In just three short months since it’s launch, The White House’s educational reform program, My Brother’s Keeper, has set its sights on narrowing the reading gap, improving school discipline standards and increasing universal Pre-K.
The initiative, focused on improving the lives of young men of color, has been met with ambivalent sentiment, as many in the black community, the target market, feel it has come too late. Yet Obama is adamant in moving forward and enacting change.
On Friday, May 30th, Obama announced that Magic Johnson, former NBA All-Star and entrepreneur and Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte Consulting, will lead in the efforts to recruit more private-sector partners and successful community leaders to serve as mentors. The mentor aspect of the program is imperative, as studies have found that nearly 2 out of every 3 minority children are raised in a single parent household. In addition, the absence of a paternal figure in the house increases the risk of the child dropping out of school by about 82 percent. This demographic also has below average reading scores and high school graduation rates.
My Brother’s Keeper aims to address these disparities and has already secured $200 million in funding from the likes of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation. Unfortunately, the absence of monetary or personal support from Congress is indicative of their lack of interest in the POTUS’ endeavors.
While this gap is the result of years of oppression and much more will need to be done, this is a great start for our community.