One approach to this ambitious work is the development of the Southern Practice and Policy Network (SP&PN), aimed at advocacy efforts to directly address inequity in education at its core. This network is composed of a racially diverse group of stakeholders from six states across the South, including Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Each member, selected by SEF, was chosen for their existing commitment to this work, their agreement to advocate for these issues and their alignment with the following definition of equity as it relates to education: Equity exists when race is no longer the most reliable predicator of student success. And that systems work to ensure that each child receives what they need when they need it, to develop to their full economic and social potential.
In advance of selecting the network participants, the overarching SP&PN work began with secondary research as SEF researchers analyzed a wide range of resources on the topic including scholarly journals, research and policy institute reports, professional/trade publications, newspapers, etc., with a goal of ultimately identifying, with the support of then future SP&PN cohort members, the most critical issues preventing equity in education. Through that initial research, topics were narrowed to six broad areas: resources, teachers and principals, curriculum, teaching, educational opportunities offered, and post-secondary learning and pathways.