Boys of color in Oakland begin life and enter school facing a set of health and education challenges far greater than their female and White peers, according to our new report produced for Oakland Starting Smart and Strong.  Amongst the 19 early health and education indicators we analyzed, the greatest disparities are between boys of color and White boys, and these disparities begin in the earliest years of life.

Boys of color in Oakland are more likely than White boys to visit the ER for dental issues and to develop asthma by kindergarten. They are more likely to have no preschool experience, be less ready for kindergarten, and have less developed pre-literacy skills by kindergarten. They are more likely to be enrolled in Special Education in kindergarten, and less likely to be reading proficiently in third grade.

asthma disparities

All Oakland children should have a healthy start in life, and the opportunity to prepare for and be successful in school. But by these early health and education metrics, we are not serving all of our children equitably. Find out more about where the greatest disparities are occurring in our full report here and the summary report here. We’ve also developed an infographic to tell the complicated story in a simpler way.


This report was funded by Oakland Starting Smart and Strong, a 10-year initiative focused on developing universal access to high-quality early learning experiences that promote healthy child development and that result in kindergarten-ready children.

About the Author:

Alison has been involved in community engagement, organizational development, and outreach work around education for many years. Alison received her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies and Journalism from New York University and her B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

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