Unequal Access: Barriers to Early Childhood Education for Boys of Color


Even though many boys of color have led successful lives, the odds are against their success. Research on disparities and long-term outcomes for children of color exposes this bleak truth: children of color encounter many structural obstacles which stack the odds against their success.

“For decades, opportunities for long-term success have often eluded boys and young men of color. Starting at birth, these children of all classes face negative perceptions, structural disadvantage, and biased treatment.”

“The most common reasons families of color are less likely to access quality early childhood education are financial, cultural, and geographical in nature.”

“At the local and state level, early childhood education leaders can conduct needs assessments, map supply and demand for target populations, and develop strategies to increase accessibility.”


  • Invest in high-quality early education to help narrow educational and societal opportunity gaps for boys of color. This investment contributes to stronger families, greater economic development, and more livable communities.
  • Offer financial assistance for early childhood education programs. Even though there are some public funding options for these programs, the incomplete patchwork of support often does not provide enough assistance for low-income families.
  • Meet the need for flexible hours, as well as cultural and linguistic responsiveness in early childhood education settings.
  • Engage in research specifically targeting boys of color to fully understand the issues they face in early childhood education and that helps inform data-based interventions.