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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Jan 23, 2020

Claudia Cragg speaks with Dr. Jennifer Neitzel of the Educational Equity Institute. Their mission is to facilitate authentic engagement and relationships that empower communities to guide the work of systems change throughout the halls of learning nationwide. 

Barriers to educational equity include disproportionate poverty. This type of poverty remains one of the most significant moral dilemmas that US society faces today. Labor, housing, and education laws, particularly during Jim Crow, primarily set-up a racial caste system. This system continues to make it very difficult for people of color to achieve upward mobility.

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (2016), 12% of White children are poor compared to 34% of Black children. Similarly, 17% of Black children live in deep poverty, while only 5% of White children experience the same living conditions. (Koball and Jiang 2018). Nearly two out of three children born into the bottom fifth of the income distribution remain in the bottom two-fifths of the income distribution as adults. (Isaacs, Sawhill, and Haskins 2009). Meaning, for a child born into poverty, there’s an excellent chance the child remains in poverty as an adult.

Neitzel started her career in early childhood education over 20 years ago in the classroom where she taught young children with significant behavioral challenges in Pittsburgh, PA. After several years, she moved to Chapel Hill, NC, to begin her graduate studies at the University of North Carolina where she earned both her Master's and Doctorate degrees in early childhood education.