Washington, D.C. (June 10, 2016) -- In an exclusive interview with The Atlantic’s Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, U.S. Education Secretary John King and White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett have unveiled a major new criminal-justice effort by the Obama administration to remove obstacles to higher education for students with criminal records. The initiative will be announced this afternoon.
The announcement follows an April report for The Atlantic’s “Next America” initiative, “‘Ban the Box’ Goes to College,” by Lantigua-Williams detailing how procedures used by the college admissions offices around the country target students with criminal histories and can constrict educational opportunity. Used by the popular Common App, the practice is said to help keep campuses safe, but opponents believe it has unintended negative effects, often to the disadvantage of minority applicants. The researchers and college officials that Lantigua-Williams spoke with as part of her reporting unanimously agreed that there is no real correlation between safety on campus and asking prospective students about their criminal records.
“If we do criminal justice reform only by doing sentencing reform, we will not have done enough. We’ve got to couple that with investments in education and job training and clearing away barriers to meaningful second chances,” Secretary King told Lantigua-Williams in a just-published exclusive detailing the initiative; available at TheAtlantic.com.