Obama’s Education Initiative Is a Game Changer for Black Males

The White House's new Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, which addresses the alarming under-performance of African-American students, is a game changer for millions of black students. Black males, who continue to lag behind their peers, will be particularly helped by this Initiative.

The strategy for the Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement has always been to ensure black students, particularly young black males, receive an education that fully equips them to excel academically, graduate from high school and college, and be career ready.

The White House initiative affirms our support of organizations and projects like The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, Eagle Academy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Young Men's Initiative, and others working to provide black male students with high quality education through equitable access to effective teachers and principals and positive school climates. It also validates our support of work to increase the capacity of higher education institutions that serve large numbers of African American students, including community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, predominantly black institutions, and others.

We hope the announcement will encourage others in philanthropy and in the public and private sectors to seize this opportunity to work together locally and nationally to improve the educational outcomes of African American and all students.

We also hope this initiative will play a key role in addressing school policies that have a disparate impact on black males like discipline policies that push students out of school, widen the achievement gap, and increase the likelihood of kids dropping out of school.

We strongly believe that in order to improve educational success for all American children, regardless of race and gender, we must place a special emphasis on helping black male students succeed. The Initiative for Educational Excellence for African Americans is a great step towards advancing these goals.

Learn More:



This is great news for the entire country. Black boys have always been the proverbial canary in the coal mine in America. I am confident that we will see a groundswell of coaltions, partnerships and movement born out of this initiative. The late Steve Jobs talked about our responsibility to "push the human race forward." However, we can't push the human race forward without pushing black boys forward. As a nation we must sieze this pivotal moment in history.

Therman Evans, Board Chair, Mentoring to Manhood

Great, the issues facing black males in our schools have been challenging to say the least. My question is that how with this Initiative assist with the hundreds of charter and voucher schools where thousands of black males are being illegally counseled out, pushed-out via suspensions and expulsions, not addressing the achievement gap? Many of these schools operate with no accountability to local school board, parents or community

It appears this initiative lends the possibility of providing significant political "clout" behind an effort that will ultimately impact the entire country via our families. There are a number of areas (e.g., education, college readiness, job readiness, wealth management, etc.) needing attention such a focus is warranted. Key to this success will be the financial resources provided or made available to grass-roots and umbrella organizations to oversee the production of demonstrable outcomes. Let's "make it happen!"

R. Anthony Mills, Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M. Academy (Baltimore, MD)

Great! We now have an effort that will put legs to the vision."We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inallienable rights, and among these rights are life , liberty and the persuit of happiness". We must not only prepare our young Black youth for a good education and career, but also for Manhood and Fatherhood.Our future depends on it. George J Penn Ph.D. Bridges Academic Center of Excellence.

Add your voice