The White House Champions Education Excellence for African Americans

Aug 03, 2012

By Kisha Bird, Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant and Hannah Matthews

Last week, the President issued an Executive Order to establish the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, consisting of a Presidential Advisory Commission and Federal Interagency Working Group to Enhance Educational Outcomes for African American Students. Housed within the U.S. Department of Education, the Initiative is charged with working across federal agencies to identify best practices that will improve educational outcomes for African Americans at all levels, from early care and education to the successful completion of post-secondary credentials. One goal of the initiative is to increase the share of African American children who enter kindergarten ready for success by improving access to high-quality early learning and development programs.

CLASP applauds the Administration's recognition that many of the nation's African American children do not begin at the same starting point. Large gaps in economic well-being and associated disparities in health mean that many young African-American children begin their earliest years of life already at a disadvantage. High-quality early childhood education programs are key to getting young children and their families the supports they need to thrive in school and in life.  

Racial and ethnic disparities will not be eliminated without recognition of the differences that exist and targeted responses to improve the quality of early childhood policies and practices for diverse communities. The Administration's new initiative recognizes the importance of focusing on a group of high needs children so that all our children and youth have access to wider opportunities. 



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