President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday (October 19th) that seeks to begin the work needed to address and eliminate racial disparities in U.S. education and, as a result, provide economic opportunities. The administration has led a working group of senior government agency officials to study and implement best practices that improve education and, ultimately, the financial performance of black Americans.
The Order is entitled White House initiative to advance educational equity, Excellence and economic opportunity for black Americans, and is a comprehensive plan that addresses issues ranging from access to education for 3- and 4-year-olds to black HBCU students, as well as those attending other post-secondary, business, and vocational training schools.
Biden’s order specifically cites “persistent racial and systemic injustices” as the main cause of why black students are often directed to the poorest schools with the least progress. Subsequently, this lack of educational opportunities has often left those children, once older, less and less lucrative job opportunities.
Recognizing this, the executive order describes the use of internships, apprenticeships, and partnerships with private sector companies to expose black students to careers and fields in which they are typically under-represented. There are also plans to highlight education and training that will allow black students to access STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
As Americans struggle to regain some sense of normalcy after 18 months of COVID blockade, the country’s economy is on the verge of shrinking $ 16 trillion due to lost productivity and business, according to a study by Journal of the American Medical Association.
The President’s order states that the pandemic is a big part of the need to improve the status quo by saying: “In order for our nation to recover equitably from the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure that every person “In America, we must move forward with equity and excellence in public education and access to economic opportunities.”
In addition, the working group will study and address factors outside the classroom, such as the elimination of discriminatory tuition, housing, transportation, and other policies that lead to racial and socioeconomic issues.
What will it be Does the White House Initiative to Advance Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity Exactly Do Black Americans?
To advance equity in our country’s schools and to promote the economic opportunity that follows for black students, families in communities, by focusing on certain political goals. First, there must be a general understanding of the educational challenges facing black students, increasing black students’ access to early childhood programs and services that promote healthy learning, and addressing this abuse to black students. , especially in special education, improving the collection of data related to blacks. students and ensure that all black students have access to excellent teachers and school leaders through a positive commitment to them and their families.
How will the initiative generate employment?
The initiative will oversee and support the development of black students with the help of federal coordination and funding around educational, labor, research, and business development policies and programs. There will be established programs with work-based learning, entrepreneurship, financial education, and tutoring to help empower black students to improve economic stability.
Since taking office in January, the Biden-Harris administration has spent the past 10 months working to address the lasting impacts of systemic racism on black communities.
These are just some of the areas in which the Administration has claimed success in benefiting blacks from a White House fact sheet called “The Biden-Harris Administration Advances Equity and Opportunities for Black People and communities across the country. ”
• Provide immediate relief to black individuals and families through the American Rescue Plan. The ARP provides cash assistance directly to low- and middle-income Americans, and is projected to reduce the black child poverty rate by more than 50% this year and has already reduced black child poverty by 40 percent. , 1%, taking about 420,000 black children out of poverty between June and July alone.
• Leverage Federal Recruitment to Reduce the Racial Wealth Gap for Black Entrepreneurs and Families. President Biden ordered agencies to use federal purchasing power to increase federal hiring with disadvantaged small businesses, including black-owned businesses, by 50%, which will translate into an additional $ 100,000 million over five years. .
• Extending a lifeline to troubled small businesses. The US Rescue Plan provided emergency grants, loans and investments to the most affected small businesses
• Help black Americans stay home. President Biden’s U.S. Rescue Plan has helped Americans stay home by providing emergency assistance to cover arrears. In addition, the ARP helps homeowners struggling to keep up with mortgage payments and utility costs through the Homeowners Assistance Fund. In addition, it provided additional funding for families and individuals who are recovering or at risk of becoming homeless.
• Assist black landowners in resolving title issues. It is estimated that 60% of the black-owned land in the south is owned by heirs who have historically made landlords ineligible for USDA programs, including loans. In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Heirs ’Property Delivery Program, which provides funding to help heirs resolve ownership and succession issues on farmland with multiple owners.
Police reform and justice
• Prohibition of suffocation. In September, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a ban on the use of asphyxiation and carotid restraints, except when lethal force is required.
• New restrictions on hit orders. Implement administrative law enforcement reforms that the president had asked Congress to enact nationwide through the George Floyd Police Justice Act.
• Restoration of the use of consent decrees to end systemic police misconduct. The DOJ rescinded previous administration guidelines that limited the use of consent decrees to reform police departments with a pattern or practice of discrimination and misconduct.
• Improve the prosecutor’s orientation to avoid excessively harsh sentences. The DOJ withdrew the guidelines issued to the previous Administration that required prosecutors to always cover the harshest sentences, replacing them with guidelines that restore discretion to make decisions on charges, statement agreements and defense in the sentence based on a individualized assessment of the relevant facts.
• Addressing police misconduct. The President strongly supports George Floyd’s Police Justice Act. He is disappointed that the legislation has not yet reached his desk and will not wait to advance meaningful police reform through executive action.
• Executive order restricting the use of private prisons. The president ordered the DOJ not to renew contracts for privately held criminal detention facilities, which cover the Office of Prisons (BOP) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS). When completed, up to 14,000 people in BOP custody and 10,000 people in USMS custody will be transferred from private prisons.
• Support for Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Programs.. Black boys and young men between the ages of 15 and 34 make up 2% of the population, but they make up 37% of homicide victims, and homicide is the leading cause of death for black men under the age of 45. years. Violence breakers and hospital programs, which have been shown to reduce violence by up to 60%, have been heavily underfunded.
• Support for the right to vote. President Biden has called on Congress to enact the John Lewis Advancement of Voting Rights Act and the Freedom of Voting Act, which would jointly establish national standards that facilitate voting and provide new tools to prevent voting discrimination.
Improving health outcomes for black communities
• Decreased health costs. Millions of low- and middle-income black families enrolled in health insurance markets saw their premiums reduced or eliminated as a result of ARP. Nationwide, existing consumers saved an average of $ 67 per person per month on their premiums. These monthly savings were even higher in 20 states and the District of Columbia, where existing consumers saved, on average, more than $ 75 a month.
– Millions of uninsured Americans were covered during the Administration’s 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Of those who recently signed up for HealthCare.gov coverage, 15% were black Americans, more than 60% of 2019.
-In April, President Biden issued the first presidential proclamation on Black Maternal Health Week, calling on all Americans to recognize the importance of addressing the crisis of black maternal mortality and morbidity. . In addition, the president’s budget request for fiscal year 22 includes more than $ 200 million to strengthen maternal mortality review committees, implement implicit bias training for health care providers, and create state-of-the-art home pregnancy programs, among other actions.
• Ensuring an equitable response to the pandemic. Across the country, black people have died from COVID-19 at 1.4 times the rate of white people. ARP provided $ 160 billion for vaccines, tests, personal protective equipment and public health workforce needed to tackle the spread of COVID-19, an investment that is helping to reduce racial disparities in prevention and care. Due to the ARP and the President’s other investments in equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, several studies show that the gap in COVID vaccination rates in black Americans has closed. with whites and Latinos.
In January, President Biden signed an executive order to ensure an equitable response and recovery from the pandemic, setting up a COVID-19 working group on health equity to provide specific recommendations to the president to mitigate health inequalities caused or exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent these inequalities in the future.