Child Welfare


For Immediate Release
June 6, 2011 

For More Information Contact:
Patti Hassler
Vice President for Communications and Outreach
202-662-3554 office


WHAT: Achievement Gaps Symposium –Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) will co-sponsor a joint symposium, A Strong Start: Positioning Young Black Boys for Educational Success.

ETS and CDF present researchers, policy experts, educators and practitioners to confront the crisis facing Black boys with today’s latest research and statistics and tomorrow’s solutions:

  • The link between early brain development and later academic achievement.
  • The success of early childhood home visiting programs.
  • Two leading schools with an integrated early learning through third-grade program.
  • CDF Freedom Schools® program’s promising results in stanching summer learning loss which contributes to the achievement gap.

Today, many of the 3.5 million Black boys under the age of nine will not enter the pipeline to college and successful adulthood. More than 40 percent of Black children are born into poverty. Poor Black children are behind in cognitive development at nine months and further behind at 24 months. By kindergarten, poor Black children have to beat the odds to catch up – and as test results show, many never do.

This critical symposium will focus on how to change those odds and give young Black boys a strong start for educational and life success.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST
WHERE: National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor – Ballroom
WHO: Michael Nettles – ETS Senior Vice President and Edmund W. Gordon Chair
Marian Wright Edelman – President, Children’s Defense Fund
Dr. Cathy Grace – Director of Early Childhood, CDF
Dr. Jeanne Middleton-Hairston – Director of Freedom Schools, CDF
Wade Henderson – President, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Rev. Anjohnette Gibbs – Project Director, Delta Early Learning Program
Iheoma Iruka – Investigator, FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina
Kristie Kauerz – Program Director, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Rashanda Perryman – Early Childhood Senior Policy Associate, CDF
Aisha Ray – Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Erikson Institute Linda
Sullivan-Dudzic – Special Program Director, Bremerton School District, Seattle, Wash.
Jerry Weast – Superintendent, Montgomery County Schools, Rockville, Md.

About ETS

At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

About the CDF

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations.