The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is supporting a White House initiative to improve preK-12 education and post-graduation outcomes for boys and young men of color.
The program, an expansion of the White House “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, will implement evidence-based strategies to better prepare these students for college and careers, including commitments from 60 of America’s largest school districts, philanthropists, and business partners.
On Monday, Van Henri White, Chair of NSBA’s CUBE Steering Committee and President of the Rochester City School Board in New York attended a town hall event with President Barack Obama along with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Prior to the town hall, White participated in a meeting with Duncan and other urban school leaders to address solutions to advance’s America’s urban schools.
Watch the video of the town hall:
“We are extremely encouraged that President Obama and his administration are focusing on equity, equality, and excellence in education,” said White. “As an African-American male and father, President Obama’s message at the town hall meeting resonated with me personally. As a member of CUBE, I am inspired by the goals of My Brother’s Keeper insofar as it has the potential to provide school districts, from across this country, with the tools necessary to accomplish this critical work.”
White also noted, “It is important to have supportive public private partnerships to bring light to the critical needs of our urban communities.”
The initiative addresses the disproportionately high dropout rate for boys of color, as well as the pushout crisis. NSBA released its “Partnerships Not Pushouts” guide in April to show how school boards are creating discipline policies to avoid excessive out-of-school suspensions that disrupt student learning and engagement. NSBA also has released a 2013 guide to out-of-school suspensions.
The White House plans for My Brother’s Keeper to focus on:
• A healthy start and entering school ready to learn
• Reading at grade level by third grade
• Graduating from high school ready for college and career
• Successfully entering the workforce
Also, boys and young men who commit crimes and are incarcerated should be given a second chance and receive counseling and other services to re-enter society, according to the White House.
As part of CUBE’s commitment to address African-American student success, and reflect on this year’s 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the group has partnered with Council of Great City Schools(CGCS) to improve educational outcomes for boys and young men of color.
White noted the critical importance of groups like CGCS.
“Because CGCS took the lead in coordinating this event, districts from across this country were in attendance and, as a result, the President and his cabinet heard the concerns of urban America,” said White. For decades this has been CUBE’s focus and we feel very fortunate that we were part of these focused conversations this past weekend in Washington.”