The Center for Liberation in Early Childhood Education was founded in 2018 by Dr. Choquette Hamilton to directly address the inequities she observed and experienced personally with early childhood education in Central Texas.
Through the process of enrolling her two children in several child care centers across the area, Dr. Hamilton was dismayed with several aspects of child care including but not limited to the cost of tuition, the lack of quality care, the pay for teachers, and the lack of diversity among the children and families. Most disheartening, she witnessed her two sons experience anti-Blackness even at such a young age.
Anti-Blackness, which is defined as the ”behaviors, attitudes and practices of people and institutions that work to dehumanize Black people in order to maintain white supremacy,” begins as early as infancy but has been well-documented in pre-kindergarten programs. Research such as the Yale Study on racial bias among preschool teachers and the National Prevention Science Coalition’s report found that Black children are expelled at twice the rate of their peers.
Not only that, research has shown that children of color are less likely to have their needs met by a caregiver and are more likely to be suspected of misbehavior even when the child was not misbehaving. This research illuminates the need for transformative change, which will be the primary focus for RISE in 2022.
RISE Child Development Center, Inc. has evolved from an idea in 2018 to direct service in 2021. Initially, when we set out to address the gaps in early childhood education, our approach was to develop an anti-racist and liberatory early childhood education model through a “learn by doing” approach.
Through a partnership with a local charter school, we provided on-site child care in order to develop and pilot our model. This approach allowed us to hone our ideas for how to solve some of the greatest challenges in the child care industry including but not limited to teacher compensation, the lack of access to high-quality care for all children and the high cost of tuition for parents.
Most proudly, we created a play-based, anti-racist and liberatory curriculum because one did not yet exist. However, we quickly realized that we were not on-track to meet the impact goals we desired to dismantle inequity in early childhood education in our community and throughout the United States. We were simply doing too much.
In 2023, RISE went through an organizational transformation and rebrand in order to increase our capacity to serve more children. In January 2023, we officially became the RISE Center for Liberation in Early Childhood Education.