Family Engagement Town Hall in Indianapolis

Students on stage speaking with Secretary DuncanOn Wednesday night of the Ready for Success Back-to-School Bus Tour, Secretary Arne Duncan visited Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School in Indianapolis, where enrollment has jumped by 48 percent since 2011.

When it was opened in 1927, Crispus Attucks was the first and only public high school for African Americans in the city. The world has changed a lot in the nearly 90 years since then, but the country still needs to do more so that all of its students – especially students of color — have the chance to learn, achieve, and succeed.

Breaking down barriers to opportunity was at the heart of the discussion at Crispus Attucks, where the Secretary participated in a roundtable discussion with Indianapolis high school students. M. Karega Rausch, vice president of research and evaluation for the National Association for Charter Schools Authorizers, moderated a conversation about overcoming obstacles and striving for college- and career-readiness.

Then, Broderick Johnson, assistant to President Obama and chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, followed by Secretary Duncan, held a conversation with students that touched on two specific goals of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative: graduating more students ready for college and careers, and encouraging young people to complete postsecondary education or training. MBK was introduced in 2014 to ensure that all youth, including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success.

Students take a group photo with Secretary DuncanStudents rose to the occasion, asking their own questions about what they can do to advance justice for the generation they are part of, and beyond.

As part of the initiative, the White House launched the MBK Community Challenge, to bring communities together to implement cradle-to-career strategies that improve outcomes for all young people. As one of the first cities to accept the Challenge, Indianapolis hosted its own MBK local action summit last year.

In Indianapolis and across the country, cities are making progress toward the goals of MBK – but America isn’t there just yet. To move the needle on some of our most pressing challenges – including and especially those we face in education – we must continue to speak honestly about the obstacles to opportunity that far too many of our young people face.

Then – and only then – can we truly move forward with community-led solutions that promote equal opportunity for all students.

Watch Secretary Duncan wrap up day three of the Ready for Success bus tour: