For those who have been complaining about the lack of attention President Obama has paid to African Americans while in office, the time has come. At the National Urban League’s annual convention in New Orleans last night, the president announced a new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans that, according to NBC, will:
“work across Federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students.”
About 3,700 people were in the crowd as President Obama explained the purpose of the effort was to improve educational opportunities for black children at all levels,
“so every child has greater access to a complete and competitive education from the time they’re born to the time, all through the time they get a career,” he said.
The Education Department will oversee the initiative, working with the Executive Office and other Cabinet agencies to identify practices that will improve African Americans’ achievement in schools and colleges, NBC said. The executive order for the plan is expected to be signed today, at which point more details about the effort and how much funding it will receive will be made public.
This initiative comes not a moment too soon with nearly weekly reports about discrimination black students are experiencing in school, Detroit parents suing the school system because of the low level at which their children read, evidence that African American children receive more strict punishments than their non-minority counterparts, and data from the National Center for Education Statistics showing the dropout rate for African American students ages 16 to 25 was 8 percent in 2010, which is 3 percent higher than that of white students. The President said those things can no longer continue.
“A higher education in a 21st century cannot be a luxury,” he remarked at the convention. ”It is a vital necessity that every American should be able to afford.”
Let’s hope this initiative will make that more of a reality for African American children. Do you think it will?
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