Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the Council of Great City Schools Launch Black Male Initiative to Solve Nationwide Opportunity Gap

BOSTON — Global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), a Washington, DC-based coalition that represents the nation's large urban public school districts, today announced a joint initiative to increase academic and social opportunities for black males across America. The Black Male Initiative combines valued research with the original work of community leaders to generate lasting solutions for current and future generations in districts nationwide.

The Initiative will kick off with a series of Solution Papers, recommendation documents authored by individual leaders within the education community. HMH and CGCS have identified approximately a dozen leaders to share their personal experience, vision and strategies through these documents, which will be shared with districts across the US as part of their improvement efforts. The two organizations will collaborate to develop the Solution Papers, which HMH will fund and publish in April 2012.

“The opportunity gap that continues to stubbornly separate black male students from their counterparts throughout the country is an obstacle we can no longer simply acknowledge,” said Samuel Casey Carter, Senior Vice President for Global Corporate Social Responsibility. “We must address it head-on with solutions sourced from data and the proven experience of great district and school leaders. This valued partnership with CGCS serves a core mandate of HMH's own corporate social responsibility, one that will result in lasting success for students and our society.”

The Black Male Initiative is informed by CGCS' 2010 study, A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools, which reports on the stark differences between black and white social and academic achievement from birth to adulthood. The study highlights not only the "comprehensive challenges" facing African American males, but also the absence of a national effort to mitigate them.

"With the assistance and support of our trusted partner HMH, we can better realize our ultimate mission to eliminate the opportunity gap," said Michael Casserly, Executive Director of CGCS. "The Black Male Initiative takes our research to the next level by not only humanizing statistics with real-world accounts, but also by sourcing solutions from experts in the field who have achieved academic and professional success."

HMH has been a member of CGCS' Blue Ribbon Corporate Advisory Group for more than a decade. The Blue Ribbon Corporate Advisory Group is composed of leaders from companies that share CGCS' mission, serving as a sounding board on strategies to improve urban public education and exploring opportunities for collaborative projects between the business community and CGCS' district coalition.

About the Council of the Great City Schools
The Council of the Great City Schools is the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools. Composed of 65 large city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations. The organization also provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to exchange information, and to collectively address new challenges as they emerge in order to deliver the best possible education for urban youth. www.cgcs.org.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
With education products and services used by 57 million students throughout all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global education and learning company. The world’s largest provider of materials for pre-K–12 learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is leading the way with innovative solutions and approaches to the challenges facing education today. Through curricula excellence coupled with technology innovations and professional services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt collaborates with school districts, administrators, teachers, parents and students, providing interactive, results-driven learning solutions. Its Educational Consulting Services group works to increase student achievement in underperforming schools by developing, implementing and supporting education transformation through sustained district partnerships.  With origins dating back to 1832, the Company also publishes an extensive line of reference works and award-winning literature for adults and young readers. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.