United States

Biden signs order creating commissions to improve education for Black U.S. students

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Graduates are seen before actor Chadwick Boseman addresses the 150th commencement ceremony at Howard University in Washington, U.S. May 12, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed an executive order setting up two commissions within the Department of Education to improve education for Black students.

One commission will be assigned to raise awareness around challenges for Black students and increase Black children's access to high-quality early childhood programs, among other projects, the White House said.

The second panel will make recommendations to the president about educational equity and economic opportunity for the Black community, the White House added.

The executive order seeks to make good on a Biden campaign promise to expand access to high-quality education and tackle racial inequity in the education system. School districts with high concentrations of Black students are much more likely to be underfunded than districts where a majority of students are white, and face much wider funding gaps, with an average deficit of more than $5,000 per student, the White House said.

It added that 26% of Black Americans aged 25 and above have attained a bachelor's degree, while the national average is 36%.

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Reporting by Alexandra Alper in Washington Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis

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