Childhood development researchers call for 'anti-racist scientific method'

The researchers, both of whom have affiliations with UNC at Chapel Hill, outlined their proposal for the 'anti-racist scientific method' in an opinion piece.

One of the authors leads the Equity Research Action Coalition at UNC.

In an opinion piece published by The Hechinger Report

Two University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill education professors are advocating for an “anti-racist scientific method.”  

In a Dec. 29 opinion piece for The Hechinger Report, Iheoma Iruka and Elizabeth Pungello Bruno argue that the field of childhood development's "foundational techniques need to evolve" to "embrace research that dismantles racial inequality."

This effort requires “understanding how race and racism influence the communities we study and our own research methods,” Iruka and Bruno write.

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Iruka is a Research Professor of Public Policy and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at UNC-CH. Bruno, a former professor at Chapel Hill, currently serves as board chair of the FPG Child Development Institute and is the president of the Brady Education Foundation.

Their article also criticizes the Abecedarian Project, a leading childhood development study that Bruno previously contributed to as an investigator, for not “embracing an anti-racist perspective.”

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“Another criticism we raise is that the publications did not consider the importance and value of Black educators for Black children," they write. 

Iruka and Bruno also outline four ways to “bring proactive anti-racism into the scientific method.” These steps include viewing “Black children in a holistic way” and examining whether scientific “measures and tools are culturally relevant and meaningful."

Campus Reform reached out to Iruka, Bruno, and UNC-CH for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.