A. Black Alliance for Educational Options (Washington, DC)
As the founding president of the former Black Alliance for Educational Options (Washington, DC), Kaleem hired researcher Dr. Jay Greene of the Manhattan Institute in New York City (and now the 21st Century Professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas), and commissioned a ground breaking and nationally recognized study: “High School Graduation Rates in the United States, 2001” (rev. 2002 https://bit.ly/2R4HSbB). The results of this study, which revealed that only half of America’s Black and Latino students were graduating from U.S. high schools, shifted the nation’s attention from concentrating on high school “dropouts” to focusing on high school “graduates”. After reviewing the results of the study and the methodology used to determine the rates, the U.S. Department of Education and White House decided to include high school graduation rates as an accountability measure in the nation’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Dr. Greene’s report also inspired Education Week, the nation’s premier weekly education news journal, to establish its annual Diploma Counts report using Dr. Green’s formula for determining high school graduation rates (http://bit.ly/2BQAR3K). Subsequently, two national tasks forces were created to look more deeply at the issue of high school graduation nationwide: one by the National Institute of Statistical Science in 2004 followed by the National Governor’s Association in 2005. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also got involved when they began funding annual updates of the study and extended its review to include an analysis of college readiness rates in the United States as well (https://gates.ly/2AmaSS0).
B. National Evaluation of the Implementation and Impact of No Child Left Behind (Washington, DC)
In 2002, Kaleem was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, to serve a five-year term on the congressionally mandated Title I - Independent Rules Panel that advised the U.S. Secretary of Education on the national evaluation of the implementation and impact of NCLB (http://bit.ly/2LJc464).
C. President Barack Obama's Race to the Top Fund
In 2009, Kaleem was selected by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to serve as one of 70 expert reviewers for President Barack Obama’s signature Race to the Top education reform initiative. President Obama actually announced this program on November 9, 2009 at James C. Wright Middle School in Madison, a school whose Board Kaleem briefly chaired in 2015. Kaleem served as a reviewer with Race to the Top during Phase I and part of the Phase II review process (http://bit.ly/2BR2vO7).
D. Three Sector Education Initiative (Washington, DC)
While serving as the managing director of the DC K-12 Initiative and then executive director of Fight For Children in Washington, DC, Kaleem organized and managed an unprecedented coalition of key stakeholders that secured the passage of unprecedented federal legislation to strengthen public schools and expand educational options available to children. The Three Sector Education Initiative bill resulted in a net-new investment of $40 million by the U.S. Congress in DC education reform and expanded K-12 school options for DC families in 2004.
This groundbreaking, bi-partisan legislation included $14 million to establish and evaluate the nation’s first and only federally funded K-12 school voucher program, the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund(https://servingourchildrendc.org). It also provided another $13 million to support the growth of high-quality public charter schools in the District of Columbia, and another $13 million to support education reform efforts in DC Public Schools. Members of the coalition included Washington DC’s Mayor, DC Public Schools Board of Education President and three succeeding District Superintendents. It also involved the U.S. Secretary of Education, White House leadership, the chairs of the DC City Council education committee, along with prominent, local and national business leaders, and local school, community and faith leaders as well.
In just 18 months, the coalition won passage of the legislation. Since 2004, the U.S. Congress has invested more than $700 million in new dollars to support the Three Sector effort, positively impacting the education of thousands of children in the District of Columbia, particularly children from under-resourced and economically disadvantaged homes. Leader of the Three Sector Initiative also launched the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (see below), DC Association of Public Charter Schools (see below) and the DC Public Education Fund to operate the scholarship program, and ensure private philanthropy would continue to support these efforts for years to come. To learn more about the Three Sector Education Initiative, click here: http://bit.ly/2LHPD1k.
E. District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (Washington, DC)
Kaleem’s team at Fight For Children also launched the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program at the request of DC’s Mayor Anthony Williams and the U.S. Department of Education, before a separate nonprofit organization in DC was officially selected to lead it. To help families navigate and choose schools from a new wider array of educational options available to them, Kaleem initiated a partnership with GreatSchools.net to create the District of Columbia’s My School Chooser resource for parents. This project led to the creation of a now popular educational resource used by parents in DC (https://www.myschooldc.org).
D. District of Columbia Association of Public Charter Schools (Washington, DC)
Kaleem brought together public charter school leaders in DC and led them through strategic planning to design and launch the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools (https://www.dcacps.org). The organization continues to provide strong support for public charter schools in our nation's capital.
F. DC Public Education Fund (Washington, DC)
Kaleem was not involved in the creation of this fund but his previous efforts brought together the coalition of leaders who did. We share this here to show the tremendous leverage and outcomes that "nonpartisan and bipartisan coalition efforts" can produce when citizens and leaders work together, across ideologic and political boundaries, to great things for children (and adults). Since its inception in 2008, the DC Public Education Fund (https://www.dcedfund.org) has invested more than $120 million in efforts to support the District of Columbia Public School system and its staff and students.