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HBCUs Have Key Role to Play in School Reform Efforts

HBCUs Have Key Role to Play in School Reform EffortsBlack colleges have significant roles to play in implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, the new federal reform plan for K-12 education, administration officials told HBCU leaders in September.
“HBCUs are a top priority for this administration,” said Wilbert Bryant, deputy assistant secretary for postsecondary education and Virginia’s former education secretary.
The administration’s new plan seeks to improve education for African Americans and address functional illiteracy in inner cities, two issues in which HBCUs have long-standing interest.
Too often, he said, the current education system “has failed African American children.”
HBCUs also are potentially important partners for K-12 districts on issues such as teacher education, a major target of reform under the new law, said Jeffrey Andrade, who also is a deputy assistant secretary for postsecondary education.
During presentations before the National HBCU Week Conference in Crystal City, Va., Sept. 17, both officials also cited new outreach initiatives.
Andrade pledged to increase outreach to HBCUs seeking federal dollars under the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). HBCUs that did not receive recent FIPSE awards will get detailed feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of their proposals to help in the next round of grant awards, Andrade said.
The administration’s electronic government initiative also may help colleges seeking federal funds, Bryant said. New policies soon will allow colleges to file performance reports and grant applications electronically, significantly cutting down on paperwork. 

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