Election time is approaching and ol’ Barry O knows it’s time to hop on the good foot
On Wednesday, during his remarks at the National Urban League conference in New Orleans, President Obama announced an Executive Order to improve outcomes and advance educational opportunities for African Americans. On Thursday, he signed that Executive Order surrounded by some of the key leaders who have been at forefront of promoting those priorities.
The President has made it a top priority to provide a complete and competitive education for all Americans – from cradle to career. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, created by this Executive Order, will work across Federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students. The initiative aims to ensure that all African American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion, and productive careers.
In the nearly 60 years since the Brown v.Board of Education decision put America on a path toward equal educational opportunity, America’s educational system has undergone a remarkable transformation. Many African American children who attended substandard, segregated schools in the 1950s have grown up to see their children attend integrated and effective elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities. Nonetheless, substantial obstacles to equal educational opportunity still remain in America’s school systems. Disproportionately, students of color, including African Americans, lag in equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes. And they experience school discipline and referrals to special education at higher rates than their peers.
Improving the educational outcomes of African Americans will provide substantial benefits for our country, like increasing college completion rates, employment rates, and the number of African American teachers. So, through this Executive Order, President Obama is taking an important step to promote a more promising future for all Americans.
Here are some of the specific things that the executive order will set in motion:
• Increasing the percentage of African American children who enter kindergarten ready for success by improving access to high-quality early learning and development programs;
• Ensuring that all African American students have access to high-level, rigorous course work and support services that will prepare them for college, a career, and civic participation;
• Providing African American students with equitable access to effective teachers and principals in pursuit of a high-quality education, and supporting efforts to improve the recruitment, preparation, development, and retention of successful African American teachers and principals;
• Promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools, and decreasing the disproportionate number of referrals to special education by addressing root causes of the referrals;
• Reducing the dropout rate of African American students and increasing the proportion of African American students who graduate from high school prepared for college and career;
• Increasing college access, college persistence, and college attainment for African American students;
• Strengthening the capacity of institutions of higher education that serve large numbers of African American students, including community colleges, HBCUs, Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and other institutions;
• Improving the quality of, and expanding access to, adult education, literacy, and career and technical education.
Although some people will still criticize the POTUS for the timing of this, it can’t be denied that this is something that is desperately needed in a lot of African-American communities.
Image via White House