The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities has partnered with several of our Federal Agency Partners to present Back to School Week on September 19th-23rd 2016. This week-long celebration will bring federal agencies closer to HBCU students to highlight student opportunities in the government and shine a light on some of the work of the agencies. To reach as many HBCU students as possible, we will provide a mix of both in-person and virtual events. Be sure to read each event description as some require pre-registration. Please check back as we are constantly updating the list of events. Happy Back to School Time!
|Today, I will join President Obama as he travels to Lehman College in the Bronx, NY to speak about the importance of expanding opportunity and to applaud a new private-sector entity — the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.A group of private-sector leaders and other prominent private citizens, led by Joe Echevarria (the former CEO of Deloitte LLP) have come together to form this new, independent non-profit. Joined by a diverse range of philanthropic, community, and private-sector partners, leaders of the Alliance are pledging to work to expand opportunity for youth, strengthen the American workforce, and fortify the economic stability of communities across America.
The Alliance will join other private-sector organizations all across America to focus on expanding opportunity and tearing down barriers facing our youth so that we can truly say the American Dream is available to all.
Meanwhile, at the White House, the work of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Task Force, which it is my honor to chair, will continue to move forward on the work the President has charged us with. We will continue — with great urgency — to disseminate best practices, strengthen federal policy, and implement strategies to support communities in their efforts to expand opportunity for all youth.
When President Obama first announced the My Brother’s Keeper initiative from the East Room of the White House in February 2014, he framed it as a call to action for every American to recognize that “my neighbor’s child is my child” — that each of us has an obligation to give every child the same chance this country has given so many of us.
Over the past year, foundations, corporations, small business owners, educators, philanthropies, law enforcement, artists, athletes, and all levels of government from across the country have responded with remarkable energy and resolve, and they have announced an array of fresh initiatives to attack the challenges facing our youth in new ways.
Over the course of the Administration, we have made consistent progress on important goals, such as reducing high school dropout rates and lowering unemployment and crime.
Yet persistent gaps in employment, educational outcomes, and career skills remain, barring too many youth from realizing their full potential, and creating harmful social and economic costs to our nation.
Over the past year, we already have made progress addressing the central goals originally laid out by the President’s MBK Task Force to ensure that all young people enter school ready to learn, all young people are reading at grade level by the third grade, all youth are graduating from high school ready for college and career, all youth are completing postsecondary education or training, all young people are successfully entering the workforce, and all young people are safe from violence and provided the second chances they deserve.
Here are some examples on how we are working to achieve these goals:
Beyond the work of the President’s MBK Task Force, there are now more than 200 communities that have accepted the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, committing to launching Local Action Plans with bold goals and strategies to produce results that will bridge opportunity gaps.
And, since the President’s call to action in February 2014, nearly $500 million in grants and in-kind resources have been independently committed by the private sector to attack the challenges facing our youth in new ways and expand opportunity, including a $100 million announcement just last week from Equal Opportunity Schools and its partners to increase enrollment of low-income and minority students in advance courses.
For so many of us, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative is deeply personal. As a proud son of Baltimore, this week’s announcement comes at a time of unique and special resonance for me.
As the country reflects on our shared responsibility to ensure that opportunity reaches every young person, I urge everyone to look at their own capacity to make a difference. Whether it’s taking time to mentor, tutoring young people in your neighborhood, or creating new internship or apprenticeship opportunities for young people in your community — everyone can play a role in building a brighter future.
The President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative is about recognizing that our young people are not the problem, but rather the solution. And it’s about each of us seeing our neighbor’s child as our own. Their futures as individuals, and as members of a shared community and economy, are forever tied together.
As we move further into the fourth quarter of President Obama’s time in office, our entire team is following his lead and preparing to accomplish as much as we possibly can with the MBK Task Force. And as leaders like Joe Echevarria, MBK Alliance honorary chair John Legend, and their colleagues take initiative to respond to the challenges facing our youth in new ways — big and small, locally and nationally — I share the President’s confidence that we will begin to see a future come into focus that is increasingly inclusive, empowering, and rich with opportunity for all Americans.
We welcome the newly organized My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to this work, and look forward to the progress they will help build.
Broderick Johnson Chair, My Brother’s Keeper Task Force The White House
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House
The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111
America’s College Promise and HBCUs
Ivory A. Toldson
Recently, President Obama unveiled a proposal to offer free community college tuition for all Americans who maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program. Today, community colleges educate more African American undergraduate students than any other higher education provider. So, this policy can lead to significant increases in the number of students who transfer to four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, including many students who had not been accepted for first-time admission to a four-year college.
Currently, twelve of the 100 Title IV participating HBCUs are community colleges and would benefit directly from President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal. These colleges are: Bishop State Community College (AL); Gadsden State Community College (AL); H Councill Trenholm State Technical College (AL); Hinds Community College (MS); J F Drake State Community and Technical College (AL); Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus (AL); Shelton State Community College (AL); Southern University at Shreveport (LA); Coahoma Community College (MS); Denmark Technical College (SC); St Philip’s College (TX); and Shorter College (AR).
However, four-year HBCUs have as much to gain from the America’s College Promise as community colleges. Today, community colleges educate a large number of students who could not otherwise gain admissions to four-year HBCUs due to new, tougher admissions criteria at many colleges and universities. Over the last ten years, state laws or board policies have restricted admissions at traditional four-year colleges, including state HBCUs, based on the premise that less academically prepared students should start their postsecondary experience at a community college. These changes range from setting a minimum ACT or SAT requirement for public universities, to prohibiting public four-year colleges from offering remedial classes. According to The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, 65 of the 100 HBCUs that qualify for Federal Student Financial Aid have selective admissions, while the remaining 34 campuses have open admissions. Only 4 of the 34 open admissions HBCUs are 4-year public institutions.
The America’s College Promise proposal can supplement the changes already occurring at four-year HBCUs by covering the cost of tuition during the years that students are receiving remedial developmental education. In addition, the proposal would require states to maintain or increase existing higher education investments, as a condition of participating in this historic federal program. This means the Administration’s proposal would both supplement state higher education budgets and safeguard state HBCUs from budget cuts.
Finally, the America’s College Promise proposal can inspire more articulation agreements between HBCUs and community colleges, and possibly expand out-of-state enrollment at HBCUs. Twenty U.S. states and one U.S. territory are home to HBCUs. However, even states with no HBCUs recognize the potential of these unique and distinguished institutions to provide support to Black community college transfer students. For example, the California Community Colleges system has taken a historic step towards advancing transfer partnerships with HBCUs though a memorandum of understanding, which will be ceremonially signed by selected HBCU presidents at the California Community Colleges Board of Governors meeting in Sacramento.
In short, the America’s College Promise proposal would help to complement and strengthen the efforts of America’s HBCUs, by: providing direct support to the 12 percent of HBCUs that are community colleges; mitigating selective admissions requirements by providing free developmental support to students that four-year HBCUs may have initially been required to reject; and supporting and expanding articulation agreements between HBCUs and community colleges across the nation.
America’s College Promise is a win-win for community colleges and HBCUs — and for the nation’s students.
Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is currently on leave from his position as associate professor at Howard University. He is also contributing educational editor for The Root. Follow him on twitter @toldson.