Dilafruz Williams, Education faculty and Portland School Board co-chair, participated in a White House Meeting with urban school leaders.
On March 16, the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of the nation's largest urban public school systems, led some 30 urban school superintendents and board members to a roundtable discussion with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Obama Administration officials at the White House to discuss how best to utilize the economic stimulus package to improve and advance American urban public education.
"We had an opportunity to learn how we might take advantage of the stimulus funds in creating and saving hundreds of programs to help our inner city children achieve, implementing shovel ready projects to aid in modernizing our school buildings, and investing in initiatives to provide the best school teachers and principals in underserved schools," said Council Executive Director Michael Casserly.
Dilafruz Williams, secretary-treasurer of the Council and co-chair of the Portland School Board, noted that the roundtable discussion highlighted the provisions of the stimulus funds. "We will need to spend the funds effectively and wisely in a rather short period of time. With this meeting we were able to clarify the guidelines and how best to put the funds to use to accelerate reform. There is a sense of urgency to use the stimulus dollars; we must be prudent and show results."
Joining Williams were school leaders from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia and other major cities throughout the nation who attended the two hour session.
In addition to Secretary Duncan, the urban educators also met with President Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett.