The White House has announced new commitments totaling more than $100 million in support of My Brother's Keeper, an initiative launched in February to expand opportunity and improve life outcomes for boys and young men of color.
The latest commitments to the public-private partnership include $50 million from the Emerson Collective, founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, to connect Silicon Valley innovators with school districts working to redesign high schools to meet the needs of the new economy and develop educational models that increase engagement and success among underserved students. In addition, the NBA and the National Basketball Retired Players Association announced a five-year partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Team Turnaround, and the Council of the Great City Schools in support of efforts to reduce dropout rates, improve the worst-performing schools, and recruit high-quality mentors; AT&T pledged $18 million — as part of a broader $350 million commitment to improve high school success and workforce readiness for at-risk students — to launch the Aspire Mentoring Academy Corps, expand online mentoring, develop a mentoring app, and pilot a STEM mentoring program; the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention announced a three-year, $10 million commitment to create a Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps; and the U.S. Forest Service and AmeriCorps announced a $3.8 million commitment to connect youth with service opportunities restoring the nation's forests and grasslands.
Other pledges include $10 million over three years from Citi Foundation to create ServiceWorks, which will deploy AmeriCorps members to help prepare twenty-five thousand students in ten cities across the country for college and careers in a global economy; $10 million from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools to fund the expansion and an evaluation of the Becoming A Man and Match tutoring programs; $1.5 million from the College Board for "All In," a national outreach effort designed to ensure that all African-American, Latino, and Native American students with strong AP potential enroll in at least one AP class before graduation; and $1 million from Discovery Communications to create special programming designed to counter negative stereotypes about boys and young men of color.
Leaders of sixty of the largest school districts in the country also pledged to better support boys and young men of color based on an eleven-point plan that includes expanding access to high-quality preschool, implementing or scaling early warning systems to prevent grade retention, establishing programs to reduce suspensions and expulsions, increasing access to advanced and rigorous coursework, and ensuring that students complete federal financial aid applications.
While a handful of districts have already made progress in helping African-American and Latino boys improve their academic performance, "we need to move these numbers and improve these futures as a collective if the nation as a whole is to make any progress on this front," Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, told MSNBC. "It's not enough for us to do well in a small number of cities."