Tuesday, March 07, 2017

So what about the HBCU initiative from White House

Last month President Trump visited with the Presidents of the nations historically Black colleges. And then my alma mater's President made his own statement about this meeting that took place at the White House. It appears the outgoing President of Morehouse College was disappointed in what transpired.

Unfortunately this got lost while the mainstream media and social media went after Trump aide Kellyanne Conway because she chose to sit on an oval office couch with her knees. Even incurred something of a lewd joke by the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus which he was later forced to apologize.

I had first found an official statement by Dr. Wilson and while I shared it at Electric Moleskine it was never read. Now I got a time out to give it a read.
Many had high hopes about this meeting.  There was much advance chatter about it being “historic,” and there were many signals from key Trump administration officials that they would surprise HBCUs with favorable treatment.  Given my experience in the Obama administration, I knew this would require an extraordinary announcement.  Why?  Because I knew that President Obama had invested $3 billion more in HBCUs in his first six years than President Bush invested in his final six years.  Therefore, since President Trump pledged to “do more for HBCUs than any other president has done before,” we could have reasonably expected him to get started by announcing at least an additional $500 million to HBCUs…this year!  And beside the expectation of new funding, there was advance talk of changes like an aspirational goal of 5 to 10 percent for federal agency funding to HBCUs, a special HBCU innovation fund, large boosts in Pell Grant and Title III funding, and extra tax breaks for those in the private sector who contribute to HBCUs.  But, instead of the long-awaited executive order containing or signaling any of those outcomes, the key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House.  It is not possible to measure the impact of this gesture anytime soon, if ever.
Well that paragraph was just to share with you what happened late last month. The chairman of the CBC instead of having to comment on Ms. Conway should've instead had something to say about that executive order. Congressman Richmond himself from Louisiana has a few HBCU's in his state if not his congressional district he should know.

Apparently to politicians and the mainstream media the most important store was not parading around HBCU presidents only to sign an executive order to shift an HBCU initiative from the Department of Education to the White House. This seems to be a waste of their time an effort especially with any apparent build up.

BTW, this may not be a bad thing as the Secretary of Education made this gaffe regarding HBCUs:
 It should also be noted that, in her luncheon speech to HBCU presidents yesterday, Education Secretary DeVos struck a discordant note when she said of HBCUs, They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn't working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
 Uhhhhhhhhh, there wasn't much school choice for the newly freed slaves. Many HBCUs were founded in the 19th century, Morehouse College itself was created after the end of the Civil War. School choice hardly, there was little interest by the prevailing society at the time to education Blacks. Although yes many of this nation's HBCUs were founded by whites.

According to Dr. Wilson this is a troubling beginning. If the President hopes to do more than President Obama or President Bush hopefully more is coming from the White House than this executive order.

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