Letter from the President

Here at the Southern Education Foundation, we believe the American South is perhaps the most important region in the country.  Its potential to contribute to the nation’s progress is great.  In fact, it is hard to imagine making sufficient progress on almost any significant national education metric (school readiness, reading and math proficiency, high school graduation rates, college access and completion) if progress is not made on these indicators in the South.

Why?  Because the South is what the nation is becoming, and today is the most dynamic and diverse region with a growing majority of low income students and students of color.  The region is also characterized by above average fertility rates, the greatest language diversity, and the largest variations in income.  These broad patterns give rise to a number of challenges in terms of how we build an education system and a workforce able to thrive in an ever-more competitive global economy.

Arguably since SEF’s founding as the George Peabody Fund in 1867, we have attempted to address these same challenges, seeing equal access to education as the greatest opportunity to create upward mobility and full participation in our democracy and economy. For nearly 150 years, SEF has attempted to change this trajectory by lifting up research, advocacy, and collaborative efforts that highlight not just the challenges we see in providing an excellent education to all students, but show what is working on a local, state and regional level to close these achievement and opportunity gaps.

Our website plays a big role in advancing this agenda to provide guidance and evidence based solutions to stakeholders on how to improve education equity and outcomes for all.  We hope you will find the new site accessible and helpful in understanding what SEF is up to, what initiatives we are mounting with partners in the field, and even how you might contribute to these efforts.  Please visit this website most importantly to learn how you can get involved.  We can’t do this work alone and believe these complex issues will not be solved until we are all a part of the conversation and fully engaged in the work. 

Kent McGuire, President and CEO

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