Racial Equity in Durham's Early Childhood System

As a Board, the investment in Durham PreK is one of the most important investments that we are making in our County. The relationship of accessible, high-quality pre-K to equity at the child and system levels is why this investment is so critical. The funding we provide for Durham PreK is a direct investment in a more equitable child care system and in more equitable futures for young children in our County.

Read the full statement here.

Commitment to Equity

With an abundance of evidence that high-quality universal preschool could reduce the disparities in skills among sub-groups of children at kindergarten entry, Durham’s policymakers are focusing considerable resources on the development and expansion of quality preschool programs for four-year-olds. Durham has made historic local investments in preschool services in order to open access more broadly for children.

  • There are six low-income preschool children in Durham for every one currently publicly funded preschool space in NC Pre-K, Durham Public Schools (DPS) and Head Start
  • Over a quarter of Durham census tracts with more than 50 low-income preschoolers have no publicly funded preschool slots
  • 92% of Durham parents (n=2000) who completed a random survey in 2018, rated cost-free preschool as desirable or essential.

We know that children from low-income and poor households are often left behind, furthering inequality and setting the stage for the achievement gap that persists through high school. A critical component of this ambitious initiative in Durham is the implementation of preschool classrooms across diverse settings. Expanding services in both the public schools and in community-based programs is the key to success.

View these statistics and more in the Durham County Preschool Supply and Demand Study and Executive Summary.

Local Organizations

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“The purpose of we are (working to extend anti-racist education) is to equip students, parents, and educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the complexity of racism and to extend anti-racist education with the ultimate goal of dismantling systemic racism. Using a combination of week-long summer camps for students, professional development for teachers, and workshops for parents, we are provides a three pronged approach to addressing racial inequities in schools.”


  • "FOSTER healthy racial identities in both youth and adults "
  • "BUILD a historical understanding of racial constructs"
  • "PROMOTE civic engagement and allyship with people of color on issues of racial justice"
  • "DEVELOP strategies, techniques, and curriculum which extend anti-racist practices"
  • "EQUIP families with tools and resources which extend anti-racist practices in the home and community"
  • "CONDUCT research on the effectiveness of anti-racist education training"
  • "USE research to inform local, state, and national policy regarding anti-racist education”

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Learning  Burst: Race Based Conversations with Kids Matter Webinar

Watch the Webinar

Village of Wisdom

They are “a family organizing and advocacy entity working to eliminate racial injustice in schools. To this end, we develop tools and resources that help parents, teachers, and students create ideal learning environments for Black and Brown learners.” Their mission is to “Close the academic opportunity gap by protecting the intellectual curiosity and positive racial self-concept of Black children through the love and wisdom of their families and communities."

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Organizing Against Racism

Organizing Against Racism hosts a number of training opportunities that dive into institutional racism within historical, cultural and structural contexts.

"Our activities were originally designed to bring together local participants in the anti-racism workshops who want to support each other while deepening our understanding of how to be effective anti-racists. We continue to come together through caucusing to develop awareness around how racism lives in each of us and in our institutions so that we may be strong, organized and clear in our efforts to dismantle racism."

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Partnership for a Healthy Durham

A committee of local organizations working together with the community to improve the state of physical, mental and social health of Durham's community. Their website provides resources for advancing health equity, recent health data, and connections to local services for community members.

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The 2021-2022 Durham PreK Application is still open! Click here to access the application information and materials.