Memphis Mayor AC Wharton was among several leaders from across the country this week at the Congressional City Conference in Washington D.C. where a memo was signed by the National League of Cities and Department of Education to strengthen partnerships among federal and local governments, schools, and families to improve schools.
Mayors from neighboring southern cities including Louisville, Ky, Savannah, Ga., and Hattiesburg, Miss. attended the conference.
The National League of Cities is planning to hold community conversations in cities this year to strategize on how to meet three objectives – early childhood education and after-school and postsecondary attainment.
Officials want to focus on closing the achievement gap, specifically for young men of color, and increasing student achievement. Other focal issues will be to help students with non-academic outcomes such as social-emotional skills.
NLC President Chris Coleman, who is also the mayor of Saint Paul, Minn., said in a press release this week that the goal is to formulate actionable strategies to improve educational opportunities for all.
“We are proud to partner with the Department of Education in this extremely important effort to provide better educational opportunities to children nationwide,” Coleman said.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the release that strong schools are at the heart of strong communities.
“That’s why we’re excited about this new effort with the National League of Cities to help local leaders form partnerships with families and educators, which will better ensure that every child has the opportunity to access a high-quality education, and ultimately, that every American has the chance to pursue their dreams,” Duncan said.