Monday, October 17, 2016

African American high school graduation rate rises under Pres. Obama

Next time someone asks you what has President Obama done for African Americans, you can come back with the FACT that under Obama high school graduation rates have risen for African American students and to an all time high among all students.

Graduation rates among black students have risen from 67% in 2010-2011 to 74.6% in the 2014-2015 school year. The 7.6% increase among African Americans was the biggest movement of any racial group. While there is still much to be done to get that rate even higher you can not ignore the tremendous work that has been done so far.

Here are some actions that were taken under President Obama's administration that have contributed to this welcome increase:

  • Investing in Early Education: In 2013, President Obama put forth his bold Preschool for All proposal to establish a federal-state partnership that would provide high-quality preschool for all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. After the President’s call, many states took action and today, 46 states and the District of Columbia invest in preschool programs. From 2009 to 2015, states enrolled 48,000 additional four-year-olds in preschool through their own investments. The Obama Administration has also invested an additional $4 billion in Head Start, the largest federal early childhood initiative, and $1.75 billion in Preschool Development Grants and Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants, leading to hundreds of thousands more children having access to high-quality preschool across the country.

  • Reforming and Improving America’s Schools: The Obama Administration’s Race to the Top program spurred systemic reforms, incentivizing states to adopt college and career-ready standards for teaching and learning and to undertake meaningful change across their public education systems. The $4 billion competitive grant program served 22 million students in 18 states and Washington D.C. -- nearly half of all students in the country. Through the School Improvement Grants program, the Administration has also invested over $7 billion to transform America’s lowest performing schools. These efforts helped contribute to a decline in dropout rates, and over the last decade, dropout rates have been cut dramatically for Latino and African American students, while the number of high schools where fewer than six in ten students graduate on time has been cut by more than 40 percent.

  • Connecting America’s Classrooms: Launched in 2013, the President’s ConnectED initiative set a goal of connecting 99 percent of students to high-speed broadband by 2018; issued a call to action on the private sector and other stakeholders to develop quality, low-cost digital devices and content for teachers and students; and increased investments in professional development for teachers and school leaders so they can lead the transition to digital learning. Today, students and teachers across the country are realizing the benefits of personalized, digital learning; thousands of districts have taken steps to make their schools “Future Ready,” 20 million more students have gained access to high-speed broadband in their classrooms, and millions of students in all 50 states are leveraging new resources that support ConnectED, such as Open eBooks.

  • Spurring Innovation in Education: The Obama Administration has invested in new efforts to develop, test, refine, and scale a new set of solutions to close achievement gaps in America’s public schools. By investing more than $1.3 billion in nearly 160 projects, the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) has reached more than two million students across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Projects undergo rigorous evaluation and expand the knowledge base to enable educators across the country to use a new set of strategies and solutions that will help students make even greater progress in the years ahead.  Last year, the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act codified the new Education Innovation and Research program as a successor to i3. The Obama Administration has also invested almost $350 million in replicating high quality charter schools, serving predominantly low-income students.

  • Redesigning America’s High Schools: President Obama recognizes that we must do more to engage, prepare, and inspire college and career-ready students, and align high school learning to the experiences and opportunities that matter in young people’s lives. That is why in the President’s 2013 State of the Union address, he laid out a new vision for America’s high schools, proposing funding to scale-up innovative high school models and partnerships with colleges and employers so that all students graduate better equipped for the demands of the innovation economy. To build on this work the White House has hosted two annual summits on Next Generation High Schools in 2015 and 2016, announcing $375 million in private and public sector commitments and commitments from states and school districts estimated to impact more than 600,000 students to advance Next Generation High Schools.

  • Developing and Supporting Great Teachers and Leaders: The Obama Administration’s investments during the Great Recession saved and created an estimated 400,000 jobs, mostly directly in education.  The Administration has also invested over $3.5 billion in competitive grant programs since 2009 to prepare, develop, support and retain outstanding educators across America’s urban and rural schools -- through programs such as the School Leadership ProgramSupporting Effective Educator DevelopmentTeacher Incentive FundTeacher Quality Partnership and Transition to Teaching.

  • Promoting Excellence in STEM and Computer Science for All:America is on track to meet President Obama’s goal of preparing 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021; 100,000 engineers are graduating yearly from American universities for the first time; and states and cities across the country are answering the President’s call to ensure that all of America’s students have the opportunity to learn computer science in their schools.  31 states now count computer science classes toward their high school graduation requirements, and a new computer science Advanced Placement (AP) course has launched in more than 2,000 classrooms.
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