Senior Official to Visit Los Angeles for Summit on Improving Educational Outcomes for African Americans and Event Focusing on Early Learning Opportunities for Children of Color

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David Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (Initiative), will visit Los Angeles today and Thursday, Oct. 28-29, for events focusing on improving educational outcomes for African Americans and students of color, beginning with early learning programs.

This afternoon at 1 p.m., he will moderate a summit at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) on “Educational Excellence for African Americans.” The Initiative has partnered with LMU’s Office of the Vice President for Intercultural Affairs, Government and Community Relations, and the African American Alumni Association to host the summit addressing issues impacting the academic success of African-American students and their ability to survive and thrive in post-secondary institutions and compete in a competitive workforce.

On Thursday, the Initiative is partnering with Education for a Better America, National Action Network’s Los Angeles chapter and the First Five California Commission for an event to raise awareness about the importance of early learning and development, and to increase the number of children and families enrolled in high-quality early learning programs and support services. The “Faith Leaders Training to Accelerate Early Learning Opportunities” event will take place at Southside Bethel Baptist Church, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It will provide interactive presentations and panels on the importance of early learning designed to highlight the science behind early learning and development, and specific benefits of high-quality programs and support services for African American children and families. In addition, the event will focus on equipping faith leaders with tools needed to further this work.

Johns is among the speakers and will discuss the Initiative’s role in amplifying the Administration’s commitment to investing in early learning through grant programs such as Preschool Development and Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. The U.S. Department of Education released a report this week that shows Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge states are rapidly improving the quality of early learning programs while enrolling more children, especially from low- and moderate income families, in the highest-quality programs. What’s more, thousands more children are receiving health screenings to help detect medical or developmental issues earlier, the report shows. Johns also will discuss the Initiative’s efforts in helping to improve and accelerate African-American students’ academic success, as well as strategies, such as parental and community engagement, to help them become successful, not only in school but in career and life.