Mayor Betsy Hodges Named Chair of Mayors’ Education Task Force

Acting Education Secretary Dr. John B. King, Jr. to Attend Convening to Discuss Every Student Succeeds Act

WASHINGTON—Today at the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference in Washington, NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families convened the Mayors' Education Task Force to discuss the recently-passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with Acting Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King, Jr. Chaired by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, the task force discussed how city leaders can build on partnerships with school districts and other community stakeholders to improve educational achievement among children and youth in their communities.

This week, NLC formally announced the appointment of Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis, Minn., as chair of NLC's Mayors' Education Task Force. Founded in 2013 by Mayor Chris Coleman, Saint Paul, Minn. and former Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City, Utah, the task force provides a forum for mayors to share best practices and develop partnerships at the local and national level with the goal of improving educational outcomes for young people.

"Mayor Hodges is an exceptional leader dedicated to closing the achievement gap and making educational success a priority for all children in Minneapolis," said NLC President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember and former mayor, Joplin, Missouri.

As chair, Mayor Hodges will highlight Minneapolis' innovative early childhood intervention initiative, Cradle to K Cabinet, as a model for cities across the nation. The initiative is a multi-sector partnership of community leaders, parents and early childhood experts who are working to prevent race-, place- and income-based disparities among young children, beginning as early as pre-natal care. Mayor Hodges and the task force will support other mayors in urban communities across the nation as they seek to strengthen their cradle-to-career initiatives.

"I am excited to lead a conversation among other mayors about what we can do to transform youth success," said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. "By focusing efforts on factors that affect academic achievement, such as housing and early language development, mayors can lead cities in creating better conditions for their young people to succeed."

Additionally, Mayor Hodges will bring her leadership and intentional focus on equity to the task force. In Minneapolis, she has worked to create career opportunities for diverse populations of youth, supported restorative justice practices throughout her public safety policies, and invested in affordable housing for young families. Her focus on effective early childhood supports and educational equity will guide the task force through 2016 as it works to elevate the roles that municipal leaders can play to improve outcomes for children, youth and their families.

NLC, through its Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, provides its members with resources and support to develop and expand pathways for youth success. Throughout the year, mayors serving on the task force will have direct access to NLC resources on a wide range of issues such as early childhood development, cradle-to-career initiatives, family economic success, afterschool and summer learning, and youth civic engagement.

The Mayors' Education Task Force was instrumental in the development of a successful partnership between NLC and the U.S. Department of Education that produced 15 "community conversations" in cities across the country. These conversations, which took place from 2013-2015, focused on advancing early childhood learning, citywide afterschool programs and strategies to improve postsecondary access, persistence and completion.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org