Black and Latino boys have long been disadvantaged at urban school districts. To rectify this, President Obama announced “My Brother’s Keeper” in February, a $200 million five-year initiative to bridge the gap between minorities and their more fortuitous peers. My Brother’s Keeper is now expected to receive an additional $104 million in funding, The New York Times reports.
The program’s new efforts will be sponsored by private and nonprofit organizations such as the NBA, Citi Foundation, and AT&T, The Daily Beast reports — not federal spending. The expansion seeks to include 60 of America’s school districts, all of them representing about 40 percent of minorities living below the poverty line.
My Brother’s Keeper, a program dedicated to improving the lives of African-American and Hispanic boys from pre-K to high school, will increase access to quality pre-schools, keep track of Black and Latino stats in academia, boost the number of minority boys who are placed in gifted, honors, or Advanced Placement courses, cut down on the number of minorities expelled and suspended, and improve the graduation rates of young men of color.
Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, an organization that’s coordinating the initiative’s newest endeavors, says that while a few urban school districts have taken steps towards progress, there’s still much to be done:
“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,” Casserly said. “The 50-year anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act reminded us that those great battles of the past were not fought over access to mediocrity. They were fought over access to excellence.”
According to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to attend schools with less skilled teachers and live in school districts that offer fewer math and science classes.
“Boys in particular are at a disadvantage,” the NY Times added. African-American and Hispanic males are less likely to graduate from high school compared to their white and minority female counterparts.
“I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me,” Obama reminded us in May, according to The Hill. “We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent than I had, but nobody is investing in them.”
Today, the President followed this announcement with a town hall where he took questions from the young people who would be directly impacted by this initiative.
“Today, Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria launched the National Convening Council (“NCC”), an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities,” reports the Office of the Press Secretary. “Over the next several months, the NCC will travel the country, lifting up examples of cross-sector efforts that are having a positive impact on boys and young men of color.”
You can read more about the different organizations participating in this initiative in the press release here.