U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and David J. Johns, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, will visit University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC) to meet with school leaders and students to highlight how the school has become a leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Last year, 41 percent of the bachelor's degrees earned at UMBC were in STEM fields, well above the national average of 25 percent. Duncan also will participate in a roundtable discussion with school leaders and students, followed by visits to science labs. Leaders and students from the Choice Program will also participate in the discussion.
The Choice Program uses a community-based, family-centered, case management approach to delinquency prevention and youth development, focusing on providing support in at-risk environments. The Choice Program, a not-for-profit organization, is administered by The Shriver Center at UMBC. The Shriver Center strives to engage the strengths and resources of higher education in finding creative solutions to some of the most urgent social challenges.
President Obama recently announced a new initiative, My Brother's Keeper, specifically aimed at creating pathways to success for men and boys of color, building off existing successful concepts like the UMBC's Choice Program. The new initiative will bring foundations and companies together help find solutions to keep these young men in school and out of the criminal justice system, and improve their employment opportunities. The initiative will focus on using results and evidence to evaluate what works and stop what doesn't to improve opportunities for at-risk youth—all within existing federal resources. The Departments of Education and Justice recently released the school discipline guidance, which is a powerful example of the kinds of actions the federal government can take and resources it can provide to bolster outcomes and reduce disparities for at-risk students.