Improving Black Education by Executive Order

President Obama will announce to the Urban League a new initiative aimed at black achievement.

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The president's pending executive order carving out a new role for the Education Department counters the approach of his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who said in April that "[t]he Department of Education I will either consolidate with another agency or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller." Many on the right have opposed the agency, established under President Carter, almost from its inception in 1980.

Is the new White House initiative a blatantly political pitch to the African-American voters who were a bedrock of support for Obama in the 2008 election? If so, not without good reason: Black college students from HBCUs and other institutions were a big part of the ground game -- from working caucuses to operating phone banks to canvassing neighborhoods -- that helped Obama secure the presidency in 2008.

Michael E. Ross is a regular contributor to The Root and the author of American Bandwidth, on the Obama 2008 campaign and presidency. He blogs on politics and national affairs at Short Sharp Shock.

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