What We Do

The Case for Our Work...

Our work lives in the tough exchanges that challenge us all to approach education with a posture of serving all students rather than a select group. It’s in ensuring sufficient funding is available and that financing the next generation’s future through education is seen as a responsibility rather than an option. Our work lives in the advancement of solutions that consider students from varying income backgrounds and racial communities as well as systems leaders who hold equity as a priority in their districts. In order to close the opportunity gaps occurring disproportionately across Black, Brown and low-income communities, it’s in ensuring that only the most talented and passionate educators are matched with the students with the greatest need.


SEF engages in a range of partnerships and coalitions designed to attack the root cause of educational inequities by strengthening the capacity of advocates and policymakers. By using research-based practices, SEF’s aim is to help shape local, state, and federal policies and legislation that lead to effective systems change for Black students, other students of color, and students from low-income families in the South.

Leaders serve as a critical lever for advancing authentic and enduring equity-centered systems change. Therefore, SEF offers research-based, practitioner-informed professional learning opportunities for individuals across the continuum, from rising leaders to C-Level professionals, designed to grow their capacities to lead for racial equity and ensure deeper learning outcomes for every child, regardless of background. As a core tenet of the organization, SEF’s leadership development efforts span nearly 150 years.

Through our research, SEF strives to provide the field with thoughtful analysis of key issues and the timely dissemination of solutions that offer the greatest impact for students. We want to empower policymakers to use empirical research to support innovation and creativity in education that is just and equity-centered.

Education is the critical pivot point upon which access, opportunity and action meet. It’s our mission to ensure that every student has a shot at living out their full potential.
– Raymond Pierce, CEO & President

Our work resides in arming families, advocates, and influencers to make informed decisions about who among their elected officials are making choices that are aligned with their needs and the state’s future. It’s in informing and challenging policymakers and the information upon which they make critical decisions for all students in their state. The evidence of our work comes in the critical groundwork that we lay to ensure that research is carried out with Black, Brown, and low-income communities in mind as well as ensuring the findings are thoroughly vetted and placed into the hands of key decisions makers so they see the undeniable case for providing a just education to all students so that social inequity may be remedied with a sense of urgency.

Scope & Scale of Work Graphic ver 2-min