“Obama wants to stop ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities”


By CHRISTI PARSONS
FEBRUARY 11, 2014, 3:00 AM
President Obama reportedly plans to unveil an initiative Thursday aimed at improving the lives of young black and Latino
men and stopping what an administration official called “the school-to-prison pipeline.” (Pablo Martinez Monsivais /
Associated Press)
W
ASHINGTON – President Obama plans to launch an initiative aimed at
improving the lives of young black and Latino men by bringing businesses and
foundations together with government agencies to change what an
administration official called the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
The initiative, which Obama calls “My Brother’s Keeper,” is to be unveiled Thursday, the official
said. It will mark the latest in a series of efforts by the president to spur social change outside the
stalemated legislative process.
The move also represents an escalation of Obama’s efforts to directly target the problems faced by
young men of color.5/13/2014 Obama wants tostop’school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities – Los Angeles Times
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During the last five years, Obama has met privately with groups of minority teenagers and young
men in their communities and at the White House. But in his State of the Union speech, Obama
pledged to go further, saying he would bring more of his resources as president to bear on the
social problems that get in the way of success for minority youth.
“I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative
to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential,” he
said.
Thursday’s White House announcement is aimed at fulfilling that pledge, the administration
official said.
Some parts of the campaign likely will involve identifying and changing government policies that
create undue barriers to opportunity.
The official pointed to recent guidelines that the Departments of Education and Justice sent to
school districts that were designed to prompt changing “zero tolerance” school discipline policies
as an example of the kinds of actions that might be involved. Zero-tolerance policies aimed at
potentially disruptive behavior have in many cases had disproportionately harsh impacts on
minority students, particularly boys, the two departments noted.
But much of the initiative is expected to focus on private-sector activities, with the White House
working as a catalyst.
Obama is expected to appear with other prominent men of color to talk about how businesses and
foundations can work together on community-centered initiatives to help children come to school
ready to learn and to keep them away from criminal activity.
The new campaign is meant to build a range of programs boosting everything from literacy and
early learning to efforts at helping young men find jobs and career opportunities, the
administration official said.
The president is expected to announce corporate donations for the campaign, along with a new
government effort to focus federal resources on solving problems facing boys and young men of
color.
Republican elected officials, faith leaders and corporate executives are among those who have
been working on this project for the last several months, aides said.
Several young men and boys will be present for the event, among them participants of the
Chicago-based group “Becoming a Man,” a support group for teens that the president visited on a5/13/2014 Obama wants tostop’school-to-prison pipeline’ for minorities – Los Angeles Times
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trip to Chicago last year.
christi.parsons@latimes.com