A new report from the advocacy group Groundwork Ohio, which champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies for Ohio’s youngest children, outlines ways to end the deeply rooted disparities among the state’s children. Titled “Drafting a New Blueprint for Success” and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the report offers steps to create equity among kids in Ohio.

“COVID-19 has laid bare how profoundly inequitable our experiences are. The tragic truth for children in Ohio is that their chance at success too often depends on their race, their family’s socioeconomic status and their ZIP code. Skin color, family income and neighborhood consistently determine whether a child will live to his or her first birthday, get appropriate medical care and start kindergarten on track. These factors even correlate with whether a child learns to read well and goes on to graduate from high school and attend college or get a skill.”

Groundwork Ohio Executive Director Shannon Jones, Akron Beacon-Journal

Of course, this is true well beyond Ohio, as research by Harvard economist Raj Chetty and others has made clear. But the pandemic is escalating these differences and threatens to make them permanent.

Jones notes: “The policy choices we make as we get to the other side of this health crisis will determine if children who were shortchanged before COVID-19 become even more disadvantaged.”

First Focus Campaign for Children continues to call on Congress to address these challenges facing our nation’s children in COVID-19 relief packages and in the upcoming budget process.