For Obama, ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ Initiative Is Personal

The White House’s latest effort aims to help young men of color succeed in school and at work.

President Barack Obama speaks as young men who participate in the 'Becoming A Man' program in Chicago watch him during an event in the East Room of the White House February 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama signed an executive memorandum following remarks on the My Brother's Keeper initiative. 
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Sophie Quinton
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Sophie Quinton
March 4, 2014, 3:09 a.m.

Here’s a roundup of the edu­ca­tion art­icles that caught Next Amer­ica’s eye from Feb. 24 to Mar. 3. All ad­dress trends that par­tic­u­larly af­fect minor­ity stu­dents.

Obama: “When I was their age, I was a lot like them.” Pres­id­ent Obama’s new ini­ti­at­ive aimed at help­ing young, minor­ity men is small in scale: a $200 mil­lion phil­an­throp­ic com­mit­ment from the private sec­tor, plus an in­ter­agency task force. But Obama’s speech launch­ing the ini­ti­at­ive was one of the most pas­sion­ate and per­son­al he’s made in a while. The pres­id­ent noted that demo­graph­ic shifts have made help­ing young minor­ity men more im­port­ant than ever. “This is a mor­al is­sue for our coun­try,” Obama said. “It’s also an eco­nom­ic is­sue for our coun­try. After all, these boys are a grow­ing seg­ment of our pop­u­la­tion. They are our fu­ture work­force.” New York Times

The Stat­ist­ics That Ex­plain Why Young, Minor­ity Men Lag Be­hind. Think­Pro­gress, a policy blog at the left-lean­ing Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress, breaks down the odds stacked against the young Afric­an-Amer­ic­an and His­pan­ic men Pres­id­ent Obama’s ini­ti­at­ive hopes to serve. The bar­ri­ers be­gin with lower levels of early child­hood edu­ca­tion and end with high adult un­em­ploy­ment rates. Gaps in in­come and wealth between white and black Amer­ic­ans have been rising for 40 years. Think­Pro­gress

With Lower As­pir­a­tions, White Men Go Fur­ther In Com­munity Col­lege. White male stu­dents at two-year col­leges are less en­gaged in the classroom than their black and Latino peers. Yet 32 per­cent of white, male com­munity col­lege stu­dents go on to earn a de­gree or cer­ti­fic­ate with­in three years, com­pared to just 5 per­cent of black and Latino male com­munity col­lege stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Cen­ter for Com­munity Col­lege Stu­dent En­gage­ment at the Uni­versity of Texas. The re­port cri­ti­cized ad­min­is­trat­ors for steer­ing aca­dem­ic­ally weak minor­ity stu­dents in­to pro­grams fo­cused on ad­dress­ing weak­nesses, rather than on tap­ping in­to stu­dents’ strengths. The Chron­icle of High­er Edu­ca­tion

Col­lege Sup­ply Mat­ters, Too. De­mand for high­er edu­ca­tion needs to be met with enough sup­ply — in the form of ad­equately fun­ded seats at col­leges and uni­versit­ies, ac­cord­ing to colum­nist Eduardo Port­er. A 2006 study from John Bound of the Uni­versity of Michigan and Sarah Turn­er of the Uni­versity of Vir­gin­ia found that when states had a large col­lege-age pop­u­la­tion, pub­lic spend­ing per stu­dent fell and so did gradu­ation rates. Oth­er re­search­ers have found that the wage premi­um as­so­ci­ated with a col­lege de­gree rises when state in­sti­tu­tions charge more in tu­ition and en­roll few­er stu­dents. New York Times

Amer­ic­ans and busi­ness lead­ers weigh in on skills and im­mig­ra­tion. Just over half of Amer­ic­ans would fa­vor a policy that would is­sue green cards to in­ter­na­tion­al stu­dents who gradu­ate from U.S. col­lege or uni­versity, ac­cord­ing to a Gal­lup sur­vey con­duc­ted on the be­half of the Lu­mina Found­a­tion and re­leased last week. Thirty-four per­cent of the over 1,000 people sur­veyed in Eng­lish-lan­guage phone in­ter­views said fam­ily ties to U.S. cit­izens should be the highest pri­or­ity in im­mig­ra­tion policy de­cisions; 29 per­cent said work skills should take pre­ced­ence. In a sep­ar­ate sur­vey, 42 per­cent of about 600 busi­ness lead­ers chose work skills. Gal­lup

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