David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (WHIEEAA), will participate in a community forum on Wednesday, May 6, in Trenton, New Jersey. Johns will discuss the need to help students of color become more engaged in STEM, both inside and outside the classroom, and how schools can help create optimal conditions for innovation and reform.
The event, sponsored by the New Jersey chapter of the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent-Teacher Association, will celebrate teachers, highlight best practices around STEM and student achievement, engage communities of color in a discussion about the importance and value of STEM courses for students, and address the importance of community involvement in helping to promote the academic success of children. The Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and founder of the National Action Network, and Becky Pringle, vice president of NEA and a member of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, will join Johns.
The Obama administration is committed to raising standards, upgrading curriculum, and forging partnerships to improve the use and understanding of STEM in classrooms. The U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is leading new interagency partnerships to bring hands-on STEM learning opportunities to high-need students during after-school and out-of-school time. In addition, the Department has several grant programs that focus on improving educational opportunities for students through STEM programs.