Voqal’s Education Opportunity Project (EOP) supports a wide array of organizations and projects that address issues pertaining to the multifaceted educational opportunity gap in the United States. Last year, Voqal supported a project spearheaded by an innovative startup ideas lab, Capita, to take a future-forward look at what foundations are necessary to ensure that young children and families can flourish over the next ten years. The forecast, Foundations for Flourishing Futures: A Look Ahead for Young Children and Families, is available now.
In partnership with KnowledgeWorks, the forecast uses strategic foresight methodologies, which is a process of imagining future possibilities that requires thinking beyond present-day plausibility, examining assumptions about what the future might hold, exploring current trajectories and considering alternative futures using both data and creativity. This work identified five domains and emerging issues within them that will be critical to helping young children and their families flourish over the next decade:
Health by the Numbers
Emerging technologies and new understandings of community-level health are reshaping how young children’s and families’ wellbeing is measured and supported.
Learning in Flux
Social and economic uncertainty and new research into the importance of relationships are influencing approaches to early learning.
The Autonomy Gaps
New notions about young children’s autonomy, along with increasing inequity, are creating cultural and generational tensions and are widening disparities among children’s access to free expression.
Stretched Social Fabric
Shifting support structures and information sources are changing the ways in which increasingly diverse families navigate and access resources.
Care at the Core
New economic and employment realities and the aging of the population are creating tensions related to caregiving structures and values.
Voqal’s Education Opportunity Project helped fund this work because the results play a key role in determining what opportunity gaps exist now and will likely exist in the future. It also informs the ongoing work of the Education Opportunity Project in the greater early childhood ecosystem. We define the opportunity gaps as the foundational deficiencies found in schools, communities and society that in turn lead to significant differences in educational outcomes across race, class, gender and sexual orientation. This report is critical because we need to know what these foundational deficiencies and challenges are now and how technology and other trends may impact them in the future.
We live in a very transformational time. There have literally been scores of major books, studies and other analyses that have pointed to how work, school and community will be dramatically different over the coming years. Yet, few have taken as deep look at how young children will fare in a world that is rapidly changing due to, among other factors, advances in technology. What we think of as opportunity and the associated gaps now will likely look radically different a decade from now. This forecast and its findings contain essential qualitative and quantitative information to help guide the work of Voqal’s Education Opportunity Project and the larger community focused on opportunity and improving the lives of children.
You can find the full forecast on the Capita and KnowledgeWorks websites. Also, be sure to check out the rest of their websites to find out more about future engagements around this forecast and the rest of the great work these organizations are doing to improve the education system.