Schools are the gateway to best serving children. The strength of tomorrow’s economy — and the health of tomorrow’s neighborhoods and cities — will depend on the academic opportunities that we are offering young people today.

By promoting programs that create quality educational options for families and young people, communities can provide the services and supports children need to succeed in school and in life.

Unfortunately, a deep and persistent achievement gap exists for students of color. One example: Among eighth graders in public school, 87% of African American kids, 81% of American Indian kids and 80% of Latino kids tested below proficient in math. Among all eighth graders tested, just 67% missed this important academic benchmark.