented groups are informed and have a voice in the development and
advancement of the ECI system. Families and communities are equipped to be strong advocates for
creating an equitable early childhood system, and the engagement from a broad spectrum of
stakeholders incorporates diverse values and contributions in decision making and planning.