Obama announced the initiative Wednesday in remarks at the National Urban League conference in New Orleans.
The initiative sets a number of goals, including:
-- Increasing the percentage of African-American children who enter kindergarten, improving access to high-quality early learning and development programs;
-- Ensuring that all African-American students have access to high-level, rigorous course work and support services that will prepare them for college, a career and civic participation;
-- Providing African-American students with access to effective teachers and principals in pursuit of a high-quality education, and supporting efforts to improve the recruitment, preparation, development and retention of successful African-American teachers and principals;
--- Promoting a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools, and decreasing the disproportionate number of referrals to special education by addressing root causes of the referrals;
-- Reducing the dropout rate of African-American students and increasing the proportion of African-American students who graduate from high school prepared for college and career.
The "White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans" in the Department of Education will work with the Executive Office of the President and Cabinet agencies to improve African-American student achievement in school and college, the White House said, and to develop a national network of individuals, organizations and communities that will share and implement these practices.
It will also help ensure that federal programs and initiatives administered by the Department of Education and other federal agencies maintain a focus on serving and meeting the educational needs of African-Americans, the White House said.