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Dismantling Systemic Racism in Early Care and Education


Shantel E. Meek

During this lecture, Dr. Shantel Meek will discuss the founding and evolution of the Children's Equity Project (CEP), a multi-university initiative at Arizona State University that focuses on closing opportunity gaps and dismantling systemic racism in learning settings to ensure that children reach their full potential. She will discuss the model and approach of the CEP, as well as how it collaborates with scholars across the country to address equity issues in early childhood through research, policy, and practice. Meek is a professor of practice and the founding director of the Children's Equity Project at Arizona State University. She sets the strategic direction of the CEP and manages strategic partnerships with partners at 16 universities, non-profit and national organizations, and with policymakers. Meek previously served as a consultant in early childhood policy and strategy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C., where she advised senior staff on a range of federal and state equity and early childhood policy issues. She also served in the Obama Administration as a senior policy advisor for Early Childhood Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and as a senior policy advisor for education in the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. During her time in the Obama Administration, Meek advised senior officials at DHHS and The White House on a wide array of policy issues including Head Start, child care, public Pre-K expansion, and promoting equity and reducing disparities across the early care and education system. She also worked on drafting official guidance related to Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant and worked closely with states, communities, and stakeholders on implementation. She also played a key role in President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative, leading the early childhood policy component of the initiative. Meek has published pieces in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She serves on the boards of Child Trends and the Pyramid Model Consortium and is a member of the Ideal Learning Roundtable. She holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University. The Early Childhood Initiative seeks to bring together scholars to address early childhood challenges and produce world-class scholarship that will help maximize the potential of all children during their early years.


Diversity/Inclusion, Lecture/Talk, Research, Social Sciences