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CDF and ETS’s Addressing Achievement Gaps Symposium

June 23, 2014

National Press Club
Washington, D.C.


In 2011, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) launched a four-part series that focuses on improving the education and development of Black boys and young men in the United States. This year's Achievement Gap Symposium, "Advancing Success for Black Men in College," will focus on the opportunities and challenges Black men ages 18–24 face as they consider, enter and navigate postsecondary education in pursuit of a college degree.


Monday, June 23, 2014


National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

Online registration for the symposium is closed but walk-ins will be admitted if space permits.

Follow the event on Twitter @ChildDefender using the hashtag #BlackMenInCollege.

Symposium Overview:

At this year's symposium, we will examine the opportunities and challenges that postsecondary education presents for young Black men, as well as discuss evidence and generate solutions that can help lead to greater success. Along with research, examples and expertise, the symposium will feature anecdotes from Black men who have succeeded at accessing, affording and completing college.

We will concentrate on several key areas that can help advance the success of Black men in college. They include:

  • Federal, state and local education and academic policies that promote access, persistence and completion
  • Clear and reliable pathways for Black men to earn college degrees and transition into careers
  • Effective affordability and financing strategies that successfully advance access and completion
  • The experience of Black men who currently attend college

Session participants will address many of the following questions, including:

  • What can we learn from the experience of Black men in college? How can we build upon what is working?
  • What policy solutions would do more to support Black men in the pursuit of their degrees?
  • What are some innovative financing and affordability strategies that increase college access, persistence and success for young Black men?
  • How can we ensure that the most vulnerable students in college — those without critical support "back home" — succeed in achieving their dreams of a college education? What can institutions, advocates and policymakers do to ensure their success?

Confirmed Speakers Include:

Benjamin Castleman, University of Virginia
Michael Lawrence Collins, Jobs for the Future
Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund
Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania
Shaun Harper, University of Pennsylvania
Jeff Johnson, Illume Communications
John Lee, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
Walt MacDonald, ETS
Ronald Mason, Southern University System
Heather McGhee, Demos
Michael Nettles, ETS
Theodore Shaw, Columbia University
Hal Smith, National Urban League
Zakiya Smith, Lumina Foundation
Darren Walker, Ford Foundation
John Wilson, Morehouse College
J. Luke Wood, San Diego State University

For the most updated list of speakers and more information about this event, please visit www.ets.org/achievementgap.

Learn more about CDF’s initiatives for boys and men of color.