There are three questions that drive the BCDI-Wisconsin public policy agenda:
1. Is this good for Black children and families?
2. If yes, how can we support it?
3. If not, how can we make it better?
The answers to these questions help us achieve our mission of improving and advancing the quality of life for Black children and families. As we collaborate with other agencies and policymakers, we focus on the particular strengths and needs of Black children and families in the context of a shared goal--ensuring that all children are reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade. According to the Children’s Reading Foundation, reading is the most crucial academic skill because it is the foundation for learning. Through 3rd grade, children are learning to read; after 3rd-grade students read to learn. But only 1-in-3 students read proficiently by that point.
BCDI-Wisconsin has chosen to adopt this objective in response to data demonstrating both the critical nature of this educational benchmark. In 2015, roughly 2 out of 3 4th graders nationwide failed to score proficient in reading. 82 percent of African-American 4th graders are reading below proficiency levels.
This goal leads us to focus on each of the years from birth through age eight, which together provide the foundation for all subsequent learning and development.
BCDI-Wisconsin has identified three priority areas, for which we engage in a range of program, policy and advocacy activities at the state and local levels:
Empowering Parents, Engaging Communities
Improving Childcare and Teacher Quality
Ensuring Funding and Resource Equity
To successfully advance these priorities, BCDI-Wisconsin is committed to leadership development that builds a stronger, more diverse network to help our leaders and elected officials make positive, supportive, and equitable funding and policy decisions that affect Black children and families in Milwaukee.
In order to have an intentional focus on policy, we have a policy director that works with a number of organizations. Namely:
National Black Child Development Institute
Reducing Infant Mortality
Working collaboratively with these organizations will help BCDI-Milwaukee to assist in informing policy around the work that we do and the families that we work with.
In alignment with our goal of ensuring that children are reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, there are two programs that BCDI-Wisconsin sponsors annually: Read to Succeed and Brunch of Books