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RPS joins pledge to improve achievement among young men of color

7/21/2014, 2:07 p.m.
RPS School Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden: “We are and will continue to be committed to monitoring the progress of ...
RPS Superintendent Dana Bedden (right) with Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones

At a special White House event with President Barack Obama, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) joined with 60 urban school districts across the country to commit to “A Pledge by America’s Great City Schools.”

In partnership with the Council of Great City Schools, school superintendents and board members representing several of the nation’s inner-city public school systems united to signify a shared commitment toward the improvement of academic and social outcomes for young males of color.

In addition to reducing the disproportionate number of males of color who are absent, suspended, expelled, or placed inappropriately in special education classes, the pledge calls for urban school systems to bolster efforts to increase opportunities for success among school-age males of color through several specific actions, which include:

 Adopting and implementing elementary and middle school efforts to increase “the pipeline” of males of color who are on track to succeed in high school, and increasing the numbers participating in advanced placement, honors, and gifted and talented programs;

 Ensuring that pre-school efforts better serve males of color and their academic and social development;

 Keeping data and establishing protocols to monitor the progress of males of color and intervene at the earliest warning signs of problems.

“Education is the great equalizer and a pathway to opportunity. With nearly 45 percent of the district’s population being males of color, the Richmond School Board and district administration are united in supporting efforts to increase graduation rates, participation in accelerated academic programs, and early access to education,” said RPS School Superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden. “We are and will continue to be committed to monitoring the progress of our males of color, and will work to develop early warning systems that will allow us to activate the interventions we have available to increase student success.”

Council of Great City Schools Executive Director Michael Casserly added, “Our job as urban educators is not to reflect or perpetuate the inequities that too many of our males of color face; our job is to eliminate those inequities—and that is what we pledge to do.”