SEF's Collection of Essays Introduction

 

Raymond Pierce | February 21, 2018

The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) celebrated its 150th anniversary in November 2017 with a forum entitled Reimagine Education: Advancing Bold Solutions for Equity held in Atlanta, Georgia, which focused on honoring the work of our past, celebrating our present, and charting our future. The forum featured an impressive level of dialogue on key issues in the field of education ranging from the importance of reimagining education as social justice to addressing the residual effects of segregation in education. In an effort to continue the momentum of that event, SEF is releasing a collection of essays written by prominent leaders who have partnered with SEF to advocate for equity in education for low-income students and students of color in the southern region of the United States. The purpose of the collection of essays is to highlight a significant topic each month that is of importance to the future of education in the South and the nation.

Our country has entered a unique moment in our history where long developing demographic changes have been met with what is far too often frantic, incomplete and uninformed dialogue that unfortunately lays the framework for unsound policies. These unsound policies lead to exclusion and limiting opportunities for many of the nation’s youth. This must be challenged.

Our political will must be expanded to allow for policies and practices necessary to include new generations of young people and young adults as full participants in our democracy and our economy.

As SEF’s new President and CEO, one of my goals is to help inform lawmakers on policy matters such as school segregation, the inadequate funding of school systems, the school-to-prison pipeline, underperforming schools and the barriers to and through post-secondary education.

Our aim is to identify and enact research-based and sound policies for the improvement of education through collaboration with equity-centered individuals and organizations. Together, we will influence policy through research-informed positions.

We hope that you will enjoy this collection of essays, which hopefully will offer insight into the ways in which we can achieve equity and excellence in education across the continuum and for all children.

Raymond C. Pierce serves as the President and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation where he is responsible for leading the organization’s vision and strategy in support of carrying out SEF’s mission to ensure equity and excellence in education for low-income students and students of color in the South. He brings critical expertise from the fields of education and civil rights policy and law, which reside at the heart of SEF’s core body of work.

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