Dear Commons Community,
President Obama will announce today that 60 of the nation’s largest school districts are joining his initiative to improve the educational futures of young African-American and Hispanic boys, beginning in preschool and extending through high school graduation. As reported in the New York Times:
“The districts, which represent about 40 percent of all African-American and Hispanic boys living below the poverty line, have committed to expand quality preschool access; track data on black and Hispanic boys so educators can intervene as soon as signs of struggle emerge; increase the number of boys of color who take gifted, honors or Advanced Placement courses and exams; work to reduce the number of minority boys who are suspended or expelled; and increase graduation rates among African-American and Hispanic boys.
President Obama announced in February a five-year, $200 million initiative, known as My Brother’s Keeper, to help black and Latino youths. The new efforts, which will also seek support from the nonprofit and private sectors, are being coordinated by the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban school districts. Michael Casserly, executive director of the organization, said that while a handful of districts had already made some progress in helping black and Latino boys improve their academic performance, “we need to move these numbers and improve these futures as a collective if the nation as a whole is to make any progress on this front. It’s not enough for us to do well in a small number of cities…”
The president will also announce on Monday that various organizations have committed funds to develop mentoring programs for young black and Latino youths or to design new school models for disadvantaged communities.
These include the National Basketball Associations, AT&T and the Emerson Collective — founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple’s founder Steve Jobs — to make grants and investments in education initiatives.”
This initiative is well-directed.