December 18, 2020
Thanks to funding from the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, Fairfax Futures led a project in 2019-2020 to field test Fairfax County’s School Readiness Equity Lens in the Bailey’s Crossroads community (zip code 22041). The project’s goal was to examine the early childhood education system from two perspectives: families living in the community and early childhood educators that work in the community. Applying an equity lens is at the core of the county’s approach to becoming One Fairfax, a policy grounded in the theory of targeted universalism.
Through this work, a simplified equity lens, along with key ‘how-to apply an equity lens’ lessons emerged. The report documents the project’s processes working through the construct of an equity lens, desired outcomes and results and recommended action steps for consideration by county leaders and other stakeholders. For example, the Office for Children can best continue its important work advancing the goals of the Fairfax County Equitable School Readiness Strategic Plan when the simplified equity lens is incorporated into planning and decision-making processes.
During this project year, the COVID-pandemic shed light on the fragility of the early childhood system. As the recovery and rebuilding work gets underway, special attention to early childhood educators that so many families depend on, particularly small business owners working in home settings, will be critical.
Understanding the many underlying structures to create change in the Bailey’s Crossroads community and others, as well as how they connect to current policies and practices, will be ongoing work for Fairfax Futures, the county and other partners such as the business and philanthropic sectors. Efforts to advance racial and social equity as the foundation of school readiness will continue.
The executive director of Fairfax Futures partnered with Becoming the Change LLC to serve as the project team throughout this process.