The Challenge

A history of racism

and social inequality in the United States has resulted in a persistent hierarchy, which too often has prevented people of color and low-income individuals from accessing real opportunity within education and beyond.

The Reality We Live With…

A majority of public school students are low-income.

–Southern Education Foundation

The Reality We Live With…

Nearly 85% of counties whose residents live in persistent poverty in the nation are located in the South.

– National School Boards Association

The Reality We Live With…

11 of 15 southern states invest less than $10,000 per student on average.

–National Center for Education Statistics

The Reality We Live With…

12 of 15 southern states have active initiatives shifting public funds out of public schools via state takeovers, vouchers, or tax credit programs.

–Southern Education Foundation

The Reality We Work Toward…

We envision a world where every student, regardless of background, enjoys an education that propels them toward the opportunity-rich life they deserve.

How SEF Supports A New Reality...

In our effort to resolve the educational inequity that exists in this nation, we leverage research to identify and highlight issues that impact student learning outcomes occurring along racial and socioeconomic lines. Designed to educate the public to act, our evidence travels two important routes at the same time by providing capacity building support to school system leaders and advocates. School system leaders utilize research to inform their approach to reconciling the most pressing equity challenges and barriers to learning their students face. In turn, they gauge what’s working in practice given the realities that exist in classrooms across the South. Advocates take the evidence and use it in ground softening efforts with families, community members, and policy influencers to promote solutions that work for all students. Our government affairs efforts concentrate on relaying lessons learned from both the classroom and advocacy sphere, offering information to policymakers they can relate to their specific southern state context in order to advance an accountability structure rooted in equity. The outcome is the cultivation of a pipeline of leaders and an exchange of ideas across sectors and systems that advance our collective vision for educational equity.

The Reality We Live With…

9 out of 10 students in the U.S. are served by public schools.

–National Center for Education Statistics

The Reality We Live With…

More than half of all public school students are students of color.

–National Center for Education Statistics

The Reality We Live With…

Over 70% of Black children compared to 40% of their White counterparts grow up in the poorest 1/4 of American neighborhoods.

–Institute on Assets and Social Policy

Segregation in concert with concentrated poverty is toxic to learning.

Nikole Hannah-Jones