Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 3.17.01 PMHarvard Graduate School of Education has selected Louisville as one of six cities to participate in a program that will develop ways to close the achievement gap for socio-economically disadvantaged children.

The program — dubbed “By All Means: Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity” — also calls on the cities’ mayors to create a “Children’s Cabinet” composed of superintendents, heads of health and social services, recreation, cultural and arts activists, and other key community leaders.

The consortium includes a series of five national meetings over two-and-a-half years at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Cities will send teams who will learn from national experts. In the interim, cities have access to a part-time consultant.

Each city will work on an individualized plan. Mayor Greg Fischer said in a press release that this gels nicely with the Cradle to Career initiative already in place.

“This partnership with Harvard’s By All Means initiative is a huge boost to our Cradle to Career program, which is based on two notions: That a successful community is a community of lifelong learners, and that we must work to remove the barriers that keep too many of our citizens from success,” said Fischer. “We are grateful for this opportunity, which we will use to ensure that Cradle to Career activities are tightly linked to the health, social and emotional wrap-around services and interventions needed to support our children and their families.”

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens added, “We know that in order for some of our students to reach their full potential, we must remove barriers to learning. This partnership allows us to help support our students, build a foundation for educational success and graduate students who will contribute richly to the fabric of this community.”

The initiative is hosted by the Education Redesign Lab established in 2015. The lab’s announcement of the By All Means program begins, “Education, it is often said, is the civil rights issue of our time. But it is also the national security issue of our time, and the economic prosperity issue of our time.”

The other participating cities are: Oakland, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Salem, Mass.; Somerville, Mass.; and Newton, Mass.

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