About Us - George Washington Carver Education Foundation
George Washington Carver, a renowned agricultural researcher, once declared that "education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom." These words still hold true over a century later. In 2016, the George Washington Carver Education Foundation was founded based on two decades of empirical research conducted by our founder, Jerome Taylor, Ed.D., co-founder Shawn Donaldson, Ph.D., a sociology professor at Stockton University, and board member Caesar Mickens, Jr., Ph.D., the former director of Early College Designs for Jobs for the Future. This research led to the development of three core themes that define our beliefs and methodology:
(a) Equity: We firmly believe that every student, regardless of their background, can achieve success in school, college, career, and life if they have access to high-quality, effective teaching and learning.
(b) Acceleration: We are committed to the idea that every school district, regardless of their current data or community served, can "accelerate learning" for all students by implementing a comprehensive, effective approach to teaching and learning.
(c) Support: We recognize that parents and communities play a crucial role in removing academic and non-academic barriers to learning, and we emphasize the importance of involving them in decision-making to maximize student outcomes.
The George Washington Carver Education Foundation's mission is to transform schools and communities through early college and career pathways rooted in social-emotional learning support.
Our vision is to provide college and career opportunities so that EVERY student has the ability to choose a productive pathway in school and life. We are dedicated to achieving this vision by ensuring equitable access to high-quality education that results in industry-valued credentials (degrees and/or certifications) for economic and social stability, ultimately leading to a life of freedom.
George Washington Carver's legacy as an agricultural researcher and educator inspires our work. He established the Tuskegee Institute Movable School in the early 1900s, aiming to bring modern agricultural tools and methods to rural areas in Alabama. Carver's innovative approach, which involved traveling to educate and engage with rural communities, laid the foundation for our "movable school" concept. Since July 19, 2016, the George Washington Carver Education Foundation has continued this endeavor, bringing education and opportunity to underserved populations, particularly in urban and rural communities, to empower them for success in school, college, career, and life.
Opportunity: A Problem Worth Solving
Access to quality education in the United States is a constitutional right and a privilege for all children. However, far too many students, particularly those in underserved communities, lack robust access to quality education. The national high school graduation rate stands at approximately 85.3%, but the disparity becomes evident when we look at the graduation rates for African American (79%) and Latino (81%) students. The gap widens even further in college graduation rates, where just about 51.5% of Black and Latino students earn a degree compared to nearly 70% of their White counterparts.
This educational attainment gap perpetuates a lifelong wage-earning disadvantage for students from underserved communities. The rising cost of higher education further exacerbates the problem. While the Constitution asserts that everyone deserves an equal right to education, students from underserved communities often cannot afford or access an equitable education.
Despite legislative efforts over the past two decades to support educational equity, the focus has often been on state assessments and student achievement, overlooking actual attainment in college and careers, particularly within vulnerable communities. Programs, while valuable, have not significantly closed the attainment gap. It's time for a comprehensive shift in thinking about equity in education to ensure all students reach their full potential in life.
The George Washington Carver Education Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is dedicated to providing college and career pathways for all students, with a special focus on those from urban and rural communities. Operating as a "movable school," we enter underrepresented communities and collaborate with stakeholders to create an educational ecosystem that addresses low attainment rates, particularly for high-need students.
Our approach calls for a systematic shift in education, aligning all educational programming to promote educational attainment, particularly in underserved communities. We reject the notion of programming for its own sake and advocate for the methodical implementation of evidence-based best practices. We believe that this shift in perspective is essential to provide Students of Color equal access to college and career opportunities.
Five Design Principles
The George Washington Carver Education Foundation has developed five design principles to systematically cultivate an environment of student success in our most vulnerable schools, communities, and families:
(1) Creating a Culture of Care and Respect: Fostering an inclusive and nurturing environment is crucial for student success.
(2) Implementing Collaborative Student Supports: Collaboration among stakeholders is essential to remove academic and non-academic barriers to learning.
(3) Increasing the Development of College and Career Pathways: Providing students with clear pathways to success in both college and careers.
(4) Enhancing Powerful Teaching and Learning in All Classrooms: Ensuring high-quality teaching and learning experiences for all students.
(5) Institutionalizing Growth & Sustainability for Continuous Improvement: Establishing a foundation for continuous improvement to reduce the attainment gap over time.
We work closely with higher education institutions and local school districts to implement these design principles. Our Carver Foundation Partner Schools (CFPS) receive a comprehensive set of tools, resources, connections, and metrics to implement these principles and rethink equity in education. This collaborative process empowers local communities to guide educational leaders toward a system that fosters high performance for all students while ensuring each student reaches their maximum potential within their school districts.
(1) Staff Training: Our foundation ensures that all Carver Foundation Partner Schools (CFPS) receive the education and tools necessary to identify and equalize educational attainment. We provide comprehensive training materials to guide administrators, teachers, and staff through the five design principles, enabling them to address equity issues and close the attainment gap.
(2) Professional Development: We offer ongoing professional development to support CFPS in implementing the five design principles effectively. This includes training for teachers, faculty, school leaders, and college administrators, with an emphasis on cultural awareness and trauma-informed teaching practices. We also provide professional development for support staff, advisors, guidance counselors, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and social service agencies to remove barriers to learning and student success.
(3) Design Principles Evaluation: CFPS receive continuous evaluation on the implementation of the five design principles. We collaborate with external evaluators who assess and guide CFPS evaluations, ensuring that progress is continuously monitored and improvements are made where necessary.
In summary, the George Washington Carver Education Foundation is committed to transforming education by rethinking equity and providing equitable access to high-quality education for all students. We believe that by implementing our five design principles and working collaboratively with schools and communities, we can bridge the educational attainment gap and empower all students to reach their full potential.